PREVIEW & INTERVIEW: THE MIND’S WOOD

In the innocuous looking Underground Ballroom warehouse in Holbeck something magical is coming to life. A group of filmmakers looking enthusiastic, if a little worse for wear are working on the set of forthcoming short ‘The Mind’s Wood.’ It is a project, which is truly independent, funded by the crew and friends it is the brainchild of first-time director David Bond and explores the cathartic nature of the imagination. The film draws inspiration from ‘Where the Wild things are’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’. It embraces a homemade vaudeville aesthetic, the set looks like something from a curiosity shop, an old piano covered in oddities stands in front of a cardboard backdrop, in one corner of the warehouse is a copse of gnarled looking 2D trees, in the other antique circus signs. An actor his face covered burlap and black makeup paces the room looking like a sinister scarecrow waiting for the next take.  The costumes are astounding; one first appears as an abstract monster and then folds out to become a lavish crimson velvet dress made up of lampshades and gold curtain tassels. The excitement for the project is tangible even after a grueling week of filming and speaking to the crew gives you a sense that the project is a true labour or love. ‘The Mind’s Wood’, which will be completed by the end of May, will be doing the festival circuit and is a must-see. To catch a chance of seeing the film and for more information visit: Saffer&Co on Facebook.

Interviews

Ben Saffer- Producer

What got you interested in the project?

I have produced and directed some music videos before and do a lot of work in corporate film. Dave got me drunk about 9 months ago and said he had this idea and acted the entire thing out in his kitchen after a few beers which was amazing in this tiny little galley kitchen, he acted out all the characters and I thought it was great so said I will produce it for you if you direct it. We sort of talked about it for a few months and thought we should just do it. What we’ve done for the money is pretty ridiculous. I’m the producer and have been dealing with all the money and I still don’t quite know how we’ve put it together for basically £1,200.

Did you fulfill your expectations of the film?

Yeah we did, we had a costume that the mother character wears, and it turns from an abstract monster and goes down and turns into this amazing dress. I remember being in Dave’s kitchen talking about how to do it and I thought I know a girl that could actually make it, rather than to do it with animation. I phoned Bunty a few weeks later and she said ‘yeah I can make that’ and 9 months later it’s here on the set being filmed and it looks great.

Has it inspired you to make more films?

Yeah definitely, It’s given us a lot of confidence because we have managed to pull it off and that will really help for future projects, we’re already trying to start to line up projects for later in the year. The crew is amazing, we’ve been doing really long hours 6am to 12pm every day, but we’re getting there and it looks great which is what matters.

Bunty May Marshall-Art Director

Is it your first film?

Yeah, I’ve done photo-shoots before but no moving image, I work full time as a freelance baker, freelance graphic designer and now an art director.

How were you involved in the set design?

We had a team that built the really large sets and the trees etc. It has all come from my own and Dave’s (director) concepts. The guys that we had helping the art department were incredible.

What was the aesthetic you were going for and what inspired by?

Very handmade, very craft inspired a lot of textures. The film is set in the woodlands so we wanted to keep an organic feel, so nothing too polished, if any of the props we used were too polished we dirtied them up and made sure they all fitted the theme. Dave’s inspiration for the script came directly from Where the Wild Things are and classically the Wizard of Oz, where people go into a magical world where the imaginary world has a direct impact on their real lives. Vaudeville and circus ‘freak shows’ were also definite influences. I collect a lot of things, which fit into the visual theme that I could bring to the table.

On the small budget you worked with did you do everything you wanted?

Yeah definitely we’ve had a lot of people helping us out. My Boss drove to my house with these big kind of circus signs which he had in his loft, people have gone out of there way which is fantastic. There was also a lot of stuff at the warehouse which were allowed to use like the piano which is incredible. It has these great collections of oddities which have fitted really well in the set. We’ve spent so little on how it has looked. If I had a bigger budget I don’t think I would have known where to put the money.

Words: Emily Ayto

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