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Slamdance: There Were Four of Us

Who did it? Four figures are in a room that is enclosed yet constantly shifting in shape, form and color. The question appears “who did it?” and one of the figures confesses. The vision of the room shifts into other shapes and imaginings. Everything and everyone is awash in bright ’80s retro colors. A narrator whose barely registerable voice becomes clearer as the dream continues tells us a story of loss and the need for closure. Dreams help us process trauma and pain. Even when they give us no clear answers.

Cassie Shao’s experimental short film There Were Four of Us transports the viewer into a chaotic dream world that is sad, beautiful and hypnotizing. Inspired by the passing of her grandfather and a dream she had about four people in a room, Shao’s film gives us a filtered lens that peaks into her mind and soul.

“In the dream we each shared a moment in our life and realised that the symbol of death connected all of us together; that we were essentially one. This dream served as the structure of the film.”

Cassie Shao

There Were Four of Us is an animated short, just under 7 minutes and Shao combines digital 2D characters, 3D graphic elements, pastels, silkscreens and paint and sand on glass to create her visuals.

I love experimental short films because they allow me to dive into the mind of a creator and watch their imagination at work.

There Were Four of Us screened at the 2020 Slamdance Film Festival.

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