The troubles and desperation of a handful of Londoners intersect at one of the city’s few remaining iconic red phone boxes. For these threadbare souls, each facing a new beginning with unpredictable outcomes, the phone box is more than a public service: it’s a lifeline.
Writer: Angelo Eidse
Producer/director: Alan Powell
The idea for Phone Box came to me around 2008. It was inspired by my desire to create a film that not only engaged viewers through visceral performances but also through an unfiltered cinematic reality that was raw, textured and ‘fly on the wall’ real.
I hadn’t really explored those elements in great detail in my filmmaking before. It wasn’t until six years later, after watching Open Hearts, a Susanne Bier Dogme 95 feature, that the motivation to do something became too strong to ignore.
Written by Angelo Eidse, Phone Box was originally set in a Toronto phone booth. When I moved to London, England and revisited the script it took on new meaning as the iconic red phone box is endangered.
On top of that, the whole concept became richer with mood and texture. It was also clear that I needed to create a personality for the phone box. Outside of its iconic appeal I wanted the graffiti and the various stickers to add meaning.
We had an advantage in shooting in the phone box. It’s enclosed by glass and that’s a pretty good sound barrier. So the street traffic noises of east London on a Saturday were already beautifully mixed on the day!
Using natural light and armed with only a few portable LED’s from the dollar store and a black foam core board, DOP Ollie Ford and first camera assist Nick Morris performed miracles.
Shooting the Polish man’s scene with the windows blown out behind him played like heavenly light and was a symbolic foretelling.
The film score has a haunting emotional quality that is not only foreboding and foretelling but also makes sense to each of the character’s stories. Its meaning is layered much like the stickers and graffiti on the phone box.
About Alan Powell
Alan’s short films have screened at dozens of festivals around the world and won several awards.
Across the Hall (2006), funded by the National Film Board of Canada and the Ontario Arts Council, picked up best foreign film at the Heart of Gold Film Festival in Australia, best Canadian film at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival in New York and best short at Method Fest in California.
It was nominated for two Golden Sheafs (Best Film, Best Direction) at the Yorkton Film Festival in Canada and placed third in the Indie Producers Short Film Contest in Los Angeles.
Sunday Punch (2013), which Alan also wrote, was funded by the Ontario Arts Council and won best short at Reel Islington Film Festival in London, UK, best short at the Open World Toronto Film Festival in Canada, a Canadian Cinema Editors Award for best editing (Erin Deck) and was a finalist in the Canadian TV program Short Film Face Off for CBC airing on national television.
It was also selected by Telefilm Canada, National Film Board of Canada and SODEC to screen at the Shortest Day Short Film Celebration 2014 – a three-day event – where it was released in 31 venues across Canada.
Alan recently directed the two-time Olivier award winner Janie Dee in the film As One also starring Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly), Jeany Spark (The Interceptor, Man Down, Jericho) and Edward MacLiam (DCI Banks, Ordinary Lies, Holby City).
Phone Box (2014) had its premiere at the 33rd Vancouver International Film Festival in Canada. It won best of the fest at TriForce Film Festival held at BAFTA in London and an audience award at the 12th Strawberry Shorts Film Festival in Cambridge, UK.
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Alan now lives in London, England and commutes back to Canada where his production company, Facilitator Films, produces dramatizations for educational purposes. Alan also teaches on-camera acting in London and Toronto. Read more on Alan’s website or visit the official Phone Box website.