Meet the Filmmaker: Pete Short – Lucid
Pete Short is an Australian filmmaker internationally recognised for his work in virtual reality storytelling. He is known for creating surreal worlds and exploring complex characters. Excited by the lack of rules for new media, he blends styles from film, theatre and gaming to create compelling experiences. But regardless of the medium, his philosophy always remains the same – put story first.
Firstly, can you tell us a bit about the film?
Lucid was an opportunity to explore the fading imagination of a beautiful mind. The audience is granted access to the final, intimate moments between a mother and daughter as we celebrate the life of a beautiful soul.
What was your biggest inspiration to make this film/How did you get involved or attached to the project?
This is a topic very close to my heart because of personal experience with dementia.
As a filmmaker there are many ups and downs in the process, what was your absolute favourite and/or funniest part of making/producing this film?
With dementia being such a difficult and personal ordeal, it was amazing to discover how many of the cast & crew had a connection to the subject matter. It brought out the best in us and it became a passion project for everyone involved.
What does a film festival like Byron Bay Film Festival mean to you and your work?
Festivals like BBFF allow us a platform to share our stories and connect with others. They give us the opportunity to shout and see who is listening.
Byron Bay Film Festival showcases an array of entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking films. Do you feel that your film helps people ‘Dream With Their Eyes Open’? And if so how?
Absolutely! Lucid is a virtual reality story where we are literally exploring the imaginative mind of a coma patient. Further more the mind we are exploring is that of a children’s book author/illustrator. This means the worlds we are exploring are only limited to one’s imagination.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to future independent filmmakers?
Put story first. With virtual reality, the technology will date but a well-told story is timeless.
What was the most challenging part of the filmmaking process?
The most challenging part of virtual reality storytelling is the lack of established rules and techniques… but it is also the most exciting!
If some or all of the team is coming to the festival at Byron Bay. Who is coming and what are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to being surrounded by creativity and a passion for storytelling both from those who create and those who indulge.
Any upcoming projects for you, your team or key creatives involved in your film?
We are currently working on our next big VR film about a man in exile who is trying to overcome personal demons and make his way back to his son.
Anything interesting or unique about the filmmaking process for this film, any hiccups along the way, any happy coincidences that changed the films direction?
VR is often described as a hybrid of film and gaming but what is often overlooked is its similarities to theatre, in particular immersive theatre – no frame, no cuts, just pure immersion. We lean heavily on theatre techniques when creating our experiences and we do incorporate some film & gaming techniques where it makes sense. But equally we recognised that virtual reality is its own medium and you have to treat it as such. With VR storytelling still in its infancy, there are no rules. If someone tells you “don’t rotate the camera”, don’t just take it on face-value, try it for yourself. We decided to explore a camera rotation on one particular shot in Lucid and it ended up being my favour moment in the entire production.