Ah lockdown, some of us have mastered the art of sourdough and become world class crochet artists, others have become adept at playing Call of Duty for 12+ hours a day whilst subsisting on delivery services. Even more of us have embraced the joy of houseplants as a cornerstone of our Instagramable interior design ambitions, and a means of staving off the loneliness of the last year through constant conversation with our leafy charges. Seeds of Love from Behnam Taheri and Gideon Beresford hones in on the latter, masterfully uniting comedy, loss and horticulture. Blossoming from the tear nourished detritus of a lost love, Seeds of Love playfully asks; what if your grief could manifest itself into a living, sentient, fully articulated (and manicured) hand? Having previously featured three delightfully outlandish shorts from the Rosco 5 cadre – DN’s excited to catch up with “unfunny idiots” Taheri and Beresford to dig into the pruning of explicit disembodied sex scenes for this comedy tale of love growing in unexpected places.
You guys are well known for your quirky comedy – as this film was initially a pitch for a music video, was the concept related to that song or a comedy you decided you wanted to do?
The music video we were pitching on was a love song, but it wasn’t really our style, a bit earnest and lame. They made a smart choice not going for us. It was very early into the first lockdown, so the main brief was just to be able to make something in a lockdown situation, all set in one house, no real actors, etc. It was a pretty open brief, and once we’d spent time working out how to make a film in lockdown, we realised there was nothing stopping us from making it ourselves.
As Seeds of Love is dialogue free the music is particularly integral. How did you go about creating the score and fitting it to the emotional beats of the story?
We’d never worked with a composer before. Just before lockdown we’d met up with the venerable composer, Sam Thompson. He should get all the credit. It really helped that we had a test film. We sent it over to him, and a week later he gave us the score. We had this loose idea of a Pixar-style score, and he just went with it. He was just lovely to work with – the best in town, king of the castle. Patient and lovely, and understood our stupid notes, managed to turn them into something sweet, touching, and also funny.
In our initial chat, you mentioned not storyboarding for this.
We never really storyboard anything. We did a fairly detailed test on a crappy little handy cam before we shot. Also our DoP Anthony Lucas is super involved. As long as we have a clear idea of what the story is, it comes pretty naturally, which means we can also come up with a bunch of new ideas on the day. It just helps that we know exactly what we want. Having the music along with our test film made the first cut of the film really simple. In terms of post production, we wanted the film to be about a minute shorter but felt it worked better a little longer.
Once we’d spent time working out how to make a film in lockdown, we realised there was nothing stopping us from making it ourselves.
It’s been well recorded that lockdown filming can pose its own obstacles, was there anything that you feel was missing because of the restrictions?
Definitely. We would have loved to have some cool outdoor scenes, like a picnic, riding a bike, etc. Also there were just three of us, so a few extra pairs of hands would have been nice. But most of all, it would have been great to use a real actor. However, what the lockdown did give us was time. Also Gid had been growing his horseshoe out, which helped make the character look extra pathetic.
There seems to be a particular penchant for featuring masturbation scenes in your films.
We’re unfunny idiots. We shot about 25, quite graphic sex scenes, and only ended up using 3. There are also about 50 more very stupid shots/scenes of the plant wanking him off that we shot and didn’t end up including. A great one we tried to shoe-horn in was a beautiful silhouette of Gid doing a headstand. Nightmare to film lots of balls and gooch in the rushes. Takes ages too because Gid needed to rest for about 10 minutes each time he ejaculated.
You both take on starring roles here, was it a toss-up for who would play which character?
We didn’t really have a choice because of lockdown. Also, some ideas are so bad that you don’t really want to waste a real actor’s valuable time. There was a lot of discussion over who should play each character, but ultimately Behnam had the most effeminate hands.
Having the music along with our test film made the first cut of the film really simple.
Your other recent short Ungabarn is squeamishly odd. Where did that concept come from?
Thanks. It was commissioned by the spectacular no nonsense media mogul Charlie Perkins at Blink Industries. The brief was just ‘weird/fun/dumb’ ideas between 15 seconds and 90 seconds, with the theme of ‘Progress’. We pitched about 5 ideas and this was one they liked. The original idea was way more dark, we were gonna have a real baby and make it with a couple who wanted to adopt it but we were steered into weird alien baby territory, and it’s much better for it.
What comedic gems are you going to surprise us with next?
We’re not totally sure. We just made a fun teaser about witches in a comic book store with Kiell Smith Bynoe, Jamali Maddix, Luke McQueen and Anna Leong Brophy. We wanna make something a little longer. We’re getting really into magic, world records and soap stars. We want to make something that proves we can handle a 250 million dollar budget, so some schmuck hires us to make a film that sinks a major studio.
Seeds of Love 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.