Written by Billie Melissa

Directed by Billie Melissa

Produced by Billie Melissa

After a brief hiatus, ShortSpace returns and we are extra proud to present this month’s featured film as it comes from one of our own. Writer-director and all round creative marvel, Billie Melissa, recently joined our in-house team and has already started to deliver fantastic work. We had a little chat with Billie about her mesmeric short film OCEANS.

oceans // a visual poem from Billie Melissa on Vimeo.

This film is part of an interesting challenge you set yourself during lockdown, can you tell us a bit more about this idea and why you wanted to do this?

I had been writing a couple of narrative shorts over the lockdown period and I think I missed the tangible aspect of making something visual. I’d been playing around a lot with different artistic mediums that I’d never tried before such as graphic design and watercolour painting, which was really freeing as I think it’s rare that creatives allow themselves to be bad at something. Filmmaking is interesting because it’s always timed and it’s a collaborative experience that’ll eventually end up in the hands of a wider audience, and sometimes you forget that you’re allowed to make things by yourself, for yourself. So I set myself the task of mini projects that’d be made over the course of 24 hours, from concept to an artefact. Often if you look at filmmaking as a process it can take years to lift something off the ground and can be hugely dependant on other people and circumstance. I think I just wanted an excuse to utilise the tools I have to make something that was personal, that didn’t depend on a wider reception, essentially like sharing a diary entry. 

I love the 8mm style you used to create this film, and I know you got very creative with the footage used. Can you talk us through this process?

So with the restraints of 24 hours and the fact I live in the city, I chose to use footage from different copyright-free sources. There are some really beautiful videos on YouTube from creators who are super generous in allowing people to use their work for their own means, but it was all really high definition and it didn’t feel right for the tone of the piece. I absolutely loved what they had captured, though, and wanted to use it so I found different effects for Premiere Pro that I could layer over the top. I think it ended up having about four or five of them including the 8mm frame, artificial grain, flickers and burns. I really like that it feels lost in time with the footage still having that HD quality while simultaneously feeling like it belongs to the past.