Their journey tells a tale of sadness, but what really happened?

Written by Shaun James Grant & Luke Shenton-Sharp, ‘Hope’ cleverly paves the narrative in an explorative fashion. We follow an exhausted couple who stop at a diner in the early hours of the morning in the middle of nowhere. Their journey tells a tale of sadness, but what really happened? We begin to understand that the situation they’re in is far from ordinary. Through the slow-burning pace we empathize without knowing much, but the sharp directing and powerful performances by Jane Dowden and Yann Gael keeps the audience on an emotional balance. We spoke with the director Shaun James Grant whoo gave us a little more insight on the film.

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

Personally, it was about imprinting my paternal fears into the film, and from there it kinda grew a life of its own in that regard.
I think that was the main source of emotional inspiration for me, the paternal aspect. At the time my daughter was still quite new to the world.

The first year and a half of being a parent was a shock to the system. It sounds cliche but you grow to love something else more than you’ve ever loved anything else in the world, and the thought of losing that just felt like the darkest thing in the world to me.

Facing those fears felt like a cathartic way to create something. Thematically incorporating loss into a film narrative that wasn’t about me. It’s about two individuals dealing with an impassive question; once we understood that it took shape and the world just grew for itself.

Tell us about the location, how you found it and what it brought to the story.

I used to drive past that diner as a kid when visiting London to see my dad. It resurfaced in my adult commutes, from London to Sheffield to visit family. It’s funny, you never saw it have a full car park, but it was always open. I often wondered, who went there? Where were they from? Where were they headed?

Whilst the diner always intrigued me as a location, I also didn’t wanna make it a front and centre feature of the film; it was important that it was just a backdrop. The whole idea about the diner was placing you in a situation where you didn’t know where you were.
I wanted to make the whole film feel universal; so anybody watching it, whether you’re in France; whether you’re in England; whether you’re in America; no matter where you are, you could identify with it.

What has this film taught you about filmmaking?

Trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to be wrong, it’s a part of learning. Nothing will ever be perfect.

What do you hope people will take away from HOPE?


Do you have any favourite short films you would like to give credit to?

I believe anyone that has gone to war with making a short film deserves credit. It’s tough, so well done!