LA TUMBA

The script for this short film was penned by Jonathan Hughes. It tells a story of an

ambitious park ranger who is eager to excel in his job. When he comes across an older

Spanish woman praying over a freshly dug grave, he jumps to conclusions and arrests her,

thinking a murder was committed. Their language barrier sets the apart at first, but as the

day goes on, they have to find ways to communicate, and ultimately, the universal

language of empathy and understanding bring them together.


When Natasha Waugh was attached to direct the film, she reached out to me to come on

board as DOP. We had previously met at the X-Pollinator event and she had since looked

for a project to work with me on. There, she also met the producer Natalie McAuley of

Subotica, and so this really had the charge of a supportive and collaborative environment

through and through.


With Natasha we spent extensive time in prep, to make sure we utilised the short 2.5 days

we had to film the story to the maximum. We had only the essential crew and had to cover

some ground, physically, shooting in the woods that weren’t easy to access. From the

beginning I felt a strong bond with Natasha had formed, and it meant that we felt safe in

each other’s hands and discussed all aspects of making the short, and knew we could rely

on one another for creative, technical, and human support.


There were some limitations we had to overcome, and while we were pleased to have

been funded by the DLR First Frames scheme, the budget could only stretch so far. So we

had to improvise often when it came to equipment, and rely on what we saw with our own

eyes happening in front of us.


Crucially, I relied heavily on my 1st AC Jakub Bajerski, who I trusted explicitly with

troubleshooting and his steady hand as a focus puller. I had worked with gaffer Andrej

Pacher on this short for the first time, and his expertise in the way of creating progression

of lighting that had to occur in a one day span (as the story is told in one day) was

indispensable.


A thorough discussion with the Production Designer Colette Wrafter and subsequent

collaboration was key to creating the interior of the ranger’s cottage - as Natasha had a

solid idea of what she wanted it to look like. I also needed to be able to control the light

and so Colette helped me cover the entire white ceiling by stapling dark grey bed sheets

over it. As the space was very tight, it gave me a level of control I could not have achieved

otherwise.