The Empty Chair

Written and directed by Sye Allen (Beasts) The Empty Chair is a love letter to all those we’ve lost as a result of the pandemic, but it also speaks of those intimate collective experiences that we’ve all missed of late.
In a situation fronted by numbers and statistics, the film takes a step back and speaks of a lost individual, and how the survivor will face the world.

Cinematography by BAFTA nominee Sam Care (Wet Season, Another Mother’s Son, Couple in a Hole) and the performance is read by BAFTA winning Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, The Witch, Prometheus).
The music is an original composition by Academy Short winner Nico Casal.

Director’s Vision

I was speaking to Sam Care (cinematographer) about creating something to bring us out of the first lockdown. We were bouncing a few ideas around, and unfortunately later that week I helped a friend with a house clearance following the untimely loss of his mother to Coronavirus. It was really tough for a number of reasons, and after clearing the living room, one exposed chair was left, which immediately grabbed my attention. It was a truly powerful, heart-breaking image, and the seed for the film was sown.

I knew the film had to convey a positive message, but it also had to pay homage to the grief that so many people are feeling at the moment. I decided to write from a single perspective about the loss of a loved one, and how they resolve to face the world in the future.

What’s interesting is that throughout the process, the film also became distinctly about the loss of intimate collective experiences, and I was personally reminded of how much I’d lost as a result of the pandemic.

That’s one of the things I love most about film. Its ongoing ability to reveal things even to the makers, reminding us of the magic of medium.