Short Film Profile

The Trial

Joseph Grigson is placed under arrest for a crime he didn’t commit. To prove his innocence, he is offered the chance to take part in an experimental new form of interrogation that will ascertain an absolute verdict without the necessity to go to court. After signing his life away to Hollerman-Yeung, the scientific corporation behind this revolutionary judicial process, Joseph undergoes an ordeal beyond his imagination.

Film notes

Although it features a character named Joseph undergoing a bizarre legal process, The Trial is not a development on the Franz Kafka novella of the same name.
Instead, it is a proof-of-concept short for a feature-length project developed by writer/directors Philip Arnold and Mark Player, which also revolves around themes of telepathy and cerebral invasion.

However, rather than merely lifting a sequence out from this feature-length script, the directors felt that this shorter project needed to stand as its own piece, taking elements from its parent and building a different, more compact narrative. The story was eventually fashioned into a mini-prequel for the larger script: offering a sign of things to come in this fictional universe. This decision was made partly because the experimental, clandestine and makeshift nature of an earlier encephalic procedure (a core element of the story) would be more achievable with the limited resources of a short film budget.

The work marks the first time both filmmakers have jointly written and directed a project; a practice they look forward to repeating during production of their first feature-length film. After tackling a variety of first-time challenges, including filming an underwater sequence and the construction of a large-scale laboratory set, The Trial, then, proved to be an appropriate project title for a number of reasons.


Copyright © 2013 Mark Player / Philip Arnold

Previous screenings

24 Apr – 4 May | London, United Kingdom
6 Jun – 22 Jun | Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Fantasia International Film Festival
17 Jul – 5 Aug | Montréal, Canada
8 Aug – 10 Aug | Cape Town, South Africa
9 Aug – 16 Aug | Cork, Ireland
26 Sep – 5 Oct | Richland, United States
Fargo Fantastic Film Festival | 2014
24 Oct – 26 Oct | Fargo, United States
29 Oct – 2 Nov | Trieste, Italy

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Information on this profile is provided by the film owners and/or compiled from available sources | Profile updated 11 Apr 2014