'SAFE' (Directed by Aleah Scott)


Safe’ (directed by Aleah Scott) won Best Micro Short (supported by BFI Network) at the BFI Future Film Festival 2023. Aleah is a huge talent and deserves the recognition. We met in 2020 and she shared the idea for ‘Safe’. A horrific video of an attempted abduction of a girl in Mitcham had gone viral in the days before. The idea of being able to create something that could raise awareness about the issue of young womens’ safety was a big motivating factor. Along with the fact that I loved Aleah’s previous film, ‘The Art of Baking’.

In support of Aleah’s core idea to juxtapose the image with sound, I proposed that we aim to represent the innocence, excitement and fun of a child’s teenage years with the images. I wrote in prep: “The look of the film should evoke feelings of innocence, naivety, nostalgia and happiness. We will create bright scenes with dreamy lighting and saturated, warm colours representative of a child’s excitement at discovering the world. We can use spontaneous and energetic handheld camera movement in exterior scenes where the girls are running or having fun and more static or slow moving/fluid camera movement can be present in more calm scenes, such as with the kids eating, playing or reading at home. Wide angle lenses can represent the open possibilities of a child’s emerging years.”

We planned to shoot a mix of digital and Super 8, which would add texture and draw the viewer in with a strong nostalgic element. We shot on Kodak Super 8 200T, developed and scanned by On8Mil. It ended up being crucial to the success of the edit. We looked at frames from Fish Tank, Bend It Like Beckham, Rocks and The Last Black Man In San Francisco amongst other things. The digital footage was shot on the camera I owned at the time, a Sony FS72, paired with my Contax Zeiss lenses. I think we used the 35mm f1.4 wide open for 75% of the shoot. Paired with a speedbooster and 1/8 black pro mist it gave us the dreamy, wide-ish perspective we were after.

Previously on Nowness and GiF, the full film now lives on BFI YouTube. Go watch it!

Colourist: Marty Webb; Editor: Lx; Music: Hani Hooper