'Escape Technology' is our latest of Film of the Month

01 Apr 2023 in Film of the Month

6 mins
'Escape Technology' is our latest of Film of the Month

We are thrilled to reveal our latest Film of the Month winner Escape Technology, a provocative look at our relationship with technology and finding freedom in nature from filmmaker Frank, in Peterborough. 

Escape Technology (engaging for ages 14+) asks its audience to question our reliance on technology and explores the freedoms offered by nature.

A stunningly shot and edited film. Such evocative lighting and colour grading!

Film of the Month Judge on 'Escape Technology'

We caught up with filmmaker Frank for a deep dive into the making of Escape Technology.

Can you tell us what made you decide to make your first ever short film?

I was in the middle of completing my GCSE Art coursework and as a part of the course we are expected to research various artists in a wide range of media. I wanted to explore a media that was perhaps not as commonly explored in GCSE Art and I decided that my love for film could help me do this.

This led me to exploring my favourite director, Wes Anderson, whose filmscombine visually striking imagery, vibrancy and relaxed music that often emphasizes the emotions seen/felt by the viewer.

We love the colour and lighting in the film! Can you tell us a little about how you achieved that?

The colour and lighting in the film was definitely a keypart to achieve the desired film identity. I used a combination of practical lighting in my scenes whilst still using colour grading virtually. I had three sources of practical lighting, an LED light (this helped creating a better atmosphere, especially with the fridge's glow), a white light (this helped me create even lighting in my indoor scenes and occasionally smooth gradients), and finally I used the sun (which perfectly illuminated my exterior shots to create an antithesis of my previous interior shots that had harsh lighting).

Then once I had filmed all my scenes, I had to move onto editing which is where I added all the colour correction and atmosphere, I used a free program called Davinci Resolve which is perfect for beginners to learn editing. In the colour panel I shifted the values for highlights, midtones and shadows to create a dystopian atmosphere.

I knew I needed two very distinct colour themes for the 3 parts of the film and decided the 1st and 3rd parts would be mainly green/blue which can be seen as grittier and more dystopian whilst part 2 would involve colours such as orange and yellow to imply a shifted reality almost, where everything is more appealing to the viewer once technology had been ‘removed'.

Can you tell us a little about the lenses you used to make the film? 

I used a 10-18mm Canon lens on my camera which achieved a wide angle shot, which was especially useful for the cycling scenes, this also made it possible for simple mistakes to happen so that I could zoom in/stabilize footage in post and keep most of the scene in view. However, with this wide-angle lens you cannot zoom in too deeply when filming and therefore in order to get this zooming in effect in some shots I added dynamic zoom which can be simply toggled on and off and edited for the desired speed.

What were some of the challenges you faced when making Escape Technology?

This was my first ever film. That in itself is a huge challenge as I needed to learn how to storyboard, film and edit in a short amount of time. However, I did have experience with photography and therefore understood composition, lighting and how to use a camera, and luckily for me Wes Anderson mostly uses still shots in his scenes which is not too hard to do. For the rest, I mostly used YouTube tutorials to learn which was very useful as I had no idea what I was doing.

What message would you like audiences to take from the film?

The whole message of the piece was to step away from technology that our generation has become so addicted to that it is now required to live and function, for example all of my homework from school is set online and feedback is shared online rather than in person showing just how much we rely on technology. 

This piece presents a world with technology as dark and gritty with extremely structured shots using Anderson's symmetry, contrasting this is the exterior tech-free scenes that are vibrant and less structured. I want the audience to realise that we do not have to rely on technology to enjoy our lives, however there are aspects that we can greatly benefit from such as sharing creativity and inspiration.

Were there any films or filmmakers that influenced you?

As this piece was exploring Wes Anderson as a director I mainly focused on his work, however I definitely was slightly inspired by a few others. For example, Steven Spielberg's ‘Ready Player One' inspired the contrasting colour schemes seen throughout my film, which did help create atmosphere.

What 3 pieces of advice would you give to a young filmmaker about to make their first short?

  1. You just need to go for it, which is easier said than done, but if you have an idea that inspires creativity within you or a spark to create something then you have to just start the project which you will find hard to stop as you flow through the process.
  2. Using tutorials to learn filming, editing, etc. is not cheating, they are helpful and will allow you to do things you may not have known were possible. These things can also be taught to you directly if you have a teacher in your school who is familiar with filmmaking/photography who won't mind helping you in your creative journey.
  3. Storyboarding is essential when creating a short film as you will have all the scenes you need to film prepared and ready, this means you won't have to come up with scenes when filming and realising you don't have the right props or costume.

Frank's film will now be showcased to over 300,000 film club members online and all of our Film of the Month films are now on the Into Film YouTube channel, they have also secured a £100 Amazon voucher to help further develop their filmmaking. Think you could win Film of the Month? Find out more about how you can enter our ongoing Film of the Month competition.

If you've been inspired by Escape Technology then make sure to check out the following films:

  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) PG, 85 mins, 7+
    Stop-motion animation version of Roald Dahl's woodland tale that combines a beautiful old-fashioned aesthetic with Wes Anderson's trademark dialogue.
  • Ready Player One (2018) 12, 140 mins, 11-16
    Teenager Wade and his friends enter the virtual reality universe of the OASIS to complete a series of tasks hidden somewhere within its vast realm.
  • Rebooted (2019) Unclassified, 13 mins, 11-16
    A stop-motion skeleton, desperate for work, sets out to reclaim the golden age of special effects.
  • Ron's Gone Wrong (2021) PG, 103 mins, 7-14
    A lonely teenage boy receives a malfunctioning robot toy as a birthday present and they soon become best friends.

You may also be interested in...

Viewing 4 of 4 related items.

Into Film Clubs

Into Film Clubs

Find out everything you need to know about starting an Into Film Club.

News details

Want to write for us?

Get in touch with your article ideas for the News and Views section.