“I’ve always loved watching snooker. Don’t ask me where I got it from, I’m the only person in my family who’s into it,” explains filmmaker Louis-Jack, “before I even knew the rules, I was just utterly mesmerised by it on the TV.” Based in London, Louis-Jack has recently worked with Bafta-nominated writer Kenny Emson and production company Pavilion – AKA Morgan Faverty and Jake Evans – to concept a film which explores the psychological aspect of snooker, and the toll it often takes on its top players.
It was while working on his last film, Sink or Swim that Louis-Jack’s directorial focus shifted towards highlight issues with mental health. “It’s a hugely important issue that I feel very strongly about wanting to explore in new and innovative ways,” he tells It’s Nice That. When Louis-Jack met Kenny through a friend, the pair realised their mutual love of snooker and “a few frames down the snooker club on Holloway Road turned into a script for a short film”.
Petrichor delves into the mind of Liam “Lightning” Daniels, an ageing snooker player preparing for his final professional game. “Liam is a has-been. He’s refused to accept that his career was over years ago. Psychological warfare on the table, a life lived from a suitcase and relentless losses have left him a shell of a man,” describes Louis-Jack. “Snooker has an incredible history of amazing characters. Many of the most compelling players to watch – the mercurial geniuses of the green baize – have experienced severe mental illness and volatile personal lives,” he adds, “I thought that a portrait of a snooker player would not only make for thrilling drama but could, in turn, be a powerful vehicle for exploring mental illness.”
The short takes its name from the pleasant smell in the air when it rains after a long period of warmth. This smell is caused by the settled dust which the rain then kicks up. “Dust is a recurring visual metaphor in the film and the main character’s nickname, ‘The Lightning’ also relates to this and carries it through the film,” Louis-Jack outlines.
In order to pitch the film and convey their visual ideas, Louis-Jack and Kenny enlisted the help of Joe Townsend of Housework Press to create a pitch book. Divided into seven parts, the pitch book represents the various snooker ball colours and outlines different aspects of the film. Starting with an overview, it then moves onto the script, vision, characters and locations, team, production and, lastly, “secret plans for a snooker-related feature film”.
Each booklet is Risograph printed with grey ink on black paper, evoking the darkness of a snooker club as well as the visual motif of dust. The seven parts then come packaged in a custom-made black box to mimic the ritual of opening a box of snooker balls. Petrichor and its resulting pitch book is a prime example of how design can be utilised to visually communicate. Moody and atmospheric, the pages of each booklet are evocative and visceral, providing a glimpse into a film we will hopefully soon be able to watch!
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