OOO

Directed by
Lauren Midwinter

Sick of always doing what she “should” do, Bernie breaks free at the office and goes on a chaotic, jubilant journey of self-discovery

Directed by the London-based film and commercial director Lauren Midwinter and choreographed by Sophia Melvin, this playful video was made in response to the monotony of lockdown. At the beginning of the film, the protagonist Bernie is alone, working at the office on the weekend. It “should” help her get ahead. She “should” be grateful to for this (low-paid, undervalued) starter position. She “should” try harder. Should is a small but dangerous word. It can force you into an uncomfortable box.

The empty office becomes an undeniable temptation. Bernie decides to ignore the “shoulds” and sets out on a joyous adventure of self-expression. It's hard to stop after that first taste of freedom, and Bernie finds that the adventure isn’t always so fun. She tests the boundaries of the office rules and her own preconceptions. This wild rebellion isn’t really Bernie either. Bernie has to learn the art of balance, to find her own lane and when she does, it's jubilant! Shot in response to, and during, the grey fixed tempo of lockdown, 'OOO' is a vibrant, playful, energetic ride.

Lauren Midwinter “It’s kind of wild, and depressing that ‘OOO’ was conceived in Lockdown 1 (choreographer Sophia Melvin and I met over a Zoom workshop), shot in Lockdown 2 (when the industry was creaking back to life), and it's released in Lockdown 3 (we hope the numerals stop there). The film is fun and frivolous in tone, but it was made for practical reasons. ‘OOO’ was never designed for an audience, as mad as that sounds. It was created so that the whole team could focus on something that distracted us from the bleakness of the situation, connected us once again with our craft and gave us something to help sell our skills in 2021.

“Our sector is predominantly creative freelancers, and it has been a pretty brutal situation work-wise, especially Lockdown 1 when shoots were prohibited. I wanted to come away from 2020, having made something that was the antithesis to what we have been experiencing. To invite creatives to collaborate on a vibrant, joyous project and flex their artistic muscles again.

“That is not to say the pandemic hasn’t influenced the work, it’s about exploring freedom from constraint after all! Partway through filming, I rather sheepishly became aware that the film reflected a personal realisation I had during the aching monotony of Lockdown 1. It's embarrassing when your subconscious reveals itself in work! My thoughts have always been full of “shoulds”, it's a small but powerful word that littered my speech. I followed what I should do with work and life, rather than what I wanted to do. Trying to be good, and right and perfect is so ingrained into my psyche as a woman that it was squashing who I was. The scene where Bernie sticks it to “The Man” is definitely reflective of when I worked in-house and wanted to tell a particular misogynistic senior to do one, but never had the guts. Like Bernie, I'm bored with trying to squeeze myself into a shape I don't fit in. 2021 is my year to explore what I want to say and how I want to say it. Maybe I’ll end up dancing my way through. Hopefully at a festival with thousands of others... I never thought I’d yearn for that, but here we are.”

Written & Directed by Lauren Midwinter @midwinterlauren
Starring Eleanor McGrath @elemcgrath_
Producer: Nan Davies @sarahnandavies
Director of Photography: Sara Deane @saradeanedop
Choreography: Sophia Melvin @sophiamelvs
Music: Jak Melvin
Producer on Location: Steph Falkiner @stephanieeefalks
Production Manager: Magda Ceron @magda.ceron
First Assistant Director: Etienne Newton
First Assistant Camera: David Agha-Rafei
Second Assistant Camera: Juliette Carton @juliettecarton
Steadicam: Max Rijavec #steadimax
Gaffer: Marina Lewin
Spark: Owen Whitehead @owen_whitehead.mov
Spark: Ada Wesolowska
DIT & Playback: Lily Hambly @lilhambly
Third Assistant Director: Alice Rostant
Make-Up: Lisa Chau @rlisachau
Stylist: Zoë Kozlik @zoekozlik
Location: Second Home London Fields @secondhome_io
Editor: Rebecca Luff @rebecca_luff
Edit Producer: Maggie McDermott
Edit Assistant: Vicky Man
Colourist: Karol Cybulski @imkarol.colour
Colour Producer: Carla Thomas
Sound Design: John Scott  
Titles: Aaron Baker
Camera kit supplied by Sandro Leone at Take 2 @sandro_leone_ @take2filmsuk
Lighting supplied by Kelly Amundsen at Panalux @panaluxworld

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