Photography / Rising Photographers

Let Chloe Sheppard take you into A Much Better Illusion

Step into the world of the photographer's first short film.

Delving deep into the world of film this summer, photographer Chloe Sheppard has created a new project entitled A Much Better Illusion. Starring long-time collaborator Sylvie Makower, Sheppard shot the short on 8mm and 16mm film over summer 2018. Inspired by Chantal Akerman’s 1975 experimental Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, Sheppard follows Sylvie in captivating settings influenced by 60s-70s cinema and photography.

An entrancing portrayal of isolation, loneliness and the mundane, A Much Better Illusion captures the suffocating depth of these feelings through the abundance of water. Setting these powerful images alongside Sylvie’s own poetry, the film is an ethereal exploration of overwhelming feeling. Chloe Sheppard’s first foray into film, the short exemplifies the photographer’s intoxicating eye and mesmerising aesthetic. We caught up with one of HUNGER’s fave London talents, to find out more about how her project came to life and where it’s taking us…

When did you decide to make ‘A Much Better Illusion’?

It was whilst I was away for my birthday back in May. I’ve been wanting to learn how to shoot 16mm for a while, and when I was on that trip I watched a few films that made me feel so inspired so I just thought “okay, over the summer you’re learning how to shoot moving film.” Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time waiting for the right opportunity to come my way, rather than going out there and just doing it myself – so this film was me trying to negate that and just learn.

Can you talk me through the creative process of the project. How did it differ to your still work?

Once I knew I wanted to do make a short film over summer, I messaged Sylvie to see if she’d want to be in it. I already had a couple visuals in my head and so made a moodboard right away, then got that over to Sylvie and we just went from there. As it became more of a solid plan, I tried to make proper storyboards and shot lists and have it clear in my head what I wanted this to look like. It was different to stills mainly because of the preparation and process behind it, I think. Also shooting only film requires a good level of patience usually, but with this the wait time for the footage to be developed felt like forever, which for someone as impulsive as me was a nightmare. I can lose interest in projects really quickly if I’m not motivated by them, and had to wait weeks for this footage so it was a challenge for me to keep myself inspired and not move on to another thing. With stills it’s not so bad being as flippant with work, but this project felt like such an investment that I knew I couldn’t just leave it and had to stay immersed in it.

What five films have shaped you the most as an artist?

I feel like these are all going to sound so cliche, but okay:

1. Dazed and Confused (1993)
2. Hairspray (both John Waters and modern day one lol)
3. Thirteen (2003)
4. Blow Up (1966)
5. The Runaways (2010)

Where do you hope this project will lead you?

Hopefully to more directing of music videos and shorts! The whole process was so fun, even the stressful times are still funny to look back on – so in the future I hope to just be able to do this a lot more often.

A Much Better Illusion by Chloe Sheppard shows this Wednesday 24th October from 6pm-10pm at Protein Studios, London, EC2A 3EY. RSVP online here and follow Chloe on Instagram here. Click through the gallery below for an exclusive look into the film. 

23 October 2018