“When we set out to produce PIROUETTE we knew that we wanted the film to be a supernatural horror that was a slow burn and didn’t rely on certain cliches like jump-scares, blue tones, or cinematic music.
The short is a simple haunted object story that drives the narrative through sound. We hope that you experience a lasting linger rather than a fleeting jump scare.”
- Peter David Howard & Glenn Delaney
Coming from a heavily commercial media and advertising background, PIROUETTE has been the first creative project I have undertaken since some smaller community television projects in 2016. Filming over two days on location in Melbourne was an exciting challenge and it was a pleasure working with the cast and crew onset. Whilst we were very pleased with the end result, PIROUETTE provided some significant learnings that I can imagine Pete and I will inevitably take onboard for future projects.
I think a lot of great horrors that stay with you have a common item that connects with the audience. Like the old antique mirror from Oculus, the VHS tape from The Ring, or the puzzle box from Hellraiser. When Glenn and I were brainstorming concepts, I started to think about key items from my childhood. My youngest sister had a ballerina box that always seemed to be chiming. We thought, what a great concept for a film, as, to our knowledge, it hadn't been explored in horror before, except for a brief appearance in Cabin In The Woods.
We wanted to organise the ballerina first so we could move on to costume and makeup. We actually had a great turnout, there were circus contortionists to professional ballet dancers, it was a lot of fun. Hannah was unmatched, during the audition she screamed menacingly into the camera and it was clear to Pete and I that she was the best choice for the role. Additionally, she had previous experience in ballet and could elongate her neck which was perfect for the surreal yet elegant look we were going for. Ani was the obvious choice, she arrived dressed as her character and we ran through the paralysis scene. The expression of fear in her eyes sealed the deal.
Peter David Howard:
As rotation is a big theme of the film we wanted that to be present in the audio, with a big focus on man - made sounds, as the ballerina box is a constructed object. Originally, the film was to only include Ani’s audio and heavily rely on sound effects with the cello piece at the end. On a whim, I reached out to Judith Hamann, an experimental cellist, based in Melbourne.Judith was(and still is) in lockdown in Berlin but mentioned that her friend had a studio, and agreed to perform the end piece. I asked her if she was feeling charitable if she wouldn’t mind recording some improvisational sounds to the film. The recordings were incredible and we had to include them.
Presently working within the banking sector and operating a small business, given the challenges presented by COVID in 2020, I will likely undertake another project by 2023.
Peter David Howard:
We'll be continuing our festival run until Halloween, at that point, we will most likely distribute online via a horror media channel.
At the moment I'm promoting our short, developing the website, and organising funding to collaborate with screenwriter Emily Komiyama to explore the ballerina concept further.