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Phaethon - Zenith of Fire

The inspiration is Ted Hughes Tales from Ovid. This short film is an experiment in combining poetry costume and circus fire act.

Synopsis : Phaethon is ridiculed by his friends when he boasts that his father is the sun god Phoebus. He goes to find him to prove his parentage. Phoebus, guilt ridden for neglecting his son offers him a gift of anything he desires. Phaethon asks to drive the sun chariot and his father reluctantly agrees. Phaethon isn't able to control the horses and the chariot runs out of control burning the world. Zeus steps in to save the world, killing Phaethon with a lightning bolt. Phaeton falls into the sea, to be washed up on the shore where his mother and sisters find him, weeping. Phoebus filled with remorse grieves.

  • andie scott
  • adapted from Ted Hughes by Andie Scott
  • Flexitron Films - Andie Scott and James Engel
  • London College of Fashion MA costume design for performance - costume for film led by Agnes Trplin
  • Hauk Pattison
    Key Cast
  • Alex Walton
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 14, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - andie scott

I apprenticed in theatre set and prop making in London but moved into fine art, exhibiting internationally and running workshops at National Portrait Gallery, National Touring and various schools and colleges.

Since 2012 I have worked with fringe theatre, circus companies and National Centre for Circus Arts.

Film design specifically costume inspires me to move into this genre. I have returned to college to study MA Costume Design for Performance at London College of Fashion. This submission is the costume for film unit.
This summer two productions of my set and costume design are touring : From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads directed by Adrian Berry and 'Dust' by Elusive Circus directed by Tamzen Moulding.

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Director Statement

I wanted to try out a location shoot because I had never done anything like this, only theatre or studio work. I identified a few locations but chose Thanet Council and Botany Bay because of the assistance I received from the location consultant at Thanet, Sharon Kelly. I produced the risk assessment and fire method statements insurance papers which were approved by the council for filming using pyrotechnics in a public space. I needed a low tide to coincide with sunrise and sunset to be able to shoot the fire scene with enough space for health and safety. There were only two dates where this could work prior to the 9th June deadline. I chose the bank holiday May 1st as appropriate and then had to hope for good weather. This would also mean I would have to complete the costumes well in advance of the college timetable. Having received permissions and organized crew and performer I decided to go ahead with this schedule.
We had a most beautiful scenographic sunset and with diligence all got to the beach by 5 am for a red orb sunrise. It couldn’t have been better timing. The realized designs were explored by the performer and recorded as planned from previously developed storyboards. I had some problems with continuity
Performativity of the Costumes
There were some errors with continuity during the first video edit and occasional errors in the costume. I had an experienced actor on hand to assist with wardrobe because directing mean I could not focus enough on the detail. I would do this differently next time allowing longer shoots and to be less ambitious with the number of shots in the time frame allocated. Having said that we completed all the shots to the call sheet schedules.

Studio filming
By assisting on other people’s film shoots I realized I needed to add one scene for continuity of costume and the specific focus required for close detail images. I was very kindly given an hour of studio time by Agnes, Alex, Ash and Nick to film this. It was difficult to recreate the natural lighting.

After the premier workshops I could change certain aspects of the film such as scale, speed, posterize and change hues and opacity and to add sound on different levels. This enabled me to develop more dynamics to the film. The first draft feedback I received from students was not particularly clear and extremely disappointing after so much effort by that point. Agnes suggested I should focus on the scenes that had the tension and dynamic of the story and to cut back the text to essential words which was instrumental to the final leg of this journey.
It was so helpful for when Alex Walton kindly did the voiceover and as soon as I edited and overlaid his words - only taking the essential words from the text - the whole piece resonance , especially with his beautiful voice. It still needs work.

The drawing tutoring with both Agnes Treplin in galleries and Charlotte Hodes in tutorials was instrumental for me to create the second costume where in the film footage it’s difficult to distinguish between the fabricated leather seaweed and the real stuff. It is the thing that stands out for me in this unit.
I really enjoyed the challenges to film on location, such as permissions, call sheets, working with fire, a large crew that was required to marshal the event and have specific roles - 2 stills cameraguys video operator wardrobe assistant marshal supervisor marshals ... and me!
Claires Christie’s advice with taking hot water bottles in a cooler bag was genius and appreciated by everyone at 10 pm. I was really happy on location throughout so for that reason I think it was successful.

Thanks to
James Engel www.spacedout.co.uk
Josh Pulman www.joshphoto.com
Hauk Pattison - fire performer
Sorcha Ra - www.sorchara.com
Sharon Kelly - Thanet Council location consultant
Alex Walton - voiceover
Leon Scott-Engel and Tim Izzat stills photography
James Godden - loan of very splendid motorbike.