Arena

Two intercutting stories of outsider characters separated by seventy five years whose lives have been poisoned with conditioning to carry out extreme acts of hate.

In 1943 a German housewife discovers six Jewish children by the side of the road driving home from shopping. Erna drives them back to her country villa, feeds them a meal, then has to decide the best thing to do with them according to her beliefs.

In 2017 a young man leaves his home for the last time. Despite encountering ordinary people as he walks through city streets, this outsider continues on his fateful journey according to his beliefs.

  • Mike Ogden
    Writer
  • Mike Ogden
    Director
  • Naomi Ayres
    Producer
    Wildlands, Wild Flower
  • Sophie Shallai
    Key Cast
    “Erna Petri”
    Saving Jane
  • Ahmad Sakhi
    Key Cast
    “Salman Abedi”
    The Outpost
  • Charlie Concannon
    Key Cast
    “Eldest Boy”
    The League of Gentlemen
  • Project Type:
    Short
  • Genres:
    Thriller, drama
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 32 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 30, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
    English, German
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, Super16mm
  • Aspect Ratio:
    1.85:1
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    No
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Manchester Film Festival
    Manchester
    United Kingdom
    March 13, 2021
    UK Premiere (online)
Director Biography - Mike Ogden

Mike began his career as a cameraman for many international broadcasters. This led him to form his own production company where produced many short films with other writers and directors, winning several awards including a BAFTA/Kodak in 2006.

Mike has written several screenplays, notably a serial set in Italy during WW2.

Currently, Mike works as a line producer in independent film, recently on the upcoming feature 'Blank'.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

I read the story of Erna Petri as I was researching a feature film. I find that the more I research, the more unknown stories of ordinary people come out of this time period. Even though I consider myself well versed in history, I’d never heard of this story. Two weeks after reading it, the attack on the Manchester Arena occurred. As details emerged, I was immediately struck by the notion that we don’t seem to learn from the mistakes of the past. That we know where extremism leads yet some continue to pursue this broken dark path.

I realised then that I wanted to make a short film from the Erna Petri story but held back from the Manchester Arena side of it possibly because it was still so raw in many people’s minds and so close to home. Over time as I developed the script for Arena, I realised that I could not avoid the narrative imperative of Salman Abedi, that the point of the film is made by showing his journey in relation to Erna Petri, making Arena more prescient and relatable for modern audiences than if I’d merely shown Erna’s story alone in 1943.

As a Manchester film maker I feel personally connected to this story. Driven to make a statement about our lives, to not let the arena bombing pass by in to time to be forgotten, only to watch yet another horrific event unfold.