Conflicting Identities

Conflicting Identities

Set over the course of one morning on a hot summer’s day, Adam Price’s Malefaction recounts the events that unfold when an ageing hit man prepares to fulfil one more job before finally retiring. Through a series of internal monologues we learn about his past as an operative during The Troubles in Northern Ireland and his plan to take out a journalist who he has agreed to silence.

ASFF: How do you think the short form lends certain opportunities that other forms don’t?
AP: Our lives are not always about a series of big and momentous events. More often they are defined by small even trivial moments which are still nonetheless significant in defining who we are. The short form is a perfect vehicle to present these themes and ideas in what can be engaging, innovative and exciting ways.

ASFF: What is the concept for Malefaction?
AP: I was interested in exploring Anglo-Irish identity in Northern Ireland. The region is of course haunted by The Troubles, which was a violent conflict of identity about whether the people of Northern Ireland saw themselves as principally British or Irish. Malefaction felt like a good vehicle to explore this subject in a subtle way whilst at the same time being a straightforward crime thriller.

ASFF: How important are visuals to your work?
AP: The visuals are an incredibly important way to tell a story on screen. One of the biggest drawbacks with cinema as a medium for storytelling is that one cannot easily rely on the internal monologue, like a writer can, to reveal the thoughts and feelings of characters. Therefore the way the film is shot and what is shown are all important in influencing how an audience come to understand the characters.

ASFF: Why did you submit to ASFF, and what did it mean to you to be selected?
AP: I submitted Malefaction to Aesthetica because it is one of the few film festivals in the UK which is dedicated solely to the short form and I was naturally thrilled to receive the news that it had reached the 2017 Official Selection. It was a wonderful recognition for the cast and crew who contributed to this production too and I hope they forgive me for hoovering up all the credit!

ASFF: Why do you think submitting to film festivals in important? 
AP: Cinema has traditionally been a communal experience amongst strangers in a darkened room. Although online distribution has enabled audiences to view shorts at a time and a place which suit them, the intimacy of a film festival environment and to see films on the big screen offers a richer experience than anything found online.

ASFF: How did you find attending the 2017 festival?
AP: This was the first time I have had the pleasure to attend the Aesthetica Short Film Festival and indeed my first visit to its host city of York. The quality of the films in the 2017 Official Selection was impeccable but if I had to choose a favourite I would choose Backstory, directed by Joschka Laukeninks. It is a stunning work of pure cinema about a man’s life flashing before his eyes from childhood all the way through to death; it is a painful reminder of how little time we have on this planet.

ASFF 2018 is open for entries until 31 May. We are looking for filmmakers who are driving the genre of short film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Whether you are an established or emerging practitioner, we want to hear from you. Find out more:

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1. Still from Adam Price’s Malefaction.