Derin Seale Goes To Eleven
By Brett McKenzie on Feb 15, 2019
Australian filmmaker wins Best of Show at One Screen 2019 with "The Eleven O'Clock"
The One Club For Creativity got one step closer to Hollywood Wednesday night as we presented the 2019 One Screen Short Film Festival. Now in its seventh year, One Screen unites the advertising and filmmaking worlds in a single night of creative expression. Attendees were thoroughly entertained by an evening of amazing shorts, but the icing on the cake was "The Eleven O'Clock", a darkly comic short film produced by FINCH and directed by Australian filmmaker Derin Seale, which was awarded this year's One Screen Best of Show.
We had a chance to ask Derin a few questions about the film and his creative process.
First of all, congratulations on your Best of Show win!
Thanks! So very excited about being a part of this year's One Screen awards.
How did "The Eleven O'Clock" come into being? What intrigued you most about tackling the project from a director's standpoint?
Our film is based on (the film's writer, co-producer and star) Josh Lawson's original short play, which was really built for a live audience and was very much about the absurdity and simplicity of the situation. I always wanted to work with Josh and Damon Herriman as actors, so we adapted it as a film. We got together and filmed it over a weekend on a really tight budget.
The film is quite absurdist, but there's also a certain darkness to it. Was this your intent from the start, or did it develop that way?
The direction I wanted to take with Josh’s play was to really build much more of a mystery into it and draw the audience into an experience when watching. Make the audience feel involved. It's not just a film about ‘a patient who thinks he is the doctor’, it's more about how we view strangers and decide who they really are. It's kind of like a viewer's relationship with a new piece of creativity when they watch it; in a way, films are like patients, and the audience is like a doctor trying to work out what's going on with it, what its issues are.
"...in a way, films are like patients, and the audience is like a doctor trying to work out what's going on with it, what its issues are."
What do you think is the short's best element, the one you are most proud of achieving?
Laughter. When you sit with an audience watching your comedy, ultimately hearing them laugh is the goal. I hadn’t really done any comedy before this, so I always feel very lucky to hear the audience's reaction. I am also lucky for Damon and Josh’s amazing performances and timing. The film’s story is actually quite layered and complicated, but if people can also just enjoy it on its surface as a comedy, that feels good.
Describe the mindset of directing a short film versus a commercial.
I tend to generally work on commercial campaigns that focus on an idea rather than a product. The goal can be to draw the viewer into a perspective. Here, it was the same, and I was really interested in the perspective of the audience and where they were at every moment during watching it. Commercials are about grabbing attention and holding it; we needed to do the same here. It was perfect to work with FINCH and Karen Bryson, who produces my commercial work as well.
You've got filmmaking in your blood, with a highly decorated cinematographer as a father. How much has his career path influenced yours?
I feel lucky for that. I am very proud of what he has done.
What's next for you in 2019? What should we be looking out for from you?
I am working on a few feature projects, mainly one that is similar to The Eleven O’Clock as it's set in a tight space and is a mystery that uses dialogue as its hook. We are looking to shoot in New York this year.
DERIN SEALE PROJECTS
Ad Council | "World Upside Down"
NZTA | "Mistakes"
VB | Raise A Glass
Sky | "Poisoned Chalice"
Department of Social Services | "Respect"