Killing Him Softly – A Short Film by Shaun Soutar

On Tuesday, February 27,  Films by the Falls audiences will be treated to a special showing of a short film made by a high school student at FFSS, as part of the Film Circuit’s short film series, which runs before each feature this season. The Town Crier was able to interview Shaun Soutar about his one-minute short film called “Killing Him Softly.”

image1Town Crier: Tell us a bit about yourself. What grade are you in at FFSS?

Shaun Soutar: My name is Shaun Soutar, I am 16 years old (I’ll be 17 March 10th!), and I am in grade 11. The title of my short film is “Killing Him Softly.”

TC: When did you start working on this short film? How long did it take you to make it?

SS: I started working on this short film in September of this school year as part of an assignment for my drama class. The goal of the project was to create an effective short film that was exactly 1 minute in length. Initially, I had a completely different idea for the film, and actually shot some footage with different actors. However, I realized the weekend before the film was due that I didn’t have enough footage to create the film that I had originally envisioned. This left me in a familiar bind; with only a weekend left to complete a school project. Although, I believe this actually worked out for the best, as I find I do my best work when I’m under the pressure of a deadline. Therefore, the planning, staging, and filming of this short film actually happened all in one weekend.

TC: Wow! That must have been one full weekend. What inspired you to make this film?

SS: My inspiration stemmed from my passion for human rights, and, more specifically, from my interest in struggles that the LGBTQ+ community faces in society. From this, I decided that I wanted to tell a simple story that highlighted the life of a young transgender person, a perspective we do not often get to see in mainstream media. Of course, I had to convey this story in only 60 seconds, which put an extreme limit on the complexity of the plot. This forced me to really strip my vision down to its bare essentials, so that my message would be clearly portrayed. For this reason, I decided to not include any spoken dialogue in my film, as this would likely prove ineffective and time consuming. Instead, I was forced to rely completely on visual communication to tell my story. I would like to think this makes my film more interesting, as it is up to the viewer to piece together the message for themselves.

"Killing Him Softly", a short film by Shaun Soutar

“Killing Him Softly,” a short film by Shaun Soutar

TC: What message or feeling do you hope to convey to the audience when it’s over?

SS: Overall, I designed the film as a brief, but intimate, look into the life of a transgender teen who is facing a major decision in their life. I hope that my film will make audiences really think about what they’ve seen, and I hope that they can appreciate the struggle I have tried to depict. More importantly however, I hope that they feel compelled to go out into the world with a new perspective of people quite unlike themselves, and to recognize these people for their amazing bravery. In this way, I hope that this community will be able to see the LGBTQ+ community in a new, accepting light, as it is really up to all of us to create a world that everyone feels comfortable living in.

TC: What are your future plans? Do you hope to go into filmmaking? What’s next now that this short film is complete?

SS: After highschool I want to pursue my passion of filmmaking at university, and, though I won’t be graduating for another year, I am already looking at possible programs I might want to enroll in. For now however, I am going to continue focusing on my studies, though I will certainly continue making films. I feel I have learned a lot from making this film, both technically and artistically, and I would like to apply these new skills to my next project (whatever that may be). In the future, I would like to try making a longer, more complex short film that really showcases what I’ve learned. At the very least, I can aim for a film that’s longer than 60 seconds.

TC: Wow, that’s great! You are off to a great start with a wide audience at the next Films by the Falls showing. Thanks so much for your time Shaun, and we look forward to seeing “Killing Him Softly” followed by a Q&A with you on Tuesday, February 27th.

SS: :)

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