Alun D Pughe - Dark Static

Bill Cummings 16/05/2007

Watch the new feature “Dark Static” from brilliant, award winning young filmmaker Alun D Pughe. Woken by the relentless ringing of a telephone a girl finds herself in a dark nightmare of white noise and haunting whispers, find out the secret that lies behind the static.

Last week as part of the Moviemaker series of screenings (that gives up and coming filmmakers in Wales a visual platform), I witnessed Alun D Pughe's new short film “Dark Static” at Chapter Arts center in Cardiff. The Mid Walian born filmmaker is well known to me as the man whom after his graduation from the University of Wales immediately won a JVC Digital Video Award in June 2005 for his first short film, “The Girl, The Gun and The Desert” went onto pick up the Best Film Noir 2006 at Swansea Bay International Film Festival.

His new piece “Dark Static” is a striking experimental, chiller set in a darkened house in England, the loose plot surrounds a troubled young female who is awoken at 2.15 am by an restlessly ringing telephone, making her way through the darkened house to the kitchen. Though there is no response when she picks up the phone moments later the ringing begins again. Throughout there is an unsettling feeling as the sparse dialogue, uncomfortable camera angles and unusual crackling sounds suggest something sinister is about to occur. These fears are confirmed when the white noise quietly whisper from the receiver before strange voices and ultimately a horrific secret is revealed.

“Dark Static” has been compared to the early dark uncomfortable psychological pieces of maverick genius David Lynch (Erazerhead et al), and combines Alun's obvious flair for unusual cinematography with his excellent use of aural landscapes to create an eerie mood (possibly something he's developed over the past few years producing music promos for the likes of South Wales based alternative rock act The StopMotion Men). It's a testament to the passion of up and coming directors and their modest cast and crew, that low budget films like “Dark Static” even get made. The advent of digital technology has allowed film makers like Alun, and other rising digi-wave film makers who have had their pieces screened at venues like the “Moviemaker” to explore their art form in increasingly personal and interesting ways. This way more experimental works have emerged, moving away from the set format of narrative-plot-characters, these non linear, experimental films such as “Dark Static” use imagery, suggestion, and sound to create moods and feelings within an audience, hinting at a dark psychological underbelly that lies beneath the surface, delving deep into the sub-consciousness of the characters, rather than Hollywood's tendency for serving up a set of tired old characters and clichéd plotlines.

Alun talks about the making of his new latest work to GIITTV:

“DARK STATIC was shot over two days in October 2006 on a zero budget using a DVX100 mini DV camera. Because I'd just moved house from Wales to England I hadn't yet made any contacts and so the film was planned with this in mind. Thus the main characters were both written for Rachel (his fiancé and star) and all scenes storyboarded with our new house as the location.”

After the first day of shooting Alun realized the size of his task and roped in All Star Friends regular Gareth Ward to help him complete the piece:

“His input was, as always, vital to the quality of the final piece and due to the amount of work that he put in I also credited him with a producer title.” He also pays special tribute to his lead Actress: “Rachel Logan who, after working a whole day as a store manager, would come home and run around in her pants all night in the name of art!”

Watch Dark Static below:

ITV Short Films- Dark Static


For those without a DivX player then download it for free here: http://www.divx.com/divx/windows/download/index.php