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Lost Face Press Kit

Director’s Statement

I first read Jack London’s short story, Lost Face, as a teenager and even back then it made quite an impression on me. Then, many years later, when I was looking for an idea I could adapt into a short film, a friend of mine reminded me of London’s wonderful short story. I re-read it and was immediately drawn in again by the powerful layering of the storytelling, the vivid characters and the inherent drama of the situation. I love films that take me to times and places I wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance to experience and Lost Face took me right into the middle of a tense and frightening moment a long time ago at the edge of the known (Western) world. The story was cold. It was grim. The stakes were high. The story was perfect.

But what attracted me most were the characters. A man facing death who acts with the kind of cool-headed trickery very few of us would think to employ under such duress, and two men, both eager to do the right thing for their people but in conflict about how to do that. The subtle manoeuvring that takes place between these three men makes up the heart of London’s story and it felt like the right framework around which to build the film. At the end of the day Lost Face is a story about making the most of a less than desirable situation and that’s something we can all easily relate to.

I did however have one hesitation about Jack London’s story, and that was how best to approach the indigenous element. Natives tricked by invaders. It’s a touchy subject and one I was keen not to trivialise or sensationalise. But it happened time and again. And I was lucky that the wonderful indigenous cast agreed with me that Lost Face was a story worth telling. It was always my intention not to pass judgement on the actions of any of the characters and to portray the indigenous side of the story with dignity and nuance. I hope I have succeeded there. And if we’re lucky, perhaps the short film will ignite a conversation about current indigenous issues…

 

Sean Meehan.

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