THREE FILMS THAT INSPIRED LIKE GLASS
Written by Adam J Spinks
After a break from directing, Director Adam J Spinks returns with his final short film Like Glass. A more personal story than anything he’s tackled in the past, Like Glass paves the way for two new feature films and a bold new vision for genre cinema.
Monsters (2010) dir: Gareth Edwards
Everybody says it, usually about Jurassic Park, but this is the film that really switched me on to what was possible. Where Jurassic made me gaze in wonder at everything and got my mind whirring about films from the age of 5, Monsters showed me that independent filmmaking was entering a new era... one where Hollywood didn’t have the monopoly on big visuals anymore. I think what was also crystal clear is that point of view of Gareth Edwards was absolutely
critical in the success of it. The way he shot the film, from a grounded and personal perspective, really makes the film unique.
When we started Like Glass, I had decided I would only direct the film if I had that strength in my point of view. Why was I the one who had to tell this story? Why could nobody else be the one to do it? If I couldn’t answer those through my approach to the script and story, then it wasn’t the right story for me. Since I did Extinction, I’ve applied those criteria to any project that crosses my path.
Arrival (2016) dir: Denis Villeneuve
Back when I was making my feature Extinction I heard a lot of people discussing that everything needed to be faster, quicker, louder, sharper… everything I was hearing was about how audiences aren’t as patient as they used to be, how it was about keeping them interested and keeping the story moving swiftly and it never sat right with me. I firmly believe audiences want to be challenged and want to be engaged, if you’re fighting that hard to keep their attention, something has gone wrong in your storytelling. Arrival came along and what is so beautiful about it is how it moves at its own speed, it doesn’t rush, it doesn’t try to bait its audiences into giving it 5 more minutes… it feels constructed, it
feels crafted and it is wonderful. In an age where everything keeps getting bigger, Arrival feels like an intimate character study with a big budget.
When we started working on Like Glass, we passionately felt that Arrival was the one film everybody working on it should watch. There’s no unnecessary dialogue, everything progresses the narrative forward and the key moments are built up to, savoured and never outstay their welcome. For me it’s a masterclass in visual storytelling, in characterisation and the ending, the way it builds to such a rousing and emotional climax, inspired and challenged me to create such
an ending to our story. Arrival started me thinking about a different approach to storytelling and what was possible.
Whale Valley (2015) dir: SHORT FILM https://vimeo.com/61350155
This is an odd one but probably the most important and unexpected addition to this list. This is a short film I was introduced to by Markus, one of my two cinematographers on Like Glass one day over lunch. It's such a stark portrait of its characters and I think more importantly, of its landscape. The way it’s been shot renders the landscape a character in its own right, absolutely crucial and integral to the storytelling and to the development of the human characters that inhabit the story. Whale Valley could not have been the same if it wasn’t shot exactly where it was, something about that place is ingrained, infused in its DNA and that got me thinking about whether we could say the same for Like Glass… I hadn’t fully considered the possibilities of this kind of storytelling. Whale Valley opened my eyes to that.
Click images to enlarge.