'Neil' by Storydigital

(London, UK) First Edit

Storydigital is a London based team of filmmakers formed by editor and first time director Simon Reglar. Co-producers are Lucy Rawlinson and Alex Carruthers with lighting by Tom White and production design by Laura Kettle. Our version of Neil was shot over 2 days on a Canon 5D MkII and edited on Avid.

Read 'Neil' HERE

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Comments: 15
  • #1

    50kisses (Saturday, 27 April 2013 21:06)

    What do you think?

  • #2

    Stuart M (Saturday, 27 April 2013 21:29)

    Excellent stuff. A really nice short film.

  • #3

    David Nicholas Wilkinson (Saturday, 27 April 2013 21:41)

    This is such a staggeringly good short film. I have seen it before but it just gets better. The two leading actors have that rare quality of conveying emotions by what they are thinking and not actually by what they say. I can see long successful careers for all involved. It is almost a blueprint for what all shorts should achieve.

  • #4

    Mark (Saturday, 27 April 2013 21:59)

    Nice cinematography and a relaxed pace that bought out the writers intention of a thought provoking story with questions.

  • #5

    Joe C (Sunday, 28 April 2013 08:06)

    Wonderful, script, great execution by the filmmakers. Curious as to why director, co-producers, lighting, production design and even the camera brand get a mention in the blurb above, but the writer's name isn't there. This is a London SCREENWRITER'S Festival project, isn't it?

  • #6

    KAJ (Sunday, 28 April 2013 14:50)

    Well acted and produced, but it was obvious very early on that one of the characters would turn out to be an artificial life form.

  • #7

    Ann Murgatroyd (Sunday, 28 April 2013 23:43)

    A truly moving piece. Totally engaged by the gentle yet charismatic ability of the actors. The written word and production brought out the best.

  • #8

    Nicole Sartain (Monday, 29 April 2013 06:16)

    It was a really great piece. Excellent story and interesting concept.

  • #9

    Nathan Gower (Monday, 29 April 2013 16:22)

    Just beautiful. I loved the script; but the actors here were able to tell an even MORE powerful story. Bravo, all involved.

  • #10

    Barry M (Monday, 29 April 2013 20:05)

    Outstanding for two days work, here's what I feel.

    Technically, this is a very professionaly made piece, that goes without saying and is a very welcome part of viewing.

    Creatively, I'm not so sure. A classic mistake made as a first time director is to be technical and not define interpretation as a unique voice first, you have delievered the obvious so the story is already apparent to us as opposed to being something we can discover as we watch.

    Overall, I felt like I was watching a 'Gold Blend' 80s commercial or some scenes from an Inspector Morse. It's not cinematic, a huge problems with British filmmakers in gerneral, and is quite static as a piece, more television.

    Some edits could be tightened and the music playing between them goes all corporate happy. Acting is very strong but obvious, no subtleness. I still can't help but feel that the script is a huge problem not foreseen by any of the filmmakers, and only one of the NEIls made has gotten past this hurdle by omitting it altogether.

    The line about 'being beautiful' and 'so shall we' just don't work at all, the first one just makes the woman look stupid and daft. If we are to empathise with her position, we should be continuous with her aprehensions, not have them go all out the window after kissing a doll, this destroys any real life connection with her. I also have a problem with the tear, which is again a script problem for all the films, but here seems to be really highlighted as a 'ta da' moment.

    This can only be realised and felt and delivered if we are to feel for NEIL, to feel his pain, but that part never materialises because the robot behaves as a robot from the second we see him and doesn't give us any indication as to him not being so. Other NEILs did this better by not having their NEILs behave so robotically.

    I did enjoy the use of a sound effect to get to the point of her having to leave and the graphics of shutting him down were nice as was the logo for GR.

    So overall, very well executed technically, more television not cinema unfortunately, music good at the start and finish, just not right for the middle part, acting very strong for what the director wanted but too obvious, and no brave vision of interpretation beyond what the writer would do if he just filmed it himself... oh and where are the producers notes for this?

    3 stars given.


  • #11

    Mark (Monday, 29 April 2013 23:43)

    Barry M Look at the picture below. How can you say that is not cinematic? The tear is clearly a sign that the more human than human robot is also himself a developing lifeform. When she says you are beautiful we don't know why she says this just like we dont know why she finds him attractive and there is a mystery cleverly wrapped up in the subtext that is left to our imaginations to work out. The subtext is actually dealt with quite well here by the actors. I have often felt left short changed by the script. However this succesfully feels complete in an easy to understand narrative that still leaves questions but not disapointment.

  • #12

    Barry M (Tuesday, 30 April 2013 01:05)

    Hi Mark, when you say 'Barry M Look at the picture below. How can you say that is not cinematic?' That's easy, it's not!

    But seriously, I'll explain what I mean, 'Cinematic' is a term that is most definitely lost on people especially on definition. Does the image below look normal or does it propose a bigger world, a heigtehned sense of fantasy as reality? This is what I mean by being cinematic, there is no larger than life feel to what I am watching, it feels like Inspector Morse with a rich colouring scheme applied on top.

    British filmmakers in general make films that don't have any cinematic vision behind them, probably because cinema is not respected or made here to how other countries do them, here they all seem to have an Eastenders or The Bill look and they put that on the big screen and call it cinema and those that can and do, are employed straight away in Hollywood or elsewhere. I'm looking for scope not television, I'm looking for the dream, that's all, the big picture so to speak, forgive the pun.

    As for your comment 'The tear is clearly a sign that the more human than human robot is also himself a developing lifeform. When she says you are beautiful we don't know why she says this just like we dont know why she finds him attractive and there is a mystery cleverly wrapped up in the subtext that is left to our imaginations to work out.'

    Unfortunately we are watching different films then, because in no way shape or form is the consistent idea in your explanation being delivered in the film. As mentioned previously, her emotional integrity in aprehension to not kiss Neil is whisked away by an almost and unrealistic 'OMG I just met Brad Pitt' delusional response, then she quickly goes back into serious mode, as for NEIL, he behaves all programmed and robotic and then becomes all LION from the Wizard of Oz...Goodbye Rita... if only I had a heart! These sudden changes are disruptive and negate inconsistent values needed to correctly engage empathy, not only is this a script problem, but a filmmaking one too, as all the other Neils except one suffer on this same point.

    What I am asking and looking for is merely and simply, as a basic value, an integrity based return on my investment into a story, I'm not purposely looking for these things and then berating myself when they are not there, this is the simple stuff that should be there as normal, but how you sustain disbelief is by knowing your rules work for your story before you ask others to follow them, when that logic is being questioned during or becomes disruptively obvious it is not working, then the work has failed.

    Ask yourself, were you really in the belief that this woman was affected by what she had gone through at the end? I never got to feel it because the primary concern for the makers was how it was made and going to look, not how it was going to be told.


  • #13

    Mark (Tuesday, 30 April 2013 10:05)


    The point is this is a very short story. A slice of cake.

    Yes it is true we dont know or understand the other story that remains unclear but does it? Maybe that is what the writer created and he has done something right as so many people wanted to make this film. That ambiguity has been played out in different ways and normally you would tie up the loose ends. But it is interesting to see how film makers have dealt with this problem. They actually made sense by layering it to something specifically for the viewer and in so doing managed to make that an end in itself.

    It's about us the viewer having special access to the actors story as well as the narrative. This has been achieved by the creative subtext. This layering shows great things lay ahead for this director.

    I've learned something here today because I would probably have changed the story to fit the narrative. Anil Rao had a unique way of dealing with it and created a beautiful film. Others ahve made great attempts with the narrative But this film actually holds true to the writer and I think shows a great understanding and talent for film making. Personally I think it could have been done better with a big budget i would love to have seen more contrast between the machine and the humanity with maybe a head panel that is opened and he is turned off with a screw driver and then a tear. Or a nice pod for him to be woken from in the beginning like he is onbaord the nostramo and woken from hibernation psst!! But that is misdirection making us think is he isn't he human Yes he is until we find at the end he isnt. I think for a creative film maker this short story is an idea that can be expanded any way your mind takes you This film being just one very good example.

  • #14

    Jackie Knowles (Tuesday, 07 May 2013 21:40)

    A beautiful and moving short that immediately created interest and suspense. Congrats to all involved xx

  • #15

    Petroula Kaneti-Dimmer (Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:40)

    Truly stunning, the music was beautiful, directing, editing and acting were 10/10. I just can't stop watching it. Truly melts me.