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Midlands Spotlight - Feature and Review of Paper Plane

By midlandsmovies, Nov 8 2016 10:42PM

Midlands Movies writer Kira Comerford recently caught up with filmmaker Joey Lever to talk about his short film Paper Plane. After watching his film, she asked the writer and director a few questions about the ideas for the short and filmmaking in general.

Kira: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Joey: Since I was a child, I've always been interested in creation. Whether it be art or stories, I've always had the drive to create something. Getting older, I got more and more interested in how films work and the idea of letting my stories come to life in the form of film. Since the age of 10 I've strived to become a better filmmaker - every day after school I either had to write a story or plan a shoot with my friends. In school I had to excel in all art based projects as I wasn't very good at anything else. Now, 23 years later, I've won various awards; racked up 20 million views on YouTube and over 50k subscribers and I'm incredibly proud of how far I've got.

Kira: Where did the idea for Paper Plane come from?

Joey: The idea of Paper Planes came from the concept of having a horrible atmosphere told in such an innocent way. I've always loved the idea of trying to make something evil not look so bad though the eyes of children. The whole concept of the war came form my great-grandfather who recently passed. I've been told thousands of war stories from his past every time I saw him, so I guess my interest in WWII came from him, which just stuck with me during my first film.

Kira: What made you decide to end the film in the way you did?

Joey: I feel like there is only a few ways I could have ended the film, so I took the realistic approach. 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 were seriously injured during The Blitz. Two million houses (60 per cent of which were in London) were destroyed so I felt like this is what needed to happen to the main protagonist to show how evil those times were.

See the full film on the embedded Vimeo link and read Kira's review of the short below:

Paper Plane (2016)

Directed by Joey Lever.

Paper Plane is a short story about the thoughts of two children during the London Blitz in 1940. Timmy's brother is leaving to fight in the war while 50 miles away in London, Evan is trapped in the midst of the London blitz. We see them both communicating in their final moments before everything soon changes.

Paper Plane is the latest short film from writer and director Joey Lever, and I have had the privilege of watching it. I started off thinking it was a lovely period piece charting a snapshot of the story of the war, however by the time the film had finished, lovely wasn't really the most appropriate way to describe it...

I really enjoyed the performances by the two young leads. Alexander Hemley as Timmy and Oliver Ross as Evan were both tremendous as the young boys whose lives were both affected by the war in different ways. There is always something deeply affecting when child actors are used in the right way, and Lever got it bang on here when he cast these two in the main parts.

The story is why I feel it is perhaps wrong to describe Paper Plane as a lovely short film, because it did in fact turn very morbid by the end. I quite liked that about it, however. Sometimes I find, especially with some short films, that the writers are kind of too keen to keep their audiences happy by providing a nice ending, and so, whilst being slightly dark, it was oddly refreshing to have this film end in the way that it did.

On the whole, Paper Plane is a short that doesn't shy away from showing how WW2 affected people here on British soil; more importantly, it showed how children were affected both directly and indirectly by the war.

The direction taken by the film is good to see as it presents to us a filmmaker who is not afraid to take grittier route with his films. I would recommend that anyone thinking of delving into filmmaking themselves take a look at this short as it will provide some ideas on the sorts of stories you can tell, but also ways in which you can tell them to make them stand out from the works of others.

Kira Comerford

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