New West Sussex three-minute film packs a punch - watch it here

It’s difficult to describe without giving too much away, but Worthing film-maker Chaz Parvez is delighted with his new three-minute film – and with the response it is getting.

Holly-Marie Michael
Holly-Marie Michael

Featuring Holly-Marie Michael from Horsham, it can be seen on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-aIhNnAaSU or just search YouTube for Beneath the Cedar [My Rode Reel 2021].

It packs a huge amount into its 180 seconds.

Jane has done a bad thing.

But Tom did a bad thing first. On a warm autumn morning, the couple meet to discuss their feelings. Will the relationship survive their rendezvous beneath the cedar?

Chaz made it for the My Rode Reel short-film competition – and enjoyed a brief break from the other, rather longer film, a ghost story, he is currently making.

By profession an IT consultant, Chaz said: “I have now made two and three quarter films. I made the first one back in 2007 just for a bit of fun but it won a competition and it just stayed with me and when we had the lockdowns my creative juices just tingled and I thought I would do another one.

“I started last Christmas planning a short ghost story and that should be ready soon. I’ve just got to finish off the sound.

“But there is a company called Rode that makes microphones and My Rode Reel is a competition that they run every year.

“You’ve got to make a film in not more than three minutes and I thought that would be good. I spoke to a writer friend of mine (Lancing-based Liam Smith, a teacher in Worthing) who does flash fiction short stories and he had a story called Under The Oak.

“There is a park called Charmandean Recreation Ground where it is quite quiet and it has got a beautiful cedar tree. I thought about that tree before and when Liam popped up with Under The Oak I thought we could use it and so Under The Oak became Under The Cedar.

“We shot it on October 10. We rehearsed and had a Zoom meeting with the actress Holly-Marie Michael (education officer and zookeeper at Tilgate Nature Centre) who comes from Horsham.

“I looked at her showreel and she was 80 per cent of the character that I was looking for so we had a Zoom rehearsal and then a production rehearsal and then we did it.

“It took about six hours which is apparently quite good!

“And she was great. She was so good, just the passion that she had for it and I think that really comes across.”

Sharing the screen with her is Ollie Beane from Worthing.

“I have entered it into a number of festivals and competitions.

“We have won two awards, best actress and best film and we have been semi-finalists in about four and also being selected for festivals as well so the film will be shown. Apparently you usually get about 13 per cent hit rate and we are nearer 50 which is great.”

It’s a film which is hard to describe but Chaz settles for the word drama.

“I am very pleased with it. The other film has taken up all my spare time and I wouldn’t say that I had got bored with it but sometimes you need a change of scenery and this worked out really well.

“We are all amateurs. This isn’t what we do for a living but I’m pleased with the result.

“We had quite a lot of disruptions on the day, planes going over and noise from the seagulls and other people screaming and shouting and just people playing.

“We could have got it done in three or four hours if it wasn’t for all the distractions!

“But it worked out well in the end.”

Chaz adds the caution, though: “In my opinion it not suitable for under 12-year-olds.”