Inspired to create a tension-filled genre film set in a world he could personally relate to, Jack Benjamin Gill’s Lambing Season is a dark, mysterious thriller set in the secluded North Yorkshire moors. A patient, but anxious story about a son who starts having doubts over his parent’s identity, this 17-minute short produced by Delaval Films (who also gave us The Pig Child and Marina and Adrienne) hooks you in with its intriguing premise and then proceeds to keep you on the edge-of-your-seat as we delve deeper and deeper into the secrets of its story.
“We knew we had the basis for a really tense and disquieting genre film”, Gill reveals. “But to ground the film in North Yorkshire, where I grew up, allowed me to explore more personal themes adhering to the rural isolation of my upbringing and my family dynamics growing up”.
“It seems inexplicable now, but for some reason this was the first time I had decided to develop a project at home and I have never been more comfortable making a film. I felt invigorated. It was extremely inspiring. Plus I love a bit of audience manipulation. If I can get the audience leaning forward together in anticipation, or collectively covering their eyes then, as a filmmaker, I’m winning”.
A distinctly British film, Gill and his team turn their focus on character and location to really build the tension in Lambing Season. Featuring just three performers, the trio bounce of each other from scene to scene, leaving you, the viewer, unsure of the direction this tale will twist in next.
The location plays an equally important role, almost feeling like a fourth character in proceedings. The dark country lanes and moonlight fields give the night scenes a real sense of dread and fear, whilst the confines of the farm house add a tangible feeling of strangling claustrophobia. It all adds up to an engrossing 17-minutes, where characters and scenarios feel real and believable and the whole thing leaves you with an unsettling sense of unease bubbling inside.
Though the situation in Lambing Season is an extreme one, it taps into a feeling we all should be able to relate to – the moment you realise your parents aren’t exactly who you think they are. For the film’s protagonist Joe this means potentially discovering his parents aren’t really his parents, for us it might be the first time you see a parent cry or the first time you see them drunk (I still remember it Dad!). It can be a sobering moment for a child, realising those people you put on a pedestal and idolised are in fact humans with flaws, lets just hope they don’t have the serious, criminal flaws that Joe’s do!
Since completing this short Jack has gone on to create a 3-minute film for Channel 4’s Random Acts called A Life Hereafter and is working on expanding the story of Lambing Season into a feature.