Bursting with colour, entrancingly bizarre and oddly relatable, 985 Days from directing twosome Clim and Jade de Robles follows the surreal evolution of two women’s relationship as it mutates from friends, to housemates, to strangers. A delightfully succinct distillation of how our closest friends have the unique power to get under our skin, DN invited Clim and Jade to explain how they found the fun in falling out.
Where did the inspiration for this playful frenemies story come from?
We both agreed that a personal project needed to be just this, personal. We began by talking about our own experiences and situations to do with love, friends, sex, education, etc. This led us to six personal stories which we began to read to each other. In the end, we decided on one story and decided to adjust it and improve it into something more generic.
This particular story came from one of our own personal experiences however, we wanted to bring it to a wider audience by telling it from a surreal point of view, with funny and ironic moments that would make anyone feel related to it and not just us.
The the women’s gripes and interactions are presented in a charmingly surreal manner, how did you conceive the visual gags and then gage how far you could push things?
In the beginning we had actually contemplated a series of scenes which were very much more neutral and realistic. After a few readings and brainstorms we decided to take the scenes and exaggerate them into a surreal world which would, at times, not make sense.
We both agreed that a personal project needed to be just this, personal.
As we both come from the creative arts and advertising, we are used to looking for visual metaphors, to thinking visually, and to narrating abstract concepts. This was the core creative process, bouncing ideas off of each other and making crazy ideas tangible pieces of writing.
The initial script was much longer than the current one. The more we read it to each other the more we realised that in order for it to be surreal and ironic, we needed to make it short and snappy, more to the point and more direct.
Noemi Blasco and Sarah Helve’s performances provide a great grounding for the surreal world they inhabit. What cues did you provide them with before and during the shoot to tune their respective deliveries?
First of all we had an informal meeting with both of the girls to discuss the project and to get them excited for it. The funny thing is that both Noemi and Sarah have similar particularities to the characters in real life, and we saw this as a great sign.
During the shoot we tried to recreate and show them how deep they could go into their characters by helping with certain sentences and phrases such as the word “bitch”. We also described the feelings that each character was experiencing in every scene, like how angry Noemi needed to be when grabbing the remote control for the exercise scene. As everything was very well described and studied in terms of the storyboard and animatic, the direction was very concise and precise in terms of actions and expressions. We took different takes of the scene in order to give them the freedom to act and to find the expression within each character.
How did the two of you split directorial duties throughout the project?
Jade had more experience in writing which meant she took on more of the weight of sharpening and finishing the script where as Clim had more experience in live action and direction of adverts so he took on more of the weight on the day of filming. However we both had equal parts in the creative process before, during and after. Clim was more in charge of post production after the filming.
Set design and costume both have starring roles in this film, what guided the bold colour combinations and overall look of 985 Days?
As we both come from graphic design, we wanted the aesthetics of the film to be an important part and to really stand out. We were both in charge of set design, defining the props, colours, fabrics, hair styles, make-up and overall look and feel. We tried to work with professionals in the field of art direction and set design such as Ferran Capo, who really helped us to project our ideas into tangible props, accessories and beautiful sets. We also had two stylists who helped with matching and picking out specific outfits that would match the overall colour and aesthetics.
I enjoyed how the light, carefree score is punctuated by these bursts of discordant piano. What were your considerations when creating the soundtrack?
Clim had previously worked with Alex Candela on different projects and we had a clear idea in our minds of what we wanted and we showed him references. However, it was very important for us that as this was a collaboration, to give him the biggest creative freedom possible so that he could put his own touch on it and make it his, too.
We knew very clearly from the start that we wanted this piece to have changes in rhythm and pace and even with silences to put an emphasis on their distinct roles and situations unfolding in the film. We also wanted the music to lighten up the pace so as to make some of the moments more ironic. For example, the ending which potentially leaves on a negative note, ends with an upbeat musical rhythm leaving the viewer feeling jovial.
For us it was also very important to pay attention to the design of the sound, and not just the overall music. You can see that it is very sound design driven with special attention to detail on certain objects, moments, actions and expressions.
What will we see from you next?
Right now we are in very different moments, with Jade now living in London and Clim in Barcelona it geographically makes it a bit difficult to collaborate on new projects together, however, the experience was such an exciting adventure and a positive learning experience that we will work together in the not too distant future. As this was a self produced personal project, this means that we have to both focus on professional commissions so that we can take the time to work on personal projects again in the future.