Experiencing Interruptions?

To See A Lighthouse

After the death of a friend, our narrator steals a laptop and starts to explore its contents. As he does so, he starts to realise the meaning of friendship, loss, mourning and humanity in the digital age.

  • Will McConnell
  • Will McConnell
  • David Bell
    Key Cast
  • Michelle De Silva
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Web / New Media
  • Genres:
    Drama, arthouse, experimental, found footage
  • Runtime:
    34 minutes 19 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 13, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    0 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Belfast Film Festival 2020
    United Kingdom
    March 5, 2020
    World Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Will McConnell

Will McConnell (b. 1983, Northern Ireland) is a filmmaker and visual artist working in documentary, music video and commercials since 2007.

His commercial client list includes The British Council, The London 2012 Olympic Commitee, the British Museum, Universal Music Group and Diageo. Since 2009 Will has also curated a music video blog 'Bandwidth Sessions' where he has filmed and edited live music sessions with artists such as Foy Vance, Ash and the National.

Since graduating from the MFA program in Fine Art at Ulster University in 2017, he has been working in experimental video.

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Director Statement

'To See A Lighthouse' emerged from an arthouse documentary series I began in 2017 called 'Dreamland', which explored the human experience in a technological world.

This film takes a deliberately narrative turn from that series though. There are dramatic elements recreated by actors. The story, about a friend who dies and leaves his laptop behind for me to see, is entirely fictional.

But it's also part-documentary. I use this story as a launching point to talk about themes that interest me: life & death, morality, art, and urban space - in a digital age.

I made this film with no money and no resources, which I allowed to dictate the form. I became aware of an indie film genre called 'Screencap' which is a new kind of found footage film, made entirely by capturing the images on the computer screen, and I realised this is the way this film had to be made. Which I'm glad about, because if I had had thousands of pounds to make a film I wouldn't have made this film at all.

As a director I've always been interested in the point where technology and spirituality meet, and I often quote Arthur C. Clarke's 3rd rule of science fiction: "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". In many ways this is the most spiritual film I've made to date. I call it an email to God.

It's a hard film. It was very hard to write, and very hard to edit, but I know that in the pain of writing I exorcised feelings of loss and isolation that I was feeling in my life at that time. In the depths of writing hell, when I couldn't see how this story was going to work, I started to imagine a lighthouse, which literally guided me through to the end of the story. So at the film's conclusion there's a sense of healing and relief. I hope as a viewer you feel that too when watching it.