by Faruq Oyekan
Written and co-directed by filmmaker Joshua Jackson, Claire is the story of a young girl abandoned by her parents and now traveling in the company of two overseers. Unlike most girls her age, Claire possess extraordinary supernatural powers that allow her to see into the future. When something goes awry, Claire and her team of travelling companions are forced to fight for survival. For Claire this presents a moment of growth, as we witness this young girl learn to “face her fears and deal with guilt from the past, in order to save her friends.”
Claire is an ambitious and entertaining feat in Drama and Sci-fi. Through its use of narration Claire does a fabulous job of exploring the innocence of youth and presenting the mind of a young pubescent girl. As the story progress, its acting and its dialogue showcases intriguing elements of science fiction and action that will leave the audience amazed and hooked.
Dakota Law is amazing as Claire, and is able to captivate audiences with her portrayal of innocence, fear, and bravery. Her co-stars Faith Liu and Benjamin Mendiburu are equally memorable and fit in the film as realistic action badasses.
Like, Children of Men, The Road, War of the Worlds, and the vast majority of half dystopian and half post-apocalyptic narratives, Claire does an amazing job of presenting a relatable story in a bizarre yet interesting world. What could basically be called a story of a young girl coming of age and learning to be an adult, Claire spends most of its time connecting its viewers into the challenges of the young girl. Concepts such as loneliness and guilt are heavily explored in Claire and all in all help to pull at its viewers heartstrings.
Running at 14 minutes, Claire is not a showcase of eye-grabbing special effects or eye-popping gore and action sequences. ClaireInstead is a film that is aware of its budget and limitations, but chooses to expand itself in other lanes of storytelling such as character development and dialogue. It is in these elements that Claire truly shines and makes itself a worthy competitor along SFX heavy worlds of its peers.
Despite its simple approach, it should be stated that Claire does feature interesting technical feats, such as the use of real guns and ammunitions it its action sequences, and actors who performed these stunts.
For fans of Drama, or stories that feature strong children leads such as Brady, 1982, Portrait of Wild and Daybreak this is a film that will excite and inspire you. For those who love action films with a small sci-fi twist, Claire will quench your interests and please your eye with its refreshing take on storytelling.
INTERVIEW with Joshua Jackson (Co-Director/Writer)
First, what's your story? How did you become a filmmaker?
I fell in love with filmmaking at eleven years old, after editing my first movie featuring my brother and a puppet bird. During high school, I wanted to be an animator, but then realized I could tell stories much faster with live-action movies (although I still love animated films!). Growing up with four other siblings, film school wasn't affordable so I decided to skip college altogether and learned how to make movies on my own.
What inspired this short?
It was quite random. My coworker jokingly suggested he was clairvoyant, which made me think, "If I was actually clairvoyant, I could lie about things and have some weight to them." At the same time, I wanted to write a script with a heavy focus on character. These two things combined and we went into production rather quickly.
Any interesting production stories?
We used real guns for the action scene. Since the characters were shooting at invisible enemies, Ben (who plays Tim in the short) suggested actual firearms would add realism and save me time in post-production. He was our uncredited weapon supervisor and we had a safe and fun time filming the guns! However, we did have to inform the neighbors that we'd be literally shooting while shooting a movie. They were surprisingly okay with it.
What is it like film making now after having made this film? Has your approach changed?
Every film I make is always a great learning experience. I'm constantly testing things out, seeing how audiences react or don't react. With Claire, I ended up focusing a lot on cinematic language and visual storytelling, and less on the story itself. That, in hindsight, was not the greatest idea. But hey, live and learn. A huge priority is to have fun, which we definitely had during production! Making movies with great company is an incredible joy, something I hope never changes with every movie I make.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future?
I have several fun short ideas that I'll be doing throughout 2015. To keep updated, subscribe to youtube.com/joshuadjackson where I keep all my shorts and videos!
Any advice to filmmakers?
The best way to learn filmmaking is to make films. Just go out there and make stuff! Even if all you've got is a wimpy little phone camera, you can still practice visual storytelling and make entertaining content. Also watch Every Frame A Painting (https://www.youtube.com/user/everyframeapainting). You will instantly become a better filmmaker by doing so.