This brought to life an image of a character carrying a large sack of possessions through a barren landscape, struggling with the burden of their past- the character of Athena. At this time I immediately began to take this character to develop the narrative themes of what would become The Weight of Our Travels.
The story would focus on the internal conflict of Athena, questioning why the need to hold on so tight to her collection of memories when they will only dissapear at the end of her journey. A chance encounter with a stranger begins to shift her perception and as the story unfolds, Athena gains clarity into the importance of her struggle. At this stage I felt the treatment, though progressing, lacked urgency.
After a period of months I had developed a treatment that would outline the first draft of the story. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘The Little Prince’ was highly influencial in shaping the film. I aimed to capture the essence of a children’s story, with a simple core theme exploring memory and loss.
I chose to shoot the film on the fells not far from where I was raised. The ruggedness of the landscape felt allegorical to the character of Athena; an individual the end of her life, worn both physically and mentally by time. Athena’s carrier, a visual representation of her collection of memories, was imagined as a large hessian sack that brought back memories of farm life as a child. Artist Tan Napat Kositipat had worked on the first set of illustrations for the film to use to pitch the idea effectively to interested parties.
Not long after we began advertising the roles, we discovered performance artist Mandy Roberts and reached out to her. Mandy came from a contemporary arts background and immediately connected with the character Athena. I believed the physicality she put into her work would lend itself well to what was required for the role. We met to speak about the project soon after, discussing the mind of Athena and personal accounts we could both find relatable to her psyche. The next day Mandy was cast.
The initial edit began not long after production had concluded. James and myself trawled through all the footage available and began to play with the footage. Initially we weren’t looking to piece together narrative structure, but instead find moving images that would emotionally heighten the story for when the first rough cut began.
As the cut began to progress so the story evolved. It was decided that there was potential to explore Athena’s younger life a little further and In January of 2018 James, Alan and myself filmed pickups to complete the visual information needed to lock the cut.
In March James and myself spent three days recording sound that would become essential to the film. We experimented a lot in order to find certain sounds we needed. One example being slowly tapping my cars roof in order to capture the footsteps before the forgotten approach.
The final cut was locked in July 2018. The footage was sent over to Mark Stokes (The Bearded Editor) to be graded, then onto Rob Foster for a final sound mix. Over the next few months I would be able to work with both when possible in order to get the film looking and sounding as good as possible. Finally in January 2019 the picture was locked and ready for the festival circuit.