Exploring a life without music.
Within 6 months of the outbreak humanity had been hunted to the brink of extinction and the world plunged into silence.
15 years later, Alex fights for her survival alone in the British wasteland.
After discovering an abandoned shelter Alex meets Jordan, a feral orphan whose passion for drumming forces her to confront her childhood trauma.
United over their love for music, they are forced to join together to fight against the monsters that lurk among them.
The screenplay was written by Carl Mason and Georgia Whiteley. As musicians ourselves we wanted to explore what life would be without music, and what it would feel like to rediscover music again for the first time! As big fans of the apocalyptic genre thanks to the likes of Children Of Men and The Last Of Us we thought it would be good to explore this concept, and see where the story would take us.
With each draft the story changed, and for that reason we enlisted the help of our designers and composers very early on in the development process, so their ideas could help shape the film overall. Once we had found the location we continued to adapt the screenplay all the way up to the first day of shooting, shaping the film to what we had available to us to ensure we could tell the story in the strongest way possible.
As the film takes place within a dystopian, post-apocalyptic landscape it was important that we carefully designed our storyworld, be it through production design, costume design or make up. We formed a team of two fantastic designers to do just that!
Costume and weapon design was in the safe hands of Isa Shaw-Abulafia, a London-based Costume & Theatre Designer. Isa designed and created costume that not only felt appropriate for the world, but also hinted at the character traits of Alex & Jordan and their history. Isa also designed and built many of the props, including Alex's club which was made out of foam, fake barbed wire and real nails; and her broken guitar which became a major element of the story.
One of the biggest hurdles for the film was being able to build this apocalyptic world whilst on a budget, so it was particuarly important that we used production design to carefully create this world so it felt authentic and real.
That responsibility fell into the brilliant hands of Joshua Brooks, our production designer. We wanted the world to feel relatable to the audience, as if it was 15 years in the dystopian future, so Josh started to build concepts on real-life current day environments and what they would look like if they were left to nature to reclaim. He weathered down everyday items and developed concepts on how they could be used within an apocalyptic world, so everything we saw on screen made sense within that world.
His work also included designing and building Alex's container, the abandoned campsite and Jordan's Barn; including Jordan's homemade drum kit which had to be carefully designed in a way which used materials that could have been easily sourced in this apocalyptic world, whilst still looking and sounding like a working drum kit.
The biggest challenge during pre-production was finding the perfect location that gave us the flexibility and accesibility to shoot with a film crew, whilst still looking remote and apocalyptic on a tight budget. We spent a long time scouting various locations across the country, but we kept falling into the same logistical problems. Either too remote or too expensive.
That's when we struck gold when we fell upon a random Facebook post promoting a location in Lancashire with acres of woodland, desolate countryside, derelict buildings and even abandoned cars; all located on one privately owned farm! More details can be found here.
Having all of the locations in one place made the logistics of filming much easier, and gave us more time to shoot thanks to its accessibility. Our patience paid off in the end!
Despite the wet and cold weather conditions the shoot went off without a hitch. We were joined by our cinematographer Simon Rowling and his team; aswell as our amazing cast including Charlotte Beaumont (Broadchurch, Waterloo Road) as Alex, and Sebastian Peters as Jordan for his debuting performance.
We made the decision early on to shoot on two cameras so we could work as efficiently as possible, as we only had two days with the full crew to shoot the main bulk of the film; one camera primarily on steadicam and the other handheld. This meant we could get double the amount of coverage per scene allowing us to move faster.
The music was such a vital element to the film, so we enlisted the help of two incredibly accomplished musicians, Andy Glass & Pete Hemsley, to compose the unique soundtrack.
Andy & Pete’s combined experience around the world has seen them signed to Virgin & Sony Records, take to the stage of Glastonbury and even work alongside legendary artists such as Led Zeppelin; so with their progressive outlook on music we knew we could compose a soundtrack that could effectively fit the dystopian world.
The challenge was finding a balance of silence and music to help connect with Alex's longing for music, so Andy & Pete used a mix of unusual sounds and rare percussive instruments to accompany the quieter moments; contrasted with big bold rock drums and electric guitar when Alex finally discovers music. Integrating music in a way that not only accompanies the visuals, but also helps guide the story through sound.