Inspired by a mathematical conundrum, the intriguing Hotel Infinity revolves around the concept of a hotel manager who can't find an empty room for visitors to his infinite hotel. Filmed on location in Switzerland - and Bethnal Green in London - the 10-minute movie was made with the help of the Film Council's Completion Fund, which provides finance to finish short films already in production.
Director Amanda Boyle, pictured right, works in film production and has been to the Edinburgh Film Festival many times, but she's a newcomer to directing.
What was your route into the industry?
I've been working in film for about seven years. I started off as a TV researcher, and I spent about a year trying to get into film - writing hundreds of letters. I eventually became a producer's assistant on Plunkett and Macleane, which was a Working Title film. I was then asked to join their production department and ended up working with directors Stephen Daldry on Billy Elliot and Marc Evans on My Little Eye. Those experiences were the clincher for me - I definitely knew I wanted to direct film after working with them. They are both very open in their approach [and] watching them demystified the process. Mind you having now tried it myself I have even more respect for them.
So was it frightening to make the leap from production to directing?
It was definitely frightening, I felt I'd put a lot of expectation on myself and I didn't want to look a prat! I didnít want to waste money and I wanted to do something I was proud of. Because it's quite an expensive medium and youíre trying to juggle so many things when you are directing, I was grateful of having worked in the different roles I have. One thing I have learnt doing this short is that you are only as good as the team you are surrounded by and I was very fortunate to be supported by a very talented and generous group of people, like Jak Abrahams, the art director, Sam Perry who did costume and Hubert Taczanowski who was the director of photography. This short was very much a collaboration. They taught me so much.
Where did the idea for the film come from?
I was interested in doing something science-based but making it emotional. I went to the Science Museum in London and I found a book there which had all sorts of infinite conundrums and there was a maths problem about hotel infinity. It's quite a well-known problem, a paradox of what happens when an infinite hotel becomes full. It was the idea of trying to understand something that was very difficult to grasp, and I thought it was quite a challenge to show that on film.
What kind of budget did you have?
To begin with we had a budget of around £40,000 and then we got completion money from the Film Council Completion Fund. It had taken me and then my producer about two years to get such a healthy budget and we were very lucky to be awarded the Film Council money - they've been great. Everyone on the film worked for reduced rates or for free which means that as much of the money as possible is on the screen. The visual effects company The Mill came on in pre-production and had no budget. They were integral - we couldn't have made the film without them. I don't think short film funding should be made too easy... it's good to learn the skills of perseverance and patience - particularly in the UK - but there does seem to be a lack of funding pots. I know that's because short films normally don't make money but they are vital experimental grounds for would-be directors. Hotel Infinity certainly has been for me.
What are you doing next?
Well I still have a day job producing feature films, but going on as a director, Iíd like to do a slightly longer half an hour or 45 minute piece - I know they are unusual but a Channel 4 or BBC one-off would be perfect. I've started working on one project. It has a similar dreamlike quality to Hotel Infinity but other than that it's very different! I very much hope to have that up and running early next year.Watch a clip from the film ****************************************************
Interview by Jen Foley.