Private Project

Empathy is the Devil

An overly generous man with an addiction to giving finds that charity is not always a two-way street.

  • Carey Ryan
    Contender, Empathy - Traces
  • Carey Ryan
    Contender, Empathy - Traces
  • Carey Ryan
  • Dan Crestani
    Key Cast
  • Sally Wicks
    Key Cast
  • Fred Rouady
    Key Cast
    "Beggar 2"
  • Scott Kimber
    Director of Photography
    Charlie's Farm
  • Luke Goldfinch
  • Tyrone Noonan
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, comedy, fantasy, silent
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 30 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 31, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 AUD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
    Black & White and Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Noosa International FIlm Festival
    Noosa, Queensland
    November 6, 2016
    Best Film by a Young Filmmaker
  • Festival des Antipodes
    Saint Tropez
    October 11, 2016
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Carey Ryan

Carey Ryan is a writer/director from Australia. With a background in photography and graphic design, she has a very visual focus, hence her first films, Contender (2003), and Empathy Traces (2012) were experimental. Empathy is the Devil (2016) is her first narrative short.

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Director Statement

The trick to making a film that deals with addiction, mental health, social pressure and how outsiders are treated in modern society is in making it palatable. Silent film offers the audience an opportunity for gentle reflection through nostalgia, to remember an era when people tackled tough times with humour and grace, and took pleasure in simple things.

Dance reaches the audience in a specific way; its winding physicality bypasses logic and goes straight to our emotional core. Its ethereal quality allows the viewer to visualise Otis’ inner journey – bringing his sensibility to the fore without dialogue.

Using imagined stages of addiction helped to give the film a roadmap. Otis traverses euphoria, debt, denial, resolve, relapse, guilt, withdrawal and finally, acceptance.

Ultimately, couching the issues in a silent dance film allowed us to comment, in a palatable way, on the increasing lack of freedom in our society; a steadily declining health system, and, to remind us that finding happiness may be as simple as dancing around the lounge room with whomever or whatever happens to be there at the time!