"Anna" tells the story of a woman’s struggle with grief as a result of a miscarriage and an unhappy marriage. Anna, the protagonist, lives with her husband Daniel in a secluded older stone house at the end of a dark dirt road. There is not another house for miles and a lush, dark forest engulfs the home on all sides. Daniel works long hours in a high-level position in a very social university setting while Anna is left home alone, physically and emotionally cut off from the rest of civilization.
Daniel is a dominant, controlling partner with a very narrow and over simplistic idea of how his wife should behave and express her complex emotions –especially while grieving. Daniel essentially domesticates Anna; he tells her how she should be feeling instead of trying to understand how she is actually feeling.
Daniel’s view of how Anna is supposed to be grieving is challenged as her behaviour at home becomes increasingly more bizarre and animalistic. At night, while Daniel is sleeping, she is visited by a large wolf that beckons her to retreat deep into the forest behind her house. In the forest, Anna and the wolf share an embrace –an otherworldly exchange, which triggers Anna’s gradual metamorphosis into a new physical form, unfettered by the grief and anxiety felt through living a life as a caged animal.
The idea for "Anna" grew from an interest I have in Navajo skin-walker mythology. The legend tells of a human being with the ability to transform into any animal he or she desires, at his or her whim. According to Navajo legend, a person becomes a skin-walker to take the form of an animal possessing physical abilities that are unattainable in the human form.
"Anna" takes at its core this skin-walker theme only with the individual shedding severe grief, anxiety, depression and an intense feeling of powerlessness by becoming an emotional and psychological shapeshifter of sorts. Personal reinvention takes many forms. In Anna, pain and suffering is shed through combined physical and emotional metamorphoses when grief, anxiety and hopelessness manifest into a new transcendent form.
I see "Anna" as a method for exploring and understanding my own strengths and weaknesses; I have simply projected these onto Anna and Daniel, so in turn, there is a part of me in each character. With "Anna," I am interested in depicting a menacing feeling that has been hanging around my head for years. Hopefully this film will bring me one step closer to letting that feeling go.
"Anna" will go to camera mid-June 2014. The film will be shot on the RED Scarlet-X-Mysterium-X digital cinema camera with Arri Ultra Prime lenses. While this exceptional state of the art shooting package will no doubt provide the production with the technology needed to capture highly polished visuals, a dedicated and extremely talented crew of students from Scotland and around the world will be at the helm to bring "Anna" to life.
Christian MacDonald is originally from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. His short film, When You’re Gone (2012), premiered as an official selection at the 32nd Atlantic Film Festival and was an official selection at the 11th Annual Route 66 International Film Festival. When You're Gone has also aired on national broadcast television in Canada.
Christian resides in Edinburgh, Scotland where he is enrolled on the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Film Directing program at the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate School, University of Edinburgh.
• BFA, Film Production, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University (NSCAD University), 2012
• BA, Anthropology/Sociology, Cape Breton University, 2007
Your generous support will directly fund "Anna" from pre-production to post-production and the eventual distribution of the film to international film festivals. Completing a short film is a rewarding but very expensive endeavour and with your help we will be able to cover the costs associated with hiring specialized camera and lighting equipment; securing locations; providing transportation, accommodation and craft services and ensuring the health and safety of the cast and crew on set.
Risks and challenges
Shooting a film can be very challenging and is rarely without its risks. The crew on "Anna," however, are more than equipped to handle any obstacles that may arise during the production. The extensive training and support provided by the Edinburgh College of Art and Napier University, under Screen Academy Scotland, will keep the cast and crew safe whether shooting in a cozy cottage or remote forest.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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