Oyster is set to release 22nd of July, and here is everything we know about it!
Anoushka Sunil, director of the short film explains:“Oyster is a special project for me. It’s not just a film, but a reflection of my own journey towards self-discovery and self-expression. And I am so grateful for every moment of it”
Produced by Vrinda Purohit and Anoushka Sunil, Oyster takes us through 10 minutes of Lou, a poet and housewife attempting to find liberation from her life in a loveless marriage.
The character-driven drama started as an emotional outlet for Anoushka, “As I poured my heart and soul into the script, I could feel myself healing, little by little.” Anoushka explained that writing became a solace, and writing characters that shared her struggles gave her a sense of purpose.
Eventually being selected to be produced at Middlesex University, the film gets its namesake from the phrase ‘the world is your oyster’. The phrase represents the idea of going anywhere you want or doing anything you want in life; this is the essence of Lou’s aspirations in the film.
The leading couple also share a scene featuring a dinner of oysters. “I liked the fact that the title had two relevant meanings to it.”
The film’s production took place over three tightly-packed days. “Given the time constraint, pulling off a very emotion-driven film was demanding,” explained Anoushka. The team had just two weeks to design the shot list, make the lighting plan, scout locations, acquire props and costumes, and find the perfect cast.
Characters in the film
Carlo Fanini, who plays Finley, the leading man, stated “I would say that the biggest takeaway for me was sharing the laughter with all the crew during those days. Watching them working as a group and being there for one another really made me proud of being part of this short film.”
“One of the biggest challenges I faced while making this film was staging and blocking the most emotionally charged scene. With so little time, it was daunting to visualize and communicate my ideas to the cast,” said Anoushka.
“A lot is conveyed through her body movements and facial expressions, rather than dialogue. So to communicate that with the audience takes a lot of subtlety, both from myself, the director, and the DOP,” said Kirin Hilliar who plays the leading lady, Lou.
Despite these challenges, Anoushka and the DOP, Ward Abdullah, along with the cast and crew were determined to make a visually and emotionally impactful film.
“I still recall the first night after wrapping up the shoot for Oyster. As my exhausted crew and I gathered in our hotel room, huddled around a kettle to make some instant noodles after a gruelling 13-hour shoot, it hit me: this was happening,” said Anoushka on a memorable moment in the production.
The dynamic between Lou and Finley is also central to the film, being an emotionally driven film, it was up to Hilliar and Fanini to expunge the subtlety needed for the performances to work. “The dance scene between Lou and Finley was a fun and light break from the other scenes, which were more emotionally intense. Improvising dance sequences with my co-star Carlo was a unique way for us to connect as actors,” said Hilliar.
On Finley, Fanini commented “He cannot see what’s going on around him because he is too focused on the sound of his own engine,” he also stated that the biggest challenge in playing this character was trying to sound ambitious and confident, which is converse to his personality.
Anoushka also commented that Lou’s character was loosely based on her mother, “My mom has been my eternal muse. She has always steered me in the right direction… A misunderstood artist who dwells in her solitude. So, I guess, this is also a thank you to her.”