Published: 01/03/2018 08:55 - Updated: 26/02/2018 14:12

Feature shot in Findhorn premieres in Berlin


Film still
Most of the scenes were shot on the Altyre estate.
A FILM inspired by clockwork figures in Findhorn and shot locally has premiered in Berlin.


Writer and director, Ella Brolly’s feature ‘Automaton’ was selected from more than 3000 global entrants, to screen at the Lift-Off film festival this month.

Entrees are scored by the attending audience, where the winners are potentially screened at any of the ten proceeding Lift-Off global events, with the ultimate aim of giving filmmakers exposure possible as they start-out in the film industry.

Ella (23) said: “Screening at Lift-Off Berlin is huge – it’s our first short film, let alone international festival! It’s great to be a part of an institution that really supports entry level filmmakers.”

Ella grew up in Fogwatt until leaving to study Media and Communications at Goldsmiths University, London where she majored in Fiction Film after four year’s study.

During her younger years, she often visited her best friend Maud Start, whose parents Michael and Maria restored and made antique and modern mechanisms at The House of Automata workshop in Findhorn.

“I spent a lot of time there,” said Ella. “Michael and Maria would show me their latest mind-bogglingly fantastic projects. I grew up constantly in awe of these clockwork wonders so, when it came to creating my own film, it’s no wonder I was drawn to them. Their nature and unique quality lends itself effortlessly to cinema.

“I remember watching a clockwork monkey lift and smoke a cigarette down to its end and that was it: I was hooked!” Ella proposed to use automaton in her final course project at Goldsmiths.

Automaton was cosequently shot around Moray including the Start’s workshop in Altyre and also on the Findhorn sand dunes.

“I wanted to capture some of the beautiful surroundings I’d grown up in,” said Ella. “The Starts were incredibly helpful. They opened their doors to our university film crew, something they would never have done normally as their collection is so valuable with many rare and delicate pieces.

“They also assisted us during the shoot, helping to set up different pieces. The film would not have been possible without them.”

Ella’s film is her attempt at bottling “the magic of automata”, while exploring love, loss and forgiveness.

The lead character returns to her father’s workshop after his death, rediscovering the man via his tape recordings and machines.

“The premiere was a very relaxed and inclusive experience,” said Ella. “People considered each other as creative equals and it was a great space to get together and discuss short film which we all felt very passionate about. “It’s nerve wracking, having something so personal shown to an audience of strangers for the first time, but a massive rush to hear the feedback.”

Ella has settled down in North London but hopes to enter Automaton in more festivals including in at home.

“There’s a growing scene for indie film in Scotland,” she said. “I’d love to contribute to celebrating that.”

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