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Sophie’s Fortune: Review and Director Q & A

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There is a new sort of short film in town and it goes by the name ‘Sophie’s Fortune’.

Filmed entirely in the UK and directed by emerging filmmaker Chris Cronin and produced by Phil Meachem, this action packed 28 minute project will soon be making its self known via the festival circuit.

The film opens with a lovely mix of birthday chaos and parental angst, set in a picturesque forest like setting. Young Sophie finds herself distraught as her father is absent due to work commitments and is replaced by her apprehensive yet loving uncle Brendan. One of the first things that grabs the viewers attention is the high-end production quality, the images are sharp while the cinematography is a well-framed and crisp – rich in colour and imagery.

The opening scene is one of complete comic relief as we see sugar-high children wrestling their weary parents, and evading discipline – it’s clear form the get-go that the kids are in control. Shortly, thereafter the annual main event is announced launched by the compelling tagline of “Who amongst you is brave enough.” We see worn out fathers gather round with sudden interest, for what is to be their moment of reprieve – the father only treasure hunt. The pace of the film shifts dramatically as they set-off in a frenzy running through the woods each in individual pursuit of the ultimate treasure. As the men make their way through the thick bush, it becomes evident that there is something very different about this hunt, something clearly magical. Brendan, finds himself face to face with assassins, hell-bent on preventing his victory. Armed with determination and a hand gun, he fights his way through the barrage of assaults that pursue him at every turn.

Equipped with a tattered map we see each of the men make their way through booby trapped terrain, all the while battling an onslaught of deadly ninjas and dodging a hail of gunfire. They must each prove their worthiness, sporting their skills as adventurer’s of the utmost. The transformation from tolerant father’s to blood thirsty killer’s proves to be highly entertaining.

Things go awry for Brendan after he is ambushed by another competitor and forced to navigate through a cave of peril in search of the next clue. In what resembles a scene from Indiana Jones, the two men battle for the key that will lead to the treasure.

The final showdown between competitors becomes the thing of legend- this epic action sequence is complete with rocket launchers and full-on western style shoot-outs – leaving you at the edge of your seat. The special FX in this short film are nothing short of stellar – all the more spectacular considering the film was made on a shoe-string budget. ‘Sophie’s Fortune’ proves that high-octane action and comic reprieve can be combined with stunning success.

Sophie’s Fortune – The Treasure of Quetzalcoatl (Short Film Trailer) from Genesis Flux on Vimeo.

Director Chris Cronin, sat down with Live for Films for a deeper look into what it took to bring ‘Sophie’s Fortune’ to life.

How did Sophie´s Fortune come to be?

It was totally film exploration on a large scale. We had just finished a one room thriller that everyone really liked and it won a few festivals and it ticked all the boxes that you would expect from short films. I’ve done shorts for a few years now and I’ve really got to the point where I want to explore something a little different and not what is expected from me. The majority of film festivals have a criteria that ‘Sophie’s Fortune’ just doesn’t meet. I find that incredibly freeing as a creative. The aim of ‘Sophie’s Fortune’ is to take that big scale adventure movie we see from legends such as Steven Spielberg and combine it with the short film format, with no money.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during filming?

It’s hard to maintain such a clear vision on this scale when there are so many limitations with the low budget. You want to put the camera in a certain position but you can’t do it without a crane, which I suppose keeps you grounded and helps you find more innovative ways to shoot but it was sometimes tough. Sometimes you’re able to recreate what you can see on big budgets and you’re like “nailed it” so I definitely saw it as fun more than challenging. Also, when I say low budget it was still expensive getting such a large cast to show up for 2 days, at different locations. That was probably the most difficult challenge, getting us all there to these remote places and making sure everyone is comfortable. Other than that, I think it’s just convincing everyone to show up on the same day.

Weather is a real bitch too. Supposedly we shot during the wettest summer in the last hundred years for Britain…

How did you go about choosing the locations?

The whole concept really came from looking at UK Urban Explorers photography online. Some of the location these guys go to are real hidden gems and look like a set built for a ‘Raiders’ movie. The woodland locations were simply at the back of a pub in Leeds and the big castle scene was set in Bolton at Rivington Castle. Its strange how much you can use around you.

What is your favourite scene in the film?

I’m particularly happy with the Father transformation scene as the music and cinematography really push it. At this point in the film we transform from the real world to the fantasy world which amps up the adventure side of things. It was the first moment where we get a sense of cinema magic in the film and I believe this is due to the editing and Carlos Rubio’s musical score which really comes together as the characters transform into heroes. One of my fondest moments of filming is this scene as we have all the different actors running through the woods and they all had different personalities. To me it was just the funniest experience I had on set.

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