ABOUT The Film
WHen director Martin Salter first approached the writer sara maitland about a collaboration on a film about silence it was very much with an open mind. How would it be possible to present the impact of silence on an individual in retreat? Was it possible or even worth pursuing? There were two key points which sara immediately highlighted. The experience should be one the protagonist has chosen rather than had imposed on her and there should be no suggestion that silent retreat sends you mad. If we stuck to this then all would be well. Casting the actress to play the lead was an easy choice. kate lush was chosen for her ability to hold an audience entirely with her presence having trained as a specialist in physical theatre. the audience was going have to be interested in watching what the character does next, to really believe they were watching a 40 day retreat unravelling in front of their eyes and to suspend disbelief fully to accept that what was happening was authentic. having gathered together a crew kate, sara and martin headed to a remote scottish retreat house which was fully off grid. no electricity, no mobile signal and gas powered lighting and fridge. In a three week shoot the film came together in a series of improvised scenes based on sara's own experience of silence. The character's background story as a war photographer seeking silence and solace from the trauma's she had suffered was developed as the reason for her withdrawal and additional dream sequences were created to reflect her inner turmoil. the scottish weather was kind - it gave us everything we needed from clear skies to unrelenting downpours. the result is a film which is intended to act upon the audience in a slow meditation, leaving the viewer transformed by the silence. It was a risk. It paid off.