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May 23, 2011

Nokia Shorts Finalist 5 (of 8): Daniel

Aurora Fearnley is the fifth of the Nokia Shorts finalist who we’re getting up close and personal to. Aurora is a 29 year old who classifies her interests as; travel, culture, history, philosophy, psychology (deep breath), art, dance, film, theatre, photography and friends J. Somehow, she managed to fit in the time to speak to Nseries about her short, Daniel.

What inspired your short-story pitch?



The short was created from the Book of Daniel in the bible who has to overcome the tyrannical power of king Nebuchadnezzar with insight, logic and faith. Our short film Daniel, is a modern re-working of his ability to perceive the gift of truth and foresight as a curse or burden. In this modern (1940’s) tale Daniel is a school boy, self exiled by his empathic ability and scared of what he might become without guidance. Neither myself or writer Sue E Clarke are religious but the Bible has such rich source material, we’ve really enjoyed combing our current interests with ancient stories to create something new.


Who inspires you?

Brave, honest and dedicated people. If I want to feel inspired I watch and in 20 mins I feel a universal connection. It’s inspirational to hear individuals who are striving forward for humanity, the betterment of our future and have become a master in their passion.


Why are you passionate about films?

My relationship with film is deeply personal.

When I was a teenager I became very ill and went from being an active singer and dancer to being bed bound for four years. I was lucky to have fantastic support and recovered to see the positive from the experience. Film became a friend in those lost years and I was able to connect and learn from movies while growing through adolescence. I find it unsurprising that I now communicate through that same medium. If I can bring other people the same power of magic and escapism that I felt when it was needed, then I feel I’ve come full circle.


What is your favourite short film?



the first short that really connected with me was Jane Campions “Passionless Moments”. I loved the black and white 16mm film look and her ideas to juxtapose mundane action with reflective thoughts.

one summer I worked for Laurence Boyce at the Leeds International Film festival and had a job watching and reporting on the shorts. I saw hundreds of short films and it became clear how many stories there were to tell and in so many ways, but mostly how hard it is to do well. Which is why shorts are the training ground for the aspiring feature film maker and calling card for the truly talented.


What is your favourite film of all time? Why did it leave such an impression on you?

Fight Club, it is so well crafted, it’s the details that make it a masterpiece to me. I won’t go into my great respect for Fincher, but I do enjoy his noir styled psychological thrillers.


Who is your favourite director?

choosing one is impossible

Chris Nolan – ability to work with scale and epic proportions, while investigating the psychological choices and changes his characters experience with depth and sincerity.

Terry Gilliam – his ability to translate the abstract wonders of human imagination into movies, genius!

Lynn Ramsay – her films speak in an unflinchingly honest voice, unaffected and heartbreaking.


What was the first film you’d ever seen?

I’ve been told it was Bambi at the cinema, I cried when the mum deer was shots, yeah. But I think that’s great, I still shed tears in the cinema.


Name a memorable moment in your life

A month ago I travelled with my sister through China to visit friends. We stayed in a magical area called Yangshou where they filmed for Avatar, it was spectacular. Great karst mountains rising out of the mist while travelling down winding rivers and across paddy fields of dew. I had to put my camera down to experience it fully, try not to capture the scenery and just watch it, let my memories take the pictures.


It’s the 100th anniversary of the first Hollywood studio, what are your thoughts on its legacy?

Hollywood wants to please you, it want you to come to the cinema, it want you to leave ecstatic and see trailers to bring you back again. It does that and makes millions of people happy, we come for the experience, the shared experience. I could name 100 hollywood films that I’ve loved too. Its too easy in my mind to link Hollywood to commercialism. As much as it hurts the creative to admit it, the films are business and it’s only sensible to see that these factors live in equilibrium, for both independent and Hollywood features.


Thanks very much to Aurora for her time. You can see her winning short, Daniel, below which will be featuring at the Nokia Shorts Weekender in Edinburgh

Daniel from aurora fearnley on Vimeo.