The Burdened Ass

Short / War / Poetry / 16mm

This was one of my very first shorts, based on an early 20th century poem about a man who comes across an ass loaded up to breaking point with goods and sees in it an allegory for society’s injustices. The poet John Oxenham had been a solider in the Great War, so I made the narrator character a shell-shocked soldier and amateur poet who’d deserted the front line, and meets the ass on his wonder through the countryside. The Soldier’s mental state is not apparent at first, but gradually collapses as he begins to relate to the animal’s lot in life.

The film is slightly abstract and was shot on 16mm. We designed it to look like the few colour photos that exist from the time, with heavy vignetting that increases saturation and contrast towards the edges of the frame. We also left the full 16mm frame on the master, complete with rounded corners.

If you’d like to see the 11 minute film, you can do so here.

OFFICIAL SELECTION Palm Springs Int’ Short Film Festival (USA)
OFFICIAL SELECTION Brisbane Int’ Film Festival (Australia)
HIGHLY COMMENDED London Film Festival Classic Shorts Competition (UK)
INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION British Council

Directed & Produced by Adrian Hedgecock
Screenplay adapted by Adrian Hedgecock from the poem by John Oxenham
Director of Photography: Aadel Nodeh-Farahani
Music by Alexis Bennett

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