They say that inspiration can strike from anywhere and Dominic Hicks’ darkly comic anthology short Amazonia certainly proves that point. A triptych of twisted tales about alienation and obsession based on real amazon.com reviews, Hicks explains how he lifted the veil of online persona to reveal the darker side of human behaviour hidden behind the manicured versions of ourselves we present to the world.

A few years ago I became interested in Amazon reviews. Between the lines of these apparently banal evaluations of everyday objects, there was a real person living a real life. I started to collect the more revealing and idiosyncratic ones. Buried amongst the pros and cons of garden tools and kitchen appliances, you could occasionally trace the peculiarities of a total stranger. These real reviews became the basis of the stories in Amazonia.

Despite the dramatic nature of the stories, I decided to cast stand-up comedians to play the leading roles for their unique styles of delivery. Richard Gadd, Rachel Stubbings and Alexander Kirk came on board, while longtime collaborator Derk Russell joined as my cinematographer.

Between the lines of these apparently banal evaluations of everyday objects, there was a real person living a real life.

We shot with an Alexa mini and vintage anamorphic lenses to bring a cinematic look to the otherwise mundane and every day. We decided to shoot handheld because of the sheer amount of locations we had to cover each day. We shot parts 1 and 2 over a long weekend and after a break, we went into a three day production on part 3.

Since the film was self-financed, it was largely made possible by an incredibly dedicated cast and crew who were willing to donate their time and talents for free or a cut rate.

Amazonia is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.

Leave a Reply