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Interview with Daniel Gray, director of HIDE

Friday 29 January 2021, by Brasserie du Court team, Clotilde Couturier

Why were you interested in the hide-and-seek game as a starting point?

The game of hide-and-seek didn’t really come first. I was muddling about with some ideas to do with my situation of moving from my home country, and all the different types of buildings and faces I saw around me, and I took a piece of one of these stories and focused on that, because it felt like it was doing what I wanted it to do with the emotions I wanted to conjure in an audience. That was the game of hide-and-seek.

How much are you interested in parent-child relationships, and do you have further projects on this theme?

The parent-child relationship in the film was necessary because the feelings I’m trying to address are about myself and my parents primarily, although in a broader way it’s also about all things home, too. My next short has home as a theme in it, but more as an environment and persons filling it in a particular way.

Is your hidden character more a watchman, a peeper or an onlooker?

He’s neither looking after anyone nor a voyeur; I think onlooker is probably more apt. Initially he looks out to see if he’s been seen, but as the story goes on his passivity and inability to move become more overt. So he begins as a participant, as part of the thing outside the cupboard. A player, but as the story goes on he’s transformed into something other. He becomes trapped outside of the family even though he’s in the room.

In your first intentions, was the seeker a friend or a brother of the hidden character or was he a projection of himself? Did you play with the double reading on purpose?

He’s meant to loosely be a projection, more tonal like a shadow, perhaps. What actually happens to the brothers is actually the same thing: they leave. The perspectives are different, and it’s the hider’s story in this case.

How often do games inspire you when you consider making a film, and do you have further projects with this approach?

I really enjoy game theory, and when I’m planning a film, in the back of my mind I kind of have the idea that I’m playing a game with an audience, trying to guide them gently though the emotions while they’re trapped in a theatre with it. Although maybe you mean will I make more films about schoolyard games? Maybe one day; they have a knack for mirroring adult life with their characters and rules. 😀

What do you think the future holds for short films?

I think short films have a big future still, but discovering them is difficult. People tend to look for things they know. I think short films are good in the way that they can surprise, and they’re short enough that it’s not too terrible to sit through one you don’t like. 😀 For me, the future of short film should involve curation. You’d have someone who’s known curate a block of five or six films and there’d be surprises in there, films you wouldn’t normally seek out. It happens like that at festivals, but when you’re at home with access to the entire Internet, things get lost and it all becomes a bit muddy. So yeah, curation.

If we were to go back into lockdown, what cultural delights would you recommend to alleviate our boredom?

Hmmm, well, I got stuck in isolation for two weeks when the first wave came upon us. I spent time making silly tunes and seeing how long I could plank for.

HIDE is part of Lab Competition L2.

Any message or comments?


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