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Filmmaker spotlight: ‘The Universal Struggle’

Miranda Sharpe, second place winner at VSFF 2023

Meet Miranda Sharpe, who hails from Newcastle. Miranda was a finalist in the 2023 Very Short Film Festival, securing second place with her film, ‘The Universal Struggle’.

We absolutely loved her film, so we thought we’d share insights into her filmmaking process for some sparkling inspiration!

What was the inspiration behind the concept of ‘The Universal Struggle’?

My inspiration came from my love of space and knowing I wasn’t smart enough to become an astronaut, I decided to bring space to me through the character of ‘Space Boy’. The character was inspired by my feelings of isolation and dreaming of something bigger than myself. 

Which filmmakers or films have influenced your style the most?

My biggest inspirations are Buster Keaton and the slapstick comedy of the Silent Film era, along with the 90s art house cinema of Jim Jarmusch and Wong Kar-wai. 

What kind of impact or conversation do you hope your film initiates?

I hope to show other filmmakers how much can be conveyed through action alone. If your story is compelling enough, if you capture the audience’s hearts, it doesn’t matter if it isn’t technically perfect, you’ve done your job. 

What aspect did you love most about being a finalist in the VSFF premiere launch event? 

The character of Space Boy took me seven years to create. The Very Short Film Festival proved to me what was in my head worked on screen. I could make the audience laugh; they believed in Space Boy, as much as I did. 

What advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers looking to get involved? 

My advice is to get comfortable with criticism. After that, focus on the story you want to tell, and find a way to do it. It doesn’t need to be perfect if the story is strong. 

What was the most challenging scene to shoot, and how did you overcome it?

The whole film was challenging because it was a one woman (one Space Boy show). The garage scene was the hardest. I could only guess if the shot was in focus, and I only had a few hours to reshoot it after the first takes didn’t work. I used a mirror to reflect the back of the camera so I could see my performance and framing, as I didn’t have a monitor.

What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects or dreams?

I have just completed my next short ‘Grubby Feet’ and I’m applying for grants to make ‘Space Boy’ a feature film.The Very Short Film Festival served as a proof of concept for that idea, so I have faith that 2024 is the year of Space Boy!

Congratulations to Miranda, for such a great film and wonderful concept. Thanks for bringing us a touch of the silent area and slapstick to a universal concept.

Watch ‘The Universal Struggle’ below, and other VSFF finalist films here.