Ashes (2013)

Dan Winter
David Hopewell
Oliver Harper

Producer/Director - Paul Dudbridge
Co-Producer - Cat Foley
Camera - Simon Pearce
Director of Photography - Roger Pearce
Screenplay - Chris Marshfield

Format: HD
Running time: 13 mins
Aspect ratio: 16/9
Edited on: Avid Media Composer


A boy, a father and a grandfather go on an ill-fated road trip to scatter the grandmother's ashes.


"Ashes" began late 2011 when Producer Paul Dudbridge asked local Bristol based writer Chris Marshfield if he'd be interested in writing a script from a story idea already in place. Chris agreed and then brought his own ideas to the table when he sat down to write the script early 2012. With the story set on the Moors in the South West of England, locations were scouted on Exmoor and Dartmoor in Devon to find the ideal locations that work for the story and that would work practically for filming purposes; with enough space and logistics to house a small crew.

Producer Cat Foley was brought on board early to help begin to put things in motion. Permissions for filming locations had to be obtained and decisions on travel and possible accommodation considered. In the end the team decided to go with a small crew for this production, and Cat doubled up on her duties by also sourcing props and even covering the catering! With the first five pages of the script set inside a moving car, different types of camera car mount were discussed with Grip and Lighting company "Eyelights". All of which would depend on what type and size camera the film would be shot on.

Meetings and technical discussions took place with the camera department over at Films@59 in Bristol, and the newly released Canon C300 was chosen. It's small enough handle a small car mount and can produce the quality of image required.

Casting the film was as simple as it gets, with all the first choices that were offered, agreeing to play the roles. Local Bristol actor Dan Winter, cast to play the father, found time to fit in the film around his theatre work, whilst Oliver Harper was chosen to play the teenage son after already being familiar with Director Paul Dudbridge through his work at the ITV West Television Workshop. David Hopewell, who previously worked with Hanover Pictures on their 2008 short Television Christmas film, “Winter's End”, was cast as the Grandfather.

The camera team consisted of Director of Photography Roger Pearce, Camera Operator Simon Pearce and Camera Assistant Adam Lanfranchi. The new team of recordist Dave Thacker and Boom Operator David Moir were brought in to cover sound, and Assistant Producer Emily Miller kept things running on set. For the car interiors called for in the script, a location closer to home in Clevedon, near Bristol was found. A long road with wide open spaces doubling for the Moors and country side of Devon was used as being out of the way of public traffic meant limited stopping and starting making it easier for Actor/Driver Dan Winter.

The weather was paramount and the production was lucky enough to have similar weather on all days so to match the conditions from day to day, inside and outside of the car. A small light weight Limpet car mount was hired from Eyelights, enabling the camera to be strapped to the side of the car safely and securely and obtain the shots required. The car rig covered different angles and was placed in different positions around the car. The production found they had to work around the sun for some shots with the best quality light only being available from certain directions and so found themselves wearing out the same stretch of road up and down until the scene was covered.

Shooting on Dartmoor meant having to work around the public who turned up in coach loads to visit the Tors. The changeable weather stopped play a couple of times but was pretty consistent for most of the day. For shots where the public did enter the frame and compromise the intended shot, the decision was taken to remove by them visual effects later in post-production rather than try and wait for the perfect time and delay shooting.

Technical Specifications:

The camera of choice was the new Canon C300. The Canon has a Super 35mm sensor allowing for 35mm lenses to be fitted using a PL mount. Cooke's Panchro S4 Prime lenses were used in 18, 25, 32, 50, 75, and 100mm sizes. The Canon shot at 1080p in 4:2:2 sampling at 50mb/s to Compact flash cards. Filters consisted of a polariser, and ND grads to help expose for the skies.

The full film can be viewed below: