Beyond the Horizon

  • Charlie Clift

Beyond the Horizon, my new film, premieres today . It’s an exploration of the ups and downs of the creative process, and the fruit of my collaboration with composer Segun Akinola and choreographer Demi Rox. I’ve been lucky enough to cross paths with many brilliant creative people. Speaking to them and knowing my own process, I’ve found that bringing a project to life is always a journey with many twists and turns. You start up-beat and self-assured, but you’re guaranteed to get overwhelmed by self-doubt at some point. To make something you’ve got to be determined and keep going despite that. Combining music and dance felt like the right way of telling that story. In the film Rox cuts a lone figure against the austere dunes as she combines hip hop, freestyle, and classical dance to Akinola’s cello score written for the film. She begins calm and collected, flowing over the dunes but as the music becomes increasingly frantic, so does her dance: grappling with self-doubt, struggling against the obstacles thrown her way. At the end, as the soundscape expands, she is triumphant. I started by writing a simple story about a dancer moving through those emotions – the initial excitement, then unavoidable self-doubt, before finally trusting herself. I wanted to create something open enough that my collaborators could be inspired by it without limiting them. I pitched the idea to Segun Akinola, a brilliant composer I know from working with BAFTA. He understood my brief instinctively and wrote a beautiful solo cello composition for the film. He worked closely with the cellist David Cohen developing the tune. It was so exciting getting their initial recordings – I was bouncing around my office with excitement when I first heard them. It’s such a stunning piece, it swells with deep and haunting harmonies, then dives into excited rage, before finishing on uplifting notes of fragile hope. I then sent both the music and the story to Demi Rox, a choreographer I discovered on instagram. I knew it’d be fascinating to see someone with a street dance background respond to a modern classical composition. She really developed it in her own unique way, channelling hip hop, freestyle, and classical dance to fit Segun’s piece.

Director – Charlie Clift Music – Segun Akinola Choreographer and dancer – Demi Rox
Cellist – David Cohen Cinematographer – Natalja Safronova Cinematography Advisor – Martyna Knitter First Camera Assistant – Henry Owen Focus Puller – Stuart Went Aerial Cinematography – AVM Visuals
Editor – Gary Askham at Quality Control Grading – Alex Berry at Quality Control
Styling – Olliver Sharp Make Up – Helen Roche Sound Design and Foley – Chris Humfryes Musical recording – Nick Taylor Musical Mix – Goetz Botzenhardt
Producer – Charlie Clift Production Assistant – Philip Hardman Unit photographer – Phil H Photography Casting – AKJ Agency Location – Camber Sands, 1066 Film Office