The Chapel

A short film shot in the Black mountains in Wales based around a small empty church and two strangers. The script was written. produced, directed and edited by Ben Winter. This was shot over two days and two long nights again with my camera a Panasonic HDX900 with zoom lenses to keep costs manageable and small grip equipment including a Wally Dolly, Steadicam and a lot of Lighting for the night time wood scenes but a few lighting tech/gaffers to help. I wanted to use an ABC crane for some big shots of the chapel putting it in context with the surrounding forest but budgets didn’t stretch that far and the Steadicam was decided to be more important for the build up of the mood. We had two excellent actors Alix Dunmore and the contagiously energetic James Cartright. The short was filmed with a Cinemascope aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and shot with viewfinder guides and masked later in post.

The film won the Brtish Film councils Short Funding award and was shown at Edinburgh Film Festival in 2009.

Here is the review of the short at the Film Festival by Andrew Roberston:

Opening with a shot of a cairn on anonymous hills and scored with weird electronic music, this is a discomfiting piece. There is a man, and a woman, strangers who were sharing a car. Their relationship joins the car in breaking down, abandoned as they search for help.It doesn’t come. Instead they happen across an abandoned church, make themselves tea, are startled by noises, get “the fear”. It’s palpable, oppressing. This is a subtly scary film, menacing. The colours and score, the environment are reminiscent of the work of Terry Nation – whatever is happening outside, this is human horror.As the strangers, Alix Dunmore and James Cartwright are good. While we never know how they came to be here, how they know (or do not know) each other, they convince as individuals brought together by unseen circumstances.The titular chapel is a haunting place. Noises in the woods aside, the never clarified nature

of its abandonment just adds to the mystery. The music is important, composed by Ross Power, featuring a distinctive sounding Middle Eastern instrument, the oud. It’s not quite atonal, but it is unsettling, and the film makes excellent use of it.The Chapel succeeds as the best shorts do not only in entertaining as a thing of itself, but serving as a showcase for the talents involved. Written, edited, and directed by Ben Winter, it shows his abilities well. There’s a temptation to know more about The Chapel, about those involved, but the quality of their mystery really asks only one thing – what he will do next?”


Ben Winter details at ‘No Paper Cuts’: