ONE SHILLING, 6min., UK, Dance
Directed by Monica Nicolaides
One Shilling. A contemporary dance film where four strangers from different backgrounds escape everyday life for one night, drinking and dancing in one of London’s underground bars during the Blitz.
'One Shilling' is a short dance film, inspired by true encounters of people in WWII; where 4 strangers from different backgrounds came together to enjoy a night out, in one of the underground places in London during the Blitz. At a time of constant danger, where under-represented communities and being different was not welcomed by society. One shilling gave access to underground safe havens, where strangers escaped everyday life, social conformity and daily bombings; and became friends.
‘One Shilling’ celebrates the formation of community and unity, by embracing ones individuality. When the community does not look at class, race or sexuality. Everyone comes together to celebrate being alive; to forget the danger and casualties surrounding them in their everyday lives. At this bar, we see the temporary deconstruction of social class, race and sexuality for one night only. It is a story of the places where people from all walks of life find refuge, and a community that welcomes their differences even for a moment in time.
Get to know the director:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
The idea came during Covid lockdown when I was looking into the history of a performing arts building in London.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
From its inception to the finished product, it took about 15 months. Partly due to delays with covid restrictions and coinciding the crew and cast's availability with the venue's availability.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Our biggest challenge was scheduling based on everyone's availability. It was important to film is this specific location as the building operated as an entertainment venue during the Blitz and it was part of the history we wanted to showcase. Due to the impact covid had over the last couple of years, the venue had very limited availability. At the same time some of the cast and crew had other commitments, but we managed to find dates that accommodated everyone.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Surprised, honoured and humbled to hear such wonderful feedback! I'm very happy to see that everyone's talent and contribution to this film was recognised. It really was a combined effort from everyone involved.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I have always been fascinated with filmed works. Even though my background is in dance, I found that films tend to unlock this unique world that audiences can connect with. I feel the camera is another performer in the story that is portrayed on screen and I am interested in giving it agency, by how it moves and captures the performers in space. I have been working with filmed works for a while, and 'One Shilling' was an opportunity to take the role of the director as well as the choreographer.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Probably one of the Disney classics, because who can say 'No' to animals and inanimate objects acting like humans and break into songs!
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
The experience you are providing is fantastic!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
10. What is your favorite meal?
Dessert... if that counts as a meal!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I'm currently movement directing in a theatre play in London. There are a few ideas for a new film that are being developed.