BLUE – never underestimate a mother’s love.
A supernatural European Arthouse feature film starring Rosie Allerhand, Chris Keelty and Gemma Jones (Rocketman) with songs performed by Shirley Henderson (Awarded Best Actress in a musical at the Olivier Awards 2018), written, directed and lensed by Deva Palmier with music composed by Ben Morales Frost, edited by Nigel Bunyan, produced by Adam Gregory Smith of Hidden Art Films, filmed in Frome and London.
“A grieving mother feels like she’s losing her mind when she senses her deceased daughter’s ethereal, poltergeist-like energy around her. At first she’s terrified but later when she perceives her daughter’s affection, she intuitively knows – it’s never too late to offer all of your love.”
BLUE is a personal film. I’m named after a baby who died and looking back, my mother was always in mourning for my sister and like Laura, she had a difficult relationship with my father. I wanted to explore such a tragic sense of loss in BLUE and fill it with the colour and humour that takes us to a place of healing.
The sumptuous countryside and the houses in Frome, Somerset, made for a perfect setting. Rosie Allerhand, an actress who is local to Frome and Orla, her daughter, engaged well with the screenplay and took on the roles of Laura and Jess. It’s been wonderful to see their performances build and blossom throughout the shoot.
I wanted to elevate the scope of the film and shared the screenplay with Gemma Jones (Rocketman) who loved it. She understood the difficult dynamic of loss and humour, and you can see that in her effervescent performance of Anna.
It made sense to shoot BLUE in a tight team, since we were in lock-down and fitting it around a group of very busy people. We filmed BLUE in a period of about two years, in two to three hour clumps, which meant all COVID and child care needs could be met. It was necessary that all the locations were easily accessible, so we mainly filmed in our own homes, our gardens and in the local area of Frome.
I write stories driven by characters and images, so it was a natural progression to pick up a camera and capture my films as a DOP. With BLUE at times it was challenging to juggle being the writer, director and DOP, but at the same time there was a wonderful simplicity that has benefited our film. For Laura’s emotional scenes Rosie, the actress and I would have a quiet chat and then when she was ready I’d focus the camera and press record. Not surprisingly there is an emotional authenticity that emanates throughout BLUE.
For the edit, I worked closely with Nigel Bunyan, an experienced drama editor, who also advised me on the shoot which helped us polish a honed and crafted film.
Adam Gregory Smith, producer at Hidden Art Films, who I was introduced to via the BAFTA Crew scheme, came on board and liked the idea that I had written the lyrics to six songs for BLUE. Ben Morales Frost, composer, came on board and wrote some outstanding music. Shirley Henderson (Awarded Best Actress in a musical at the Olivier Awards 2018) was wowed by these songs and brought her stunning voice to BLUE.
I’m so grateful for all the support from the cast, local friends, social media friends and my producer, but above all my partner Jon Conway who multi-tasked at my side – recording sound, managing the lights, helping with the in-camera effects and was always there.