Annie Waits, a 9-minute Strasburg Film Festival feature, based on, you know – life.
We’ve all waited for ‘the one’. The one who catches our eye, the one who keeps our interest, the one who won’t expect us to trudge down that conventional path. Annie Waits tells the story of lust and disappointment, as a twenty-something wait for her adult life to begin.
Director Biography – Marnie Paxton-Harris
Marnie’s extensive experience as a script supervisor makes her directorial debut both overdue and highly anticipated. Working with the likes of Tom Harper, Richard Laxton and Jeremy Web, she has become an invaluable member to the film industry and is somewhat of a hidden talent.
Her background in acting and writing, complimented with her impeccable eye for detail enhances her skills as a director. With ‘on point’ timing and vast experience working with some of the best teams in the industry, Marnie has gained a wonderful understanding of driving narrative and how to bring a script to life.
Her credits span across high-end TV and film, and include War & Peace, The Woman in Black, Silk and Merlin to name but a few.
Marnie Paxton-Harris submitted the following statement about her film:
The original concept was a London-centric, female protagonist driven show, that explores the emotional and physical journey of a young woman having a second coming of age, as she embarks on creating her vision of life. To explore that period in your life when you have freedom, passion, energy and a creeping awareness of time passing.
Initially, with the short film there was the challenge of working on a script that was predominantly narration, it meant there was a great opportunity to create visual moments and to explore the different characters through improvisation. We were outrageously lucky with our cast, every actor was completely open to improvising with dialogue and sexual positions!
I have always been inspired by the eclectic and quirky worlds created by Pedro Almodovar, alongside the raw and real realities of Jose Luis Cuerda, Pawel Pawlikoski, Andrea Arnold and Isabel Coixet. All these directors maintain the magic while dealing with genuine human emotions and that is what we want to explore with Annie Waits. We want to develop a show helps us feel connected, while not being too far-fetched, that deals with real issues while elevating them to a place that allows us to find the humour and the heart in them.
Our colour palette reflect’s Annie’s character; she is spirited, experimental and vibrant. The music also emulates the rhythm and pace of London and Annie’s life, adding another layer to the movement of the film.
The inspiration for the opening scene, where Annie is having a mild panic attack caused by the anxiety of the party, was taken from a very stylised piece of film about the world through the eyes of someone with agoraphobia. We then punctuated the short with moments like this to give it that same heightened feeling from Annie’s point of view. For the opening we enriched the hues and played with the camera speed. We also used the same slow-mo technique when the men are ‘getting serious’ and talking about ‘the future.’ For those moments we used extreme close ups and distorted the sounds to create the feeling of nervousness and increasing panic.
With regards the expansion of the character of Annie, we want to explore the life of a twenty-something living in London and attempting to follow her ambition to be a photographer. In the series we explore the themes of friendship through Annie’s flatmates, inspired by the American show ‘Girls’. Annie has a male friend from the town she grew up in, who grounds her reality and connects her to her family and he also introduces other emotional challenges. We also have a divorced mother-of-two who becomes her mentor in the ways of the world, she no longer photographs the beautiful and the damned, she takes pictures of their children. As well as a hapless male colleague, who pops up throughout the show, as he has a desire to be wherever Annie is.
Your twenties are a golden voyage of discovery, where you manage to fairly obliviously map out your future personality and environment. Annie is a dreamer, a functioning dreamer, who lives in reality. She wants what she wants and she isn’t prepared to take what she’s given if it doesn’t fit. To see the world through Annie’s eyes is to be present and aware whilst still holding up your dreams as the goal. In the words of Debbie Harry: “dreaming is free…” Annie is a gal who knows this and isn’t afraid of it.