Hotshot painter Dylan Cooper throws a party after a first triumphant gallery showing of his work. Many people have come to celebrate his success, but Dylan only has eye for one; his muse and lover, Alice.
While admiring her beauty he starts experiencing blurred vision. He tries blinking, but slowly dark spots appear in his sight. Dylan starts to panic and soon realizes his worst nightmare is becoming a reality... he’s losing his eyesight.
Director Biography - John Baak
From a young age, John knew there was only one thing he’d want to do for the rest of his life; tell stories through film. The first step wasn’t a great success; turns out going to University isn’t the way to get experience actually MAKING movies. So after graduating as Bachelor of Theatre-, Film- and Television Sciences he tried his luck with the downstairs neighbours; he moved to Belgium. At Film School in Brussels John learned the tricks of the trade and tried his luck at different genres to keep challenging himself. So in the four years he attended Luca School of Arts he wrote and directed romantic drama, thriller, horror and comedy shorts. In the meantime he also took up jobs as a lighting assistant, gaffer, 1st AD and Script Supervisor to expand his horizons and get to know everything there is to know about making movies. This has led him to develop a directorial style which focusses on assimilating the technical and narrative aspects to create an experience that uses visual appeal to enhance the story telling and vice versa. With a love for improvisation and giving actors the freedom to add to their characters he now embarks on a quest to tell more (preferably horror-) stories about people who find themselves in a tough spot after a life-changing event. This then is the question that drives and interests him; how do people cope with hardship and life altering choices?
The idea for Sense has it’s origins in a question someone asked me some time ago: ‘what would you do if one day you’d go blind?’. With a lifetime dream of becoming a storyteller through film I couldn’t even image what it would be like to lose my eyesight. Still, if I did go blind one day, I’d still be able to write stories and even though I couldn’t actually see the finished product, I’d still be able to listen and use my imagination instead. But what about someone whose whole life is all about the visual? What about a painter? Without the ability to see what he’s painting, what colour he’s using, what lines and shapes make up the composition; how does one cope? This question offcourse has many answers, as it is in man’s nature to look for solutions and make the most out of bad situations (at least for most of us) in whatever way possible. The answer I finally chose (after many a draft) fit well into the classic ‘Hollywood mould’ of storytelling; a relatively linear (and ‘slow’) progression of the narrative with a heavy emphasis on avoiding confusion in the audience. This though – after a lot of debate with gallons of beer and coffee consumed - turned out to be the wrong way to go with Sense. It’s a story about losing the one thing you treasure most in life (or thinks so) and for the audience to truly sympathize with Dylan’s struggle it needed to be told in a less direct – less conventional if you will – way. So out went the sappy end scene and the obligatory trip to the doctor, to be replaced by a less linear way of storytelling with a heavy emphasis on the visual experience. This made it into a tale told through emotion, rather than rationale, which it was always meant to be. Coupled with the touching score by composer Adriaan Swerts, which adds so much to the images without drawing attention to itself, this makes for a sensory ride alongside a character which is not always likeable, but at the least relatable. It may be too much to call it cathartic, but if at the least the viewer enjoys a few seconds of reflection when the credits roll, it’s a triumph.
John Baak Director For Rent (2012), Shadowplay (2013)
John Baak Writer For Rent (2012), Shadowplay (2013)
Eli Thorne Key Cast
Relinde de Graaff Key Cast
Project Type: Short, Student
Genres: Drama, Romance
Runtime: 10 minutes 6 seconds
Completion Date: July 29, 2014
Production Budget: 2,500 EUR
Country of Origin: Netherlands
Country of Filming: Belgium, Netherlands
Shooting Format: Apple ProRes 422
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Film Color: Color
First-time Filmmaker: Yes
Student Project: Yes