Views / Backstage Pass London

The Golden Hour: London filmmaker Jason Gray offers sneak peek of most intense film yet

We wait ages in the hot afternoon sun for an empty-looking streetcar.

When we climb in, he jets straight to the back and sits down, bracing his arm against the top of the seat to steady his camera, his eyes narrowing as he zeros in for the shot.

I watch the reflection of the street flicker and go in and out of focus through the viewfinder as we pass through a tunnel in the fading light.

We are on a mission to get the very last shot of the film he has been labouring over for two years — The Golden Hour.

“Got it,” he snaps, waking me from my dreamlike state.

And we step off the streetcar back into reality.

Jason Gray writes, directs, films, edits and even scores his own films. He knows that this is what he was meant to do with his life.

“There is nothing that makes me happier,” Gray says passionately. “That moment, when you are right in it, there is a euphoria you experience (that) I can’t put into words.”

The London filmmaker is having a screening preview of his third and most important short film at 9 p.m. Nov. 18 at Hyland Cinema (240 Wharncliffe Rd. S.).

The Golden Hour tells the story of lovers Daren and Amber. Daren is sick in hospital and Amber breaks him out so they can spend one last night together. As he shares his stories, she becomes the keeper of his memories.

“When there is limited time there is a certain vibrancy that comes through so the colour gets brighter and brighter just before it’s gone,” says Gray, whose personal health struggles have made him more appreciative of the finite nature of time.

“Suddenly all the things you take for granted are the most amazing things ever because you’re never going to get to do them again.

“I wanted to make a film in that space — with that level of intensity.”

Light and time weren’t the only elements Gray chased in making the film.

He spent weeks with his arms plunged into the murky waters of The Bloomin Bog Water Gardens in llderton, capturing the underwater development of the lotus flower, a prominent symbol in his film.

“These are images no human eye has ever seen in this particular place. It starts out under the water and chases the light and eventually breaches the surface of the water. It’s the undercurrent of the film,” says Gray.

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