British Indie deals with identity fraud in what is a very raw and understated film.
This is pretty much as low budget feature film making can go and Director Al Carretta clearly knows what it takes to make such a production possible. Heralding from a background in creating stage plays he started adapting his own scripts into shorts before his first feature ‘What You See Is What You Get’ released in 2010. Since then he has continuously endeavoured to not only express his creative aspirations in Directing but focus on exposing many unrecognised actors in the Indie sector.
Automatically Sunshine is based around the dealings of a man who goes by the name ‘Carl Hart’ as he attempts to continue his undercover operation. It leads to the unravelling of fraudulent passports, the government’s involvement and a journalist who are all trying to discover the truth.
In beginning with the films budget, which stood at around £1000, we can then move on to exploring how the film operates off these restrictions. Like many small productions like this it’s inevitable that many problems will arise and only so much can be filmed in what is likely a tight schedule. Clearly Carretta is fully aware of this and it’s in evidence throughout the film, for instance one particular scene takes place in a busy Trafalgar square. Importantly shots are kept concise not focusing on the general public and remaining on the character of interest.
Whilst these aspects of the film are highly impressive it does sometimes provide some of the more frustrating points. Firstly the audio in places is a little difficult to hear and at times it made it difficult to fully appreciate some of the heavy dialogue scenes. In visual terms there were many moments where the camera was on an angle in what seems to be an attempt to make the film more voyeuristic. In certain moments this worked well in placing the audience inside the frame, however it began to seem too much especially in some of the sequences between scenes. It’s important to remember that these faults are minimal and rather act as achievements from the crew and cast in keeping everything sharp under such circumstances.
Importantly the films greatest on screen quality is the way various dialogues between characters are carried out. In particular the conversation between Tara (Emma Shearer-Hackett) and Ellen (Leah Cooper) is well orchestrated and feels perfectly natural. This continues into the later scenes with Carl Hart whose character develops in intriguing ways as we learn more and more about him. Interestingly Carretta never intended to be in the film let alone become the main character. It explains how some characters are rather ambiguous making it difficult to know their involvement in the story. However it further shows just how productions like this need to make such problems work in the favour of the project. Large blockbusters would simply re-cast and move on but that’s what makes independent productions like this worth fighting for, there are no simple solutions which makes the outcome all the more rewarding.
Ultimately the film struggles in parts to fully realise it’s plot and get this across to the viewer however the film really begins to grow as the characters become clear and more involved. This is best displayed in the film’s final moments which uses footage from the directors past work to make for a very clever and satisfying ending.