Roads by Moss Davis: Skinny Short Film Competition
Shortlisted in The Skinny Short Film Competition 2015, director Moss Davis explains the ideas, inspirations and processes behind his film Roads
"A man struggles to accept life's predefined path. Set among a beautiful, yet unforgiving forest. This atmospheric and minimal short is a tale of love for a place, a sense of belonging, and the lengths he is willing to go to protect what and where he loves."
I'm a film student from Manchester Metropolitan University and this is my final year piece of work. I mainly work as a cinematographer and my love for visuals definitely influenced the writing of Roads. The film was made with a budget of £240, which went on hiring the yurt, food and petrol. Everyone else who helped with the film did so as a favour to me. The only area where I wished we had more of a budget was to hire a stunt rider: my lead actor couldn't ride a motorbike, so it meant I had to ride the bike in the film – a bit challenging as well as directing a crew!
I grew up in the Forest of Dean, a relatively small collection of towns and villages in Gloucestershire. I loved growing up there and wanted to capture the essence of the place within the film; the beauty of the forest and the disconnected feel from the rest of the country – this is embellished in the film. The idea of being torn away from life as you know it has cropped up in several of my films, and possibly stems from being pushed into further education by my family – at the time I remember feeling like everything I had ever known was gone. The last theme I wanted to convey was the belief that everything has a silver lining and that life’s winding road is the only option; everything has happened as its meant to, and whatever you do you can’t change it.
My previous film, a documentary called Creo, about a 92-year-old artist and speed walker and his magnificently positive outlook of life, was accepted into the ASFF film festival and promoted by Aeon Magazine. Myself and Creo became good friends and I actually cast him in Roads as the senior gangster. I actually quite like using non-trained actors and improvised dialogue; I believe it gives the film a sense of realism.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I'm a freelance director and cinematographer; having just graduated from Manchester School of Art this summer, I’m determined to live and travel making films. I do it because I love it, and because I don’t think I would survive having a ‘normal job’.
Where did the initial idea for your film come from?
The idea of being on life's winding 'road' has cropped up in my work before. I wanted to convey a sense of whatever happens, happens for a reason. You might not be where you imagined yourself, but you can only connect the dots looking back. I guess the idea came from me leaving everything I had known to go to University.
Describe your film in five words?
On to the next chapter.
What excites you most about filmmaking?
Coming from a cinematography background, I am fascinated by conveying emotion with visuals. I think it’s this non-verbal communication of emotion that excites me.
What advice would you give other filmmakers?
I'm in no position to give out advice, but I guess the thing I learned the most making this film is to find a crew you really get on with and trust them.
Director - Moss Davis
Cinematographer - Ami Bevilaqua
Producer - Ashton Obertelli
Sound Recordist - Chantelle Edwards
Learn more about The Skinny Short Film Competition and watch more short films at our Short Film Competition portal, and check out the full shortlist for The Skinny Short Film Competition.