It wasn’t a big budget movie – in fact the set was made from old IKEA cast-offs – but University of Huddersfield students created an original science fiction short film made entirely on campus.
TRUST is a 10-minute film set on a malfunctioning starship where a technician, Boyd, wakes up and realises she has to bring the ship back under control before the forces of gravity kill her.
Written and directed by film and production technician Tom Phillips and made by a team of 19 students, THRUST is exciting and claustrophobic with elements of sci-fi classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien.
The film took a year to pull together with Tom and the students making up the cast and crew working on the project around their respective work and study commitments.
Filmed in the Patrick Stewart Film Studio at the university, the film set was, in Tom’s words “scrounged”, with disused IKEA panels and bits of old laptops and tablets being repurposed to give the single-room set a realistic ‘used future’ feel.
“The studio is essentially an empty room if you don’t use it, but as a big sci-fi fan I thought ‘let’s build a set in there’ and be really ambitious by doing a sci-fi film,” said Tom.
“It was to give the students a ‘hook’, and I felt that making it ambitious would help. Making it fairly simple would help as I was looking to ease them into this level of production, so that is why it is a single location and character.”
The cast and crew were recruited from courses both related directly to film making, and from areas that could have a direct input into making THRUST, such as costume design. Its sole human character, Boyd, is played by Aimee-Jo Evans who responded to an audition poster on campus.
“We put up posters for auditions to find an actor from Drama,” said Tom. “As one of the goals of the Yorkshire Film School here at the university is to bring together drama, film and other aspects of different departments to build a film.
“The part was originally written as male, but with Aimee, who was at the time a first-year performance for screen student, she totally nailed it. I had to rewrite the part because she really played with the script, even in the audition.
“The set was completely scrounged as there was no budget. We took lots of things that were due to be thrown away from IT, the wall panels are peg boards from IKEA. Building the set really gelled the students as a team.”
Tom has plans for another film as well as a sequel to THRUST that would involve more sets and more characters.
But THRUST has, he feels, given its cast and crew vital experience that will give them an excellent chance of breaking into the film and TV industry.
“It is a very competitive market when trying to get into the industry but if our students can leave with an official credit that is on IMDB, on a film that has got into festivals, then that gives them that extra feather in the cap,” he added.