Deciding to create his story after an accident left him questioning whether he was suffering for PTSD, Alex Hardy’s powerful short Soldier Bee tells the story of a soldier and mother struggling to adapt to everyday life after returning from a tour of Afghanistan. Driven by a commanding performance by Shauna Macdonald, who plays the scarred servicewoman with unsettling conviction, this 19-minute short paints a vivid and disturbing picture of the long-lasting effects of war.
“If people came away without being moved then I would have felt like I’d failed”
After choosing to tackle the subject of PTSD, writer/director Hardy focused his story on an extreme case of the disorder and also decided to make his protagonist female – as he felt by making her a mother and wife it opened up “many interesting questions”. And it does.
Soldier Bee’s main character, Jodie, is a complex one, at times feeling damaged and delicate and at other times feeling powerful and dangerous its her unpredictability that really keeps you compelled. She obviously wants to make things work for her family, but just can’t adjust to civilian life that easily – and who can blame her after all she’s been through?
Soldier Bee would be best described as ‘hard hitting’, but Hardy didn’t set out to make a film that shocked his audience, in fact he had an altogether different aim for his short. “All I wanted to do was move people with the story and the characters”, the filmmaker reveals. “I wanted to effect the audience. If people came away without being moved then I would have felt like I’d failed”.
Shot with aim of making his audience “feel what Jodie was feeling”, Hardy and his crew filmed Soldier Bee on the Red Dragon with the production taking almost a year to complete. The film has gone on to impress audiences and juries at film festivals worldwide, picking up awards at the London Independent Film Festival and Mumbai Shorts International Film Festival along the way.
Alex is now working on four feature film treatments and his latest short This Little Death will start touring festivals this year.