"The Silence After Life" cover

Feature film released 2020 on Blink in the Endless

director and main cast statements

Sally Mortemore in a scene from the feature film The Silence After Life


Making "The Silence After Life” started after Daniel's intense but wonderful experience of working with screenwriters / directors Daniel and Matthew Wolfe to co-write the music score for their feature "Catch Me Daddy" (2014, STUDIOCANAL / Film4 / BFI). Seeing edit after edit of that film over a period of nine months unexpectedly awakened a 35 year old dream of filmmaking.

Although a newcomer to making features, Daniel had extensive experience of writing, producing, editing and releasing slow-change music so a cinematic equivalent of this music seemed possible, if ambitious. "A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland was a key inspiration for this film; her literary documentation of how the edges of our material world can blur and shimmer when we are faced with silence reflected his own personal experiences. The slowness, emptiness and loneliness of grief is depicted less often onscreen, particularly in terms of a spiritual reaction, so this felt like a subject worth tackling.

The choice to make main character Katherine mute for most of the film was therefore not just a way of making space for the score but was actually a key part of pushing the film beyond narrative and into gut-level experience. Although she is largely silent, Katherine was always written as a complex character; seemingly strong and aloof but also a vulnerable, awkward and lonely outsider.

Another reason for the minimal dialogue and extensive use of visions and nature is to very purposefully leave the narrative open to interpretation. Grief and spirituality are such personal experiences that Daniel wanted to give audiences the space for their own thoughts, feelings, beliefs and reactions. As such the film has been designed to be more visceral, raw, slow and beautiful than intellectual, rational, prescriptive or immediate.

The main supporting character of Claire was written as a lesbian Christian from the very first draft of the script. Although there have been more instances of LGTBQ+ characters within faith cultures in film in recent times - including the phenomenal "Disobedience" (2017, dir. Sebastián Lelio) - I thought it was important to show a low-key example of where being both LGBTQ+ and Christian does not need to be mutually incompatible or hidden in a church context, to reflect what is starting to happen in some churches in the UK.

Another key aspect of the film was to acknowledge how hard it can be to reconcile a very personal and intense spiritual experience to the traditions and forms of communal spirituality. Many people describing themselves as spiritual or as believers in a higher power really struggle with the concept and rituals of faith culture, as I did for decades. So, rather than explaining a religious text or worldview, "The Silence After Life" instead attempts to show what it feels like for Katherine to have and wrestle with such an intense experience of God, both on personal level and within a church context.


Working on "The Silence After Life" was an extraordinary experience - my character is silent for much of the film so everything was deeply internalised and as a result emotionally draining ... she cries a river! But it was the most wonderfully all-consuming piece and extremely meditative at times. I think poetic is a very apt word to describe it, poetic with some stunningly beautiful photography - I miss it!
- SALLY MORTEMORE - lead actor

"The Silence After Life" was a really beautiful and intimate film to be part of. All my scenes were with Sally and she is such a joy to work with. Daniel created a space for us to improvise around the script, which allowed us to deeply explore the emotions of the characters, their relationships to each other, and the silence that can exist in a space of grief. I think this sense of space and depth is really visible in the film.
- EMMA SPEARING - main supporting actor

The experience was amazing. The chance to work with professional actors on a truly collaborative film project was a dream-come-true for me, an actor who had only ever trodden the boards in amateur plays. I am so proud of this beautiful, spiritually explorative film about a truly human experience. It was an honour to play a part in it.
- LUCY ALFRED - supporting actor

Sunday 17 January 2021

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