Claire’s Birthday

As the clock ticks throughout the day, we get a glimpse into Claire’s simple yet peculiar life.

Without speaking a word, she reveals her yearning for human connection as well as her contentment with peace and quietness. What’s wrong with spending your birthday alone when it’s meant to be your special day anyway?

Creative team

Writer/director/producer: Patrick T. Lo

Filmmaker’s statement

I stumbled into filmmaking because I truly believe that film is the best medium for capturing subtle expressions [and] emotions but, as a filmmaker, I have always felt obliged to be this high-energy extrovert who radiates positivity. The fact is: I’m not that person; I’m not a leader; I can barely lead my own life.

A few years ago, nothing was going as planned: my company fell apart, feelings were hurt, friendships ended, etc. Without going too far into it, I needed to get away from my problems. I moved abroad for about a year thinking that I could leave behind all my troubles.

For the most part, I did. I met some amazing people who are still supportive of me up to this day, lots of laughter was had and I was so inspired by the change of scenery.

My new home made me feel alive again … sort of. Every morning, the feeling of melancholia always kept crawling back to me. I would wake up feeling nothing, thinking “What’s the point to all this” every day. My new home was still my bed, just in a different city.

It has always been my dream to make a feature-length film. Everyone has a film in them and I wanted to tell ‘that’ story within me.

I decided to just do it, even without a budget, even without the energy. I recruited a small team. We would improvise, be in the moment and just create. Simple, right? It was a project that would evolve as we were shooting and it was exciting. I knew it was going to be my most personal work as I poured so much of myself into this made-up character.

We shot and experimented with ideas and it was moving along and I was inspired by the people who believe in me and it became too overwhelming.

It wasn’t as good as I had expected, nothing made sense, I hated what I was doing, and I had to pull the plug. I apologized to everyone to let them know that I couldn’t finish the project. By that point, I had collected hours of footage that barely added up to anything. It felt like a disappointment to everyone involved.

I left and returned home and life was ‘normal’ again. Life felt flat. I attempted to get other projects off the ground but nothing major happened. Two years later and over the past holiday season, winter blues were revisiting and I didn’t want to socialize.

I looked at the footage from two years ago. It was a mess but I was grinning. I realized what I was trying to convey when I shot it: feeling nothing and everything as time passes by and learning to cope with it.

I re-edited these hours of footage that captured the feelings I had (and still have). Even if the final version isn’t what I’ve set out to make, the project had always been ‘me.’ I used the holiday season to put this short film together. Exorcise my demons, if you will.

This short film is ‘that.’

About Patrick T. Lo

Patrick T. Lo

Born in 1985 in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, Patrick is a screenwriter/director and new-media designer. In 2006, he graduated from School of Design at GBC with honours.

Since then, his film and interactive projects have been shown in Asia, Europe and North America, some of which were featured in the Toronto Star, National Post, Huffington Post, Canal+ and Wired UK.

His web videos have collectively gathered over 30 million views. He is currently based in Toronto, Ontario.

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