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Leaves for the Moon

A Live action/animated true story about a reserved middle-aged coffee shop owner who reaches seventh heaven when she finds love in a man half her age. A tragic discovery reshapes their happiness in a way she would never have imagined.

MAYA (11) storms into her local coffee shop, where her friend and owner of the shop, SYLVIA (late 40s) waters her plants. Maya rants about her dad who refused to take her to a show, but she is soon distracted after noticing a colourful handwritten book on Sylvia’s table. After a little hesitation Sylvia agrees to read and sits down beside Maya.

Sylvia begins telling the story of two inseparable leaves, KIARA and SEBASTIAN, who have a passion for flying. Both leaves become friends despite convention. The two fly around every inch of the world. The healthier among the two leaves dreams of flying beside the moon, a task his friend could never do, due to her torn, fragile figure. Kiara conceals her sorrow and helps Sebastian reach the moon before falling back to the ground.

While Sylvia narrates we witness snippets from a moment in her life where she meets a man named LEO (mid 20s). Sylvia relives the magic of their relationship up to the heartbreak of leaving him when discovering his desire for a child. As a result of Sylvia’s age she is incapable of having a child and choses to lose contact with Leo entirely, helping him find someone who can.

After years of ignored mail from Leo, Sylvia receives an invite for an exhibition of his paintings. The exhibition is a huge success but Sylvia is even more intrigued as she hears to the voice of a young girl across the hall. She discovers the girl to be Leo’s daughter.

Sylvia narrates with delight how Sebastian circles the moon and in doing so, how the sky shines with magic. Suddenly a knock is heard and Leo enters, calling for Maya and waving tickets to the show she had asked for. Maya runs to the car and Leo smiles at Sylvia before joining Maya.

  • Dhruv Bhatnagar
    Your Father Was (2017)
  • Dhruv Bhatnagar
  • Sophie Hadley
    Midnight Kebab
  • Tali Matute
  • Emmy Happisburgh
    Key Cast
  • Leon Cooke
    Key Cast
    Mama Mia
  • Alexandria Clark
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Short
  • Runtime:
    12 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 19, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    2,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Dhruv Bhatnagar

Dhruv Bhatnagar is a graduate of the BA (Hons) Film course from University of Westminster and currently working in Indian cinema in Mumbai, assisting on features for the production company "Phantom Films".

As a filmmaker he aspires to make films that contribute to the magical realism genre, with a detailed attention to characters and their relationships.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Leaves for the Moon is my first independent short. I came across a true story which touched my heart and I knew I had to make despite its challenges. Successfully creating this adaptation and being able to tell that story is one of my proudest accomplishments.

I set out with the challenge creating a film that juxtaposes in almost all aspects. LFTM portrays the connection in relationships between characters of opposing ages, (a mature woman, a young man and a child).

A rather mature narrative concept is narrated in the style of a children's story book. In addition to age and physical appearance the visual aesthetic and score of this film mirrors in juxtaposition. The film's narrative jumps back and forth from flashbacks and the present. The flashbacks are visualised in an empty, minimalistic, black space where only key elements of the location are indicated, whereas the present day is a colourful open space.

A huge inspiration for the aesthetic of this film was theatre. Believing in the concept a viewer does not need to see an entire set to understand or feel engrossed in the film, the design and lighting are hoped to position a spectator to see the flashbacks as the main character remembers them. The parts of a room that really matter in defining it as a room and the accentuated emotions in a moment that make it a memory worth remembering.

Ultimately this is a bitter-sweet, magical-realist, family film which puts a viewer in the middle of an unconventional inspiring love story. I hope you enjoy it.