Finishing My Short Film in Quarantine

After working since March, my final film for the semester titled “A Marriage to Death” is done! The final product is not exactly all that I had envisioned but I am satisfied with it nonetheless. It was difficult doing everything basically by myself. If it weren’t for my sister this wouldn’t have been finished. However, this is a story that I would love to fix sometime in the future.

I started the third week of March and I can see the progression from almost bad camera quality to a better one. I decided to have the film in black and white because to be completely honest, there are too many clashing colors in my home. Although I think this helps the vibe. The thing that helped the most in this film is the completely white hallway that I have.

This film was inspired by too many conversations I had around January or February. A few people asked me when I would get married or would I get married, something like that. I always had the response they did not expect. Basically I said nope and why is that? Well in a nutshell, I would say I was inadvertently conditioned to not like it. I never liked the thought of being tied down to something. The spoken words in the beginning vaguely state that.

So with that in mind, I decided to make this slightly creepy and sorrowful story of someone trapped in a marriage. This is supposed to showcase my fears. The character is some sort of ballet dancer. I’m saying sort of because I myself am not a ballet dancer but my feet naturally point down (they’re ‘broken’ basically) and I have years of experience in karate to move in a certain controlled way.

Most of the film is shot centered because to me that invokes a dramatic effect. Since this is a music video, it is edited like a montage. Part of it are realistic scenes, scenes of the dance, and the scenes portraying the characters sadness with the inky black tears.

The part that I am most proud of is the silhouette scenes and the tracking shots I taught my sister to do. I threw myself off the stairs gently (don’t try this) for one of the scenes. That shot took 2 days, some practice and so many takes. The shower scene also took 2 days. That was the most uncomfortable thing ever. The dress was so sticky that afterwards I took a shower because it felt weird.

The wardrobe of the characters is supposed to portray more of a “proper lady” with the pearls, the hair bun, and the choice of dresses. This was supposed to contrast the reveal of the dress and veil scene and the scenes in the black shirt where the character is supposed to look sad and innocent.

For the death scene, my sister and I filmed during the night almost at 3am. It took me a while to adjust because I was forcing myself through an anxiety attack that wouldn’t go away. I knew I couldn’t wait anymore, having been panicking previous day. I pushed myself and just tried to think of the scene and although I was trembling so much the scene was completed. I think this final week of filming was the hardest because everyday I woke up with this sense of impending doom and panic because I had days to complete it.

This was a crazy project but I’m so happy that my sister helped me in almost every moment. It was weird seeing myself in this but I have detached myself from the character. After shooting the scenes in the dress and veil, I felt very miserable and just wanted to take it off right away. The more I looked at myself in the mirror the more ‘terrified’ I felt. The dancing exhausted me because I have not put my feet in that much strain and controlled movement in a while (and also quarantine has me inactive).

I submitted it to my school’s film festival. I don’t think it will win. It is more of an experimental film than a solid narrative piece. I’m still proud of it regardless and I loved and enjoyed making it. It was all sad faces but my sister and I had fun and a lot of laughs. Check out the final piece on Instagram for yourself. 🙂