Cape Town based copywriter and aspiring filmmaker Drew Murphy showcases his first short film Eventide, inspired by a Henry Francis Lyte poem.
Who is Drew Murphy and what do you do?
By day I’m a copywriter at an agency in Cape Town, but deep down I’m an aspiring filmmaker. Ultimately that’s what I want to do. After growing up in Jozi I moved with my folks to Malaysia and then Singapore, where I finished school before returning to South Africa.
Tell us about your work?
For a while I was drawn to the aesthetic and analog world of the 60’s and 70’s and so out of that love, Eventide was set in that period. It tells the story of a lonesome lighthouse keeper, Norman, who has lived alone since his wife died in a sailing accident. Wracked by years of grief, he decides to take his own life. We enter the story as he goes about his preparations for the suicide. As fate would have it, he receives a mayday over the radio before he can carry out his wish. Torn between duty and desire, he chooses to respond to the distressed sailor. We then follow their interaction and the drama that unfolds over the course of the night.
As a filmmaker, I want to try ask questions instead of answer them and that was the aim of this film. It ends somewhat openly but hopefully it leaves the viewer with some lingering questions and impressions.
What inspires your work?
The film slowly evolved and morphed into what it is today. A few years ago, I read a poem by Henry Francis Lyte – a prayer written on his deathbed. This inspired a very short conceptual film – basically just my wife holding a flare out on the rocks with the poem being read over it. After making it I felt there was still something more to be explored with this theme of faith in the face of death. Someone I knew had recently passed away from cancer and I had a lot of questions in my head regarding how people reconcile their beliefs (and doubts) as they stare into the face of tragedy.
From those questions, I wrote the first draft of Eventide. There were a few re-writes and story changes before landing on the final script.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve always got more ideas than actual projects underway, so this year I want to try turn those ideas into actual creations. I’m currently working on a short ‘viral’ film for an upcoming holiday and there’s a potential music video in the works for later in the year.
What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
I don’t think I’m qualified to give anyone advice, but the best advice I’ve received (but always forget/ignore) is ‘just go and do it’. As a creative, I’m very insecure about my work and whether it’s up to scratch, whether other filmmakers will think it’s any good or if I’m just going to embarrass myself. I wanted my first film to be perfect and awesome, but that will never happen. The important thing is to just keep making and keep learning. Ira Glass’s talk on The Gap between our taste as artists and what we actually create was of great comfort to me. My taste is what is keeping me in the game and over time my skill and work will hopefully reflect that taste more and more. (That’s a very short paraphrase – check out the talk here:https://vimeo.com/85040589)
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
As this is my first narrative short, it is definitely a highlight. It took a while to finally make and whilst it’s heavily flawed and imperfect, I’m proud of the emotional weight of it. Hopefully it’s just the beginning.
Where can our readers follow your work?
I normally share anything I make on Twitter or Instagram. Both of those are @murphydrew