Director Statement

Circus Girl is a short fantasy drama filmed on an iPhone SE. The concept was initially inspired by an initiative organized by Raindance via Twitter. The idea was to shoot a fifteen-second film on the theme of ‘Discovered’ or ‘Being Discovered’!

This is my second short film, and I wanted to work on a project in which I could involve my two daughters, a pre-teen and a teenager, who at the time were keen to act. Set on only two characters with minimal location, I wrote the script around the idea of a lonely teenager ‘discovering’ a mysterious dancing girl while alone in the woods.

I shot the scenes solo with my iPhone SE, with the actors/daughters on hand as occasional crew. The footage I had inspired me to further expand on the theme of discovery, so I set to shoot the new scenes the following weekend. Alas, a Circus had come to town and had set up its Big Top in the location I was going to shoot the scene. I rewrote the script to include the Circus. The lonely teenager became the Lollipop girl, who encounters a mysterious dancing Circus Girl.

Keeping the narrative light, colorful and spooky with a magical flair, I wanted the themes of loneliness and rejection in childhood to come through. Working around my day job and my daughters’ schedules extended production time. I was determined to complete the project, and although the girls aged by two years by the time the shoot resumed, I weaved the change in years into the narrative to show a short passage of time. The trees on location had also undergone a dramatic change. They had developed an ethereal quality, and their leaves, enhanced by the golden morning sun, glowed a bright green. I decided to use this lighting to complement the magical aspect of the narrative.

With no editing experience and no budget, I cut the film on my iPad while learning on the job using Lumafusion, an IOS multitrack video editor. Eventually, collaborating with another editor, Alastair Marshall, Circus Girl’s final cut was completed on Final Cut Pro.

Dana Pierre, Writer Director