'I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die' is our Film of the Month

01 Jul 2023 in Film of the Month

8 mins
'I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die' is our Film of the Month

We are delighted to reveal our latest Film of the Month winner I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die, a profound exploration of the boundaries between life and art by filmmaker Evelyn, from Surrey.

I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die (suitable for ages 14+) follow an anonymous girl on her journey to freedom. Upon becoming entranced by a painting of a girl in a red dress, we realise that she sees the world through a purely romantic lens. She begins to realise her world was but an illusion, seeing life only as a reflection of art.

A hugely original short film showcasing impressive artistic flair.

Film of the Month Judge on 'I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die'

We caught up with filmmaker Evelyn to talk about their winning entry.

How did you get into filmmaking?

I started out like many, obsessing over their first cameras and recording everything around them, quickly moving on to editing sentimental family videos and diaries of holidays. I properly entered the world of film making during A-Levels, after submitting my first short film to the school competition, it planted a seed that has continued to grow.

I was able to experiment and research in equal measure, and grew a real passion for the discipline after watching works of Carolee Schneemann, Stan Brakhage and Yayoi Kusama. I began to take it more seriously, planning out storyboards and writing new ideas, all the while continuing to film anything and everything just for the sake of filming.

My main focus is on building emotion, and colours really effect me in that respect. They have the power to transform the audiences mood completely, and I focused on colour and its effects during my A-Level final piece. It taps into people in deeper, more subconscious ways, leaving them breathless without knowing why.

My favourite, and most common comment to get about my films and art is that it makes people feel ‘unsettled but they don't know why'. There are so many thing we don't know about ourselves and film can bring these parts up in inconspicuous ways.

What inspired the concept behind your film?

I was fascinated by the concept of mimesis; how the boundaries between life and art have been perceived through time and in my own world. It becomes so easy to get lost in the world of art, with the digital mediascape opening up a whole new realm for us to delve into.

In particular, the quote by Oscar Wilde, that ‘Life imitates Art more than Art imitates Life' sparked my interest in delving deeper and I began to read Ovid's Metamorphisis, The Picture of Dorian Grey and Aristotle's Poesie to understand this boundary further.

It is easy to feel that you are not looking at the world as it is, rather as a mirror of the art you have consumed. I think there can be dangers of wandering through this fantasy as the Romantic era, as the current wave of aesthetics have proved.

Getting sucked into the ‘Art' of life can have darker consequences, especially as a female. The burden of these artistic projections lies heavily on our shoulders, and we take them on fully sometimes meaning we lose ourselves, and the others around us.

This is something I tried to explore with my disconnected protagonist and her awakening building on females relation with the sea as something infinite and cleansing, but also unknown and crushing, as seen in Chopin's Awakening or Botticelli's Venus along with countless other depictions.

What are your future goals in the world of filmmaking?

In an age where the boundaries between life and art become slimmer by the second, film takes up a unique space, floating between the two. It is hard, after consuming hundreds, and making dozens of them, to go about life just as is; no lens, colour grading, transition.

I feel as though my eyes have begun to take on some of the technicalities of the camera, zooming on people with a story, to their fraught hand movements or telling wrinkles. The atmosphere of the day functions not just to nurture life and move around turbulent molecules, but rather extends an ominous mood through its diaphanous forms.

All this to say, I tend to dramatize everything I see, all filed away for later use in films and art. Yet film also enters the space of fabrication, increasingly drawing on superimpositions that trick the brain into reading as fact. We can now witness a star exploding out Tetradactyl who goes on to conquer the universe and not bat an eyelid, reflecting the broader change in our society.

The space of film will only become more complex with developments in AI, and the definition of film ‘a story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images' may shift away from the camera. Film has always offered so much, with no other art form able to fuse so many elements together and I sense that it will grow and adapt to accommodate whatever humans throw at it. I would love to be able to work with this infinite medium.

What resources or tools have been particularly valuable to you in your creative journey?

Taking an art foundation year was really valuable in giving me time and focus to creating. I usually tend to make short films, however being given a deadline and incentive to push myself was more valuable than the course itself.

Consuming lots of films also really helped me to develop a style, the more you watch the better range of influences you have to draw on. Doing extensive research and fully understanding what I want to communicate was very important, and cataloging my notes in a sketchbook or something that feels personal helped me consolidate this range of sources into one film.

Keep making films of anything and everything around you, what do you want to capture and how can you do so in a way that captivates.

Evelyn'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 I Paint Flowers So They Will Not Die then make sure to check out the following films:

  • Whale Rider (2002) PG, 101 mins, 7-16
    Tradition causes trouble in a family when a young Māori girl wants to take up what she believes is her rightful place at the head of her tribe.
  • Wadjda (2012) PG, 96 mins, 7-16
    This sweetly uplifting film the first ever by a female Saudi Arabian director is about an independent-minded ten-year-old named Wadjda, who won't be pushed around by adults and their ridiculous rules.
  • Little Women (2019) U, 135 mins, 11+
    Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth are four sisters living in 19th century Massachusetts in the aftermath of the Civil War.
  • À Bout De Souffle (Breathless) (1960) 12, 90 mins, 14+
    In this groundbreaking black and white French-language film, Michel is a young crook who styles himself on elegant noir movie gangsters such as Humphrey Bogart.

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