Clear Blue Director Lindsay MacKay on How to Make a Splash

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Published March 25, 2011

 

A STILL FROM CLEAR BLUE.

The recipient of a College Television Award (aka Student Emmy) for her medium short thatscreened last week at South by Southwest, Lindsay MacKay exclaimed in a recent interview, “I think I’ve seen every single pool in LA!” Clear Blue tells the story of Simon, the new lifeguard at a community pool, and Flova, an elderly woman whose odd (and ultimately disturbing) underwater swimming capacity excites him. The film’s meticulous production, which MacKay pairs off with a sense of humour—”This movie,” she joked, “was my very own OCD project”—is hauntingly sublime in its unity.

Elaborating on the film’s production, producer Brent Martin explained the process of shooting underwater. “We developed hand signals to really get the right performances and intimacy. [The actors] would stay almost forty-five minutes underwater, taking breaths of compressed air in between takes.”

From its score, a trance-like hymn broken only by stopwatch clicks and impulsive dives, to its eerie and nearly transparent aqua blue palette, MacKay and her AFI crew’s portrait the of swimming pool is less Hockney and more folklore, with a splash of Ron Howard’s Splash. As MacKay discovered in her research and writing process, “almost every culture has a Siren-y story about a woman underwater that brings a man towards her.”