2022 Official Selection / Etheria Film Night

Directed by Deanna Milligan
CANADA | 16:30 min

At an art school in the 1990s, a young outsider embarks on a morbid quest for pure self-expression when she creates a self-portrait for her classmates that reveals her enchantment with the grotesque.

Director Statement
Lucid is set in the early 1990s – at a time when artists, designers, and musicians such as Damien Hirst, Cindy Sherman, Alexander McQueen, and Nick Cave were fascinated with the horrific and the grotesque… when a whole generation was hooked on grunge and disintegration after the glitzy pop-fueled 80s. Mia has been drifting through her adolescence, almost in a dream state; forgetting her voice, losing her way. She is funny and sweet, awkward and lost. She finds herself presenting a terrible self-portrait to her college art class. In a day full of grotesque yet beautiful triggers, Mia remembers her passion for disgust and her joy in shock. As an artist, she realizes that it’s far preferable to elicit any emotional response – laughter, fear, revulsion – rather than safe nothingness. She storms into her classroom with complete control and delivers a blood-splattering performance that is worthy of time and space as her classmates look on in awe, shock, and admiration. When I was a little kid my parents had a small house on a rocky beach on Vancouver Island. Early in the morning, my Uncle would let me watch him clean and gut fish right on the shoreline. The colours of the inside of the fish and the little tiny organs were so beautiful to me. My Uncle was very sweet and bemused by my fascination with this kind of gross activity. This combination of gross and beautiful is a big theme in Lucid. While watching this film, I wanted the viewer to experience that same tingling sensation of the beautiful fish guts but also examine what it is that their true hearts respond to. We were fortunate to be able to use some 35mm film stock from the 90s for the magic realism parts of our film. Our DOP Ramsey Fendall was saving it for a “special” project. Lucky for us – this was it! We used a 2.35:1 aspect for our flashback scenes to invoke old 1970s photographs. And a 1.33.1 for the 1990s scenes. We finished principal photography for our film before Covid put the world in a lockdown. Our opening scene is a continuous one-take Steadicam shot with 23 extras and actors up two flights of stairs. We rehearsed the move with the entire cast and crew on a separate day so we could nail down the movement. All of our special FX makeup blood and hearts were created with vegetables and a whole lot of fake blood. Hope you enjoy the film it was made with a lot of heart.

Director Bio
Deanna Milligan is a Canadian filmmaker based in the Pacific Northwest. Deanna directed the award-winning short genre film Lucid in 2020 that is currently screening worldwide at festivals including Fantasia (Montreal), Fantastic Fest (Austin), and Vimeo’s Short of the Week. Lucid won Best Short Film and Critics Choice at the Apulia Horrorfest, and Audience Choice at the Short Circuit Film fest. Deanna was nominated for a Leo award for Best Director in 2021 for Lucid at the Leo Awards in Vancouver and at the Ethereal Horror Fest in Austin, Texas. Deanna directed the music video GOLD for Phoenix Lazare which was supported by the RBC/ Prism Prize/ Canadian Screen Academy. Kodak featured Gold in their social media as the piece was shot on Super 16mm along with her partner and collaborator Ramsey Fendall. Deanna is also an award-winning actress with decades of experience in film and television. She is currently taking a Sundance Collab horror genre screenwriting class with Owen Eggerton.