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Tangent Leverages Innovations in Remote Collaboration

By Alec Rosenthal

“Tangent” is an Australian, HPA-presented short film written and directed by Ruby Bell, written and produced by Gabriella Landay, and produced by Giorgia Stawaruk.

“Tangent” is one of several short films which joined HPA’s endeavor to use technological innovation to overcome the film-making obstacles created by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020. Bell began collaborating with HPA after a colleague reached out to her about the opportunity.

“I worked with Joachim Zell on my first short film ever, which premiered in 2020 at Flickerfest in Australia,” Bell said. “He then reached out to me to see if I was interested in representing Australia in the multinational HPA program that was being organized, so I jumped at the chance.”

“Tangent” is a 5 minute film shot in Queensland, Australia about two strangers living parallel lives to one another. Throughout the film, anticipation builds for a chance encounter between the two characters.

“I like to think of the plot as a music video style narrative of two forces of fate working against each other, one pushing these two people together and another pushing them apart,” Bell said. “It is a love letter to what is meant to be, and what is not. And I like the finale being open-ended so the audience can decide for themselves what they think happens.”

Bell said that her visual ambitions for the film and the time constraints for accomplishing them were challenges. Meanwhile, she said working remotely was less of a hindrance to the creation of “Tangent” and provided new opportunities which are not ordinarily presented during in-person production.

“It was really great to not have to wait for feedback from producers, editors, etc.,” Bell said. “I could crew up with an international crew – some I’d worked with before – even though there was no way they could get to our shoot. […] I think initially [working remotely] sounded quite ambitious but every single sponsor really delivered to the utmost degree.”

Through relying on cloud production to edit and store dailies, the editing process for “Tangent” could run smoothly while the crew members were physically separated.

“We used Moxion for our [editing], which was really great, it was like being in the same room as our editor Lily Davis,” Bell said. “She worked really succinctly and efficiently so we picture locked in about 4 days. I received links to Frame.IO and Moxion grades, which was also handy as I could review from Melbourne and my cinematographer Jay Torta could review in Sydney at the same time and discuss.”

Overall, Bell said that cloud production helped ameliorate the working conditions created by COVID-19 restrictions. For instance, while “Tangent” soundtrack composer Isy Lauf was located in Brisbane and visual effects company Untold Studios was located in London, cloud production allowed Bell to interact with each crew member, give notes and review content regardless of time and place.

The combined efforts of “Tangent” and HPA accomplished a significant feat by creating a short film with COVID-19 limitations by using technologically innovative cloud production.

Moving forward from her work on “Tangent,” Bell has already found new projects to take on.

“I’m actually moving to New York City in a week, so I’m hoping to work on a music video when I arrive,” Bell said. “[I’m] currently investigating some artists that will be in town!”

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