Private Project

The Hut

A woman finds herself stranded in a mountain hut after a mysterious hiking accident during a snowstorm. Alone with only herself to talk to on a broken radio, she is faced with the reality of her PTSD which leads to some unnerving revelations and darkly comedic encounters.

The Hut is a playful and provocative exploration of PTSD that expresses the fragile and resilient nature of the mind, and the kaleidoscope effects of trauma when faced alone with oneself.

  • Angel Jones
  • Angel Jones
    Adira's Dream
  • Angel Jones
  • Charlotte Luxford
    Key Cast
  • Matt Honey
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Drama, psychological thriller, comedy, horror
  • Runtime:
    24 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 22, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    800 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 - Angel Jones

Angel Jones is an emerging British-Malaysian filmmaker, based in York, England. After graduating with a First-Class English Degree, Angel’s love of story and film led her to co-write her first feature film, 'Adira’s Dream', which won several international awards, including Best Story. She continued to work on film sets to learn filmmaking, before being hired as a feature screenwriter for Highfield Studios. Eager to direct, and a hands-on learner, she continued to write and self-shoot short sketches, whilst writing her own original feature screenplays. 'The Hut' is her directorial debut, which she wrote and produced on a shoestring, and thrived off problem solving and thinking outside the box.
She is currently editing her experimental art film, 'Apricity', about a female insomniac, whilst working on a new screenplay and developing the feature script of The Hut for production.

Angel’s storytelling is grounded in the human experience, playing with character and genre to explore the liminal spaces where outer and inner worlds collide. She is excited to form new collaborations and create more nuanced and unpredictable films, where unseen characters are at the heart.

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Director Statement

‘The Hut’ short film is a playful and provocative exploration of PTSD and repressed memories, a genre-bending narrative that speaks of the fragility of the mind, and the effects of trauma on the individual.

‘The Hut’ is inspired by a true story that unfolded when I lived in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. In the frozen depths of winter, following a dangerous hiking accident that killed her partner, a woman had been found high in the mountains in an empty ranger’s hut, where she had been taking refuge for a month waiting for rescue.

It struck me on many levels, and I knew I had to explore a story where the psyche and bravery of this woman drove the narrative. What must she have felt, all alone, not knowing if she would survive, but also knowing that her husband’s body was out there frozen in the snow? Would she have PTSD? And on the other scale, what were her intentions? Was it an accident? Or was it a way out? Filled with ideas, I wrote the feature script. But first, I wanted to explore from another perspective to this story – an experimental and rebellious twist, with a touch of the absurd. To create a pressure cooker of a film that would work best as a short, and without a budget.

I set myself many creative constraints – one woman, one location, one camera and in a very short space of time. It would be shot in aspect ratio 4:3 on a hand-held camera rig, to mirror the claustrophobia and disorientation of the situation the character finds herself in, as well as to place the protagonist(s) Ray at the centre of her own narrative. In this version of the story, I was eager to explore the effects of PTSD on the individual, and how an obvious trauma, such as a hiking accident, can not only initiate symptoms of PTSD regarding that event, but also spark a whole spiral of repressed traumas from one’s past. It felt necessary for me to explore this from a very female perspective, speaking into both the experiences of many women, and to the universal human experience of trauma, anxiety and the quotidian ways in which we all speak to ourselves. But it couldn’t take itself too seriously, it needed to be funny in places– after all, often the most tragic of scenarios is where the comedy lies. I wanted the viewer to feel all the emotions that the character might be going through herself, to find her both unpalatable yet uncomfortably relatable. To feel empathy, fear, judgement, compassion, humour, and confusion, and importantly, to look inward at themselves. So, although this film is indeed a psychological thriller, with elements of horror (particularly in the sound and music), there is an underlying dark humour that is inherent to the story and crucial to the viewer’s journey. All of this meant that the actress would need to be strong and captivating enough to hold audience attention for 25 minutes on her own, let alone be able to perform the spectrum of emotions that the character ventures through. It’s a real one-woman piece, and our actress, Charlotte Luxford, was the key to this immense task.

Shooting the film posed many challenges, which also made this film more special. As a first-time director and producer, I had to seize every opportunity, and fast. From securing the actress, to borrowing camera gear from a local studio, to being generously offered space, and board, at a film studio I’d previously worked with. With 4 weeks to plan the shoot, which would take place over a weekend, I still needed to find crew, lighting gear, and hope that everyone would be Covid-free for the only dates that were available. This is where the power of the story and script, and the details of how I planned to shoot it, played a huge part. I was lucky enough to attract a very talented crew of artists working in film, who were more than happy to dedicate their time and skills to the film.

The final film is a little different to the original script, as we had to problem solve on the spot, coming up with new ideas and ways in which we could express the same story and character, but being flexible and adaptable enough to see when something needs to change. For example, I’d originally planned to shoot the whole thing with Charlotte playing both Ray’s on screen for the entire time. But with time being a real issue, I changed the script to have the other Ray talking through the radio for the majority of the film – a change that I believe was for the better, but it may not have presented itself if I had all the money and time in the world.

Making this film has been a huge learning curve and equipped me with many practical skills for future projects. I’m an advocate for learning on the job, and so the collaboration involved in the whole process – from designing and building the set out of junk, to editing the film with the help of professionals – has been equally enjoyable as it has been educational. Working to these budget and time constraints are what I thrive on, and the whole production has been a testament to the power of a shared belief in a story and for persevering even when the odds are against you.

I am very proud of ‘The Hut’ and the dedication and love that has been put into it by the exceptionally talented team and actress. It’s been the most creatively rewarding experience, resulting in a film that I hope will inspire others to produce their own stories in ambitious and unique ways - working within limitations will often inspire the most imaginative and engaging pieces of film.