Private Project

Down to the Woods

Two girls go down to the woods and get a little surprise. A comically dark twisty tale.

  • James Solly
  • James Solly
  • James Solly
  • Charles Solly
  • Colicia Summers
    Key Cast
    "Sassy girl"
  • Olivia Aunardy
    Key Cast
    "Dappy girl"
  • Edward Palmer
    Key Cast
    "Creepy guy"
  • Steven Murphy
    Key Cast
    "Scary Hooded Man"
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Fable, Thriller, mystery, horror
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    July 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    500 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - James Solly

Originally an artist, but always with a deep love for film. I am very fortunate to have a brother and sister who both have studied film at university and amazingly we just about get on enough to create together. We have a wonderfully close set of friends who are also budding film makers, actors and creatives who are all willing and keen to collaborate and facilitate each others vision.
This willingness and good will was the currency for this short, funded by exchange of creative collaboration and mutual respect, it was a joy to create a script and produce an opportunity where the talents of these wonderful people could shine.
This is my first script and consequently my first short film. I have loved watching an idea in my head bud, blossom and manifest before my eyes into an actual film. At university I Studied art which gives me a different and hopefully valuable perspective when engaging with film, but with my brother studying film I have always been surrounded by film makers and always had intent of being as involved as I could. Starting with music videos and promos we have now moved onto narrative based features and short films, which was really where our hearts always lay.
Half way through the shoot I suddenly realised that everyone on set bar one were all very competent directors, each successful in their own right, one with three features currently in post-production, another having directed the music videos of Bugzy Malone and titchy strider, and another with his own feature about to be distributed. It was rather humbling that these talented people saw the value in taking part in this project.
I was further rather moved about the complete lack of apathy on set at any point, which was remarkable seeing as just about everyone was ill, from flu to tonsillitis and I was dragging them around the New forest all day in the middle of November. genuinely heart-warming.

Despite numerous set backs at every stage, from people dropping out last minute, ridiculous weather to hairs on the lens, we have managed adapt and overcome to create something were actually quite fond of. Every set back became an incredible learning experience for myself, going from relative novice to feeling confident in and somewhat competent in just about every area, pre, shooting, and post production, evening learning the sound mixing software. Already excited about creating my next, looking to implement my new found ablities and improve further.

The story of the short came about as many ideas seem to for me when I was incredibly ill, on the way back from the doctors I suddenly had an urge to write this idea down. It is very much a metaphor piece around a critique of current feminism. I wanted to create a contemporary fairytale articulating a warning over a willingness to punish and engage with happenings that one is not aware of. It looks at polarised versions of dark masculinity, and suggests how there is a self editing process at play. where the sexually perverted aspect is kept in check by the traditional old school aspect that may appear dark and scary in its discipline, but is only harsh to the degree that it needs to protect and create a safe long term well-being structure for its loved ones. The feministic critique is in line with Jordan Peterson's perspective on feminism, who warns of the dangers of attacking the strong man to save the weak one; the dangers of toppling hierarchies and structures under to notion that they are evil and power hungry, when maybe they may be based of competence and necessary responsibility.
As serious as this underlying motivation sounds, I was just as moved to create an experimental, highly charactered piece that engages with the darker aspects of life but in a way that some how allows the viewer to feel safe and even amused. My inspirations of course being the likes of the Coen brothers and Tarantino, who show grotesque visions, but somehow provide a quirkiness and uniqueness of style takes the edge off. upon filming I thought the comedic element intended when writing would be lost, but through the editing and then hugely through the creation of the score i felt it was somewhat rediscovered.
Further in line with Peterson's perspective of archetypes and story being underlying and and transcendent of time and culture; referring to common myths being passed down from generation to generation that seem to speak to people at a soul level. This piece is a thought experiment, of what message or lesson could I take from contemporary society and how would I like to present and pass it on. For me film is such an ultimate joyous storytelling medium which fulfils this function so eloquently. I looked to catalyse this whole fable facet of this short though the music, creating a take on the famous timeless nursery rhyme, 'the bears go down to the woods today', teddy bears picnic. It is very much looking to have a contemporary fairytale vibe.
The music and score was a real cherry on top for this film, organically coming from the budding talents of my brother Charles, who after experiencing a few mental health issues was salvaged through teaching himself the piano by ear, fiddling tirelessly until he could intuit how to play what he heard and more so give outlet to this wealth of melody he had stored inside. He jumped at the chance to to bring this piece to life with an overly epic score. We relished the over-the top nature of it, half in humorous irony which always plays a part in whatever we create, but also in how it further aligned the piece to the feeling of being a fable or a myth. I am mightily impressed with his work and talent and grateful to allow this piece to be his first score. First of many I hope.

I have further script ideas of a similar vain, looking to create a mini series of contemporary fairytales.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

The making of this short has been one of the most challenging, rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life. There is a unique joy in watching something that started inside of oneself grown and manifest around you, now I think I'm completely hooked.