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Sheffield Shorts 2020
Fiction // Sci-Fi
Interview with director & writer Lewis Coates
Firstly, tell us about the film and what inspired you to make it?
The film is a sci-fi drama about a young man called Leo that uses a futuristic therapy device to delve into his past. The title ‘Re-displacement’ relates to the character being displaced from his mind and his identity – we usually hear the word used referring to immigration and people being displaced from their place of birth or the country they call home. This has the same meaning, but instead of a physical displacement, it’s a mental one.
I wanted to make something heavily stylised with mind-bending, almost hallucinatory visuals and sound. I knew that the best way to experiment with these elements is by exploring the mind as it’s easier for the audience to suspend disbelief of what is real and what is not. This allowed me to write a story that jumped around in several locations and drip-fed plot points just clear enough to keep the audience interested, but always feeling like they’re trying to connect the dots.
The film is very thought-provoking, what message did you intend for the audience to take away from the film?
I really wanted to end the film on an ambiguous cliffhanger – something that some audiences loved and others didn’t. I wanted to leave enough room in the narrative that the viewer can add their own interpretation to the events and what would happen next. That means there isn’t necessarily one take away from the film, but I think it’s fair to say that however much guidance Leo receives from the therapist, he is in control of his destiny. He has to decide whether he wants to continuously visualise the most traumatic memories of his life until he accepts and understands them, or put the past behind him and make new, more positive memories
Finally, what are you working on next? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
I am currently writing another sci-fi short film called ‘Digital Deceased’ which is set in a company where people are turned into projections after they die for relatives to visit – in a similar vein to ‘Re-displacement’, but with a bit of a dark comedy undertone. I was also selected for BFI’s Creative Producer School this year, so have also been working with other writers and directors to develop their projects. I recently produced a comedy short film called ‘Steve Bracknall’ written by Chris McClure, which is a hilarious Sheffield-based comedy about a Sunday league football assistant manager going through a midlife crisis. I’m also producing an offbeat comedy called ‘Rabbit’ about a couple in a rut in their relationship that buy a pet rabbit instead of getting married, with disastrous results.
I like being able to move between genres, writing mainly sci-fi and dark thrillers, but producing more uplifting and fun pieces – hopefully next year will be a better outlook for filmmaking and we can enjoy Sheffield Short Film Festival on the big screen!