The film is about an elderly man named Gerald, who has his life thrown into disarray after the death of his wife Rosemary. He is heartbroken and lost. Life without her is incomplete and at the same time, Gerald’s run down film cinema is about to be shutdown. With Gerald’s life falling apart, everything seems hopeless. That is until a secret message from Rosemary is discovered, which leads him on the trail of a mystery. This dramatic and sweet short film pays tribute to the dying form of cinema, and a husband’s everlasting love.
The film’s concept started whilst I was working at the Mornington Cinemas as an usher. Between film sessions, the owner Ian (the main inspiration for the character of Gerald) recanted the story of his life and his marriage to his now passed wife Tessa (the inspiration for the character Rosemary). The story was a soft yet poignant tale of love and loss. I was quite taken by it and asked if I could write about it as I believed it would make a great film.
The story blossomed and Gerald manifested into such a deep and interesting character. He is a lost soul, a half missing his other half. Whilst Rosemary has gone, life will never be the same and he knows that. The cinema itself is foreclosing and this is a physical representation of his marriage. He is at his lowest point, yet the mystery that is left behind reinvigorates his spirit, giving him reason to keep going.
I used the story of Ian and Tessa as the main focal point, drawing from films that I found beautiful. Cinema Paradiso for the love of the medium of film/the experience of the cinema. Her for its portrayal of tender love with only the physical presence of one character. The opening marriage sequence of the animation Up in the way an entire life was told so quickly, but so profoundly. All of these films played a pivotal part in inspiring the tone of the film. This is by far the most refined, well crafted and technically challenging film I have made. As a filmmaker, you usually start your career doing multiple roles, so it was a delight to have other crew members who were just as dedicated and passionate. The idea to shoot parts on Super 8 was such a rewarding and enjoyable experience. It makes this project unique from many other shorts, as these sequences feel at home within the narrative
I like to think of FOR THE LOVE OF CINEMA as a light drama, but more so a portrayal of romance. I had always set out to make a film that was conveyed the beauty in its simplicity, in the eternal love between a man and his wife. Hopefully we have achieved this and it was an honour to tell Ian and Tessa’s story.
The film was developed out of a writing task set during Riley's final year at university. The task was to write a short film that did not accede 8 minutes. After much contemplation. Riley had multiple ideas, however there was a nagging sensation at one.
This idea was spawned from Riley's workplace, Mornington Cinemas, in which he works as an usher. The owner of the cinemas, Ian McCann told him the story of his wife's death and how it had effected him. It was both a sad and inspiring love story.