"Francis goes boating at the Quetico natural park."
Francis is a short film that is the result of an interesting case of adaptation from the written media to the visual one. Adapted from a short story by novelist and screenwriter Dave Eggers, the idea for the film was originally conceived when radio host Ira Glass, from the radio show “This American Life”, asked a number of writers to create a short story about “Adventure”. The story premiered first on the radio and was later turned into a short film.
Director Richard Hickey chose to keep the voice-over, omniscient narrator, and used visuals to potentiate the story through the expressive qualities of the main character (both facial and body language), the staging, framing (for ex. portraying the character’s helplessness through wide shots of the boat in the middle of the lake), camera moves (some fast dollies, spinning cameras, etc.), off-screen space (for the unseen character), editing rhythm and sound.
Staged in a natural environment, a lot of effort has been dedicated to creating the 3D scenery of the lake and its surroundings, with special attention dedicated to lighting.
The complementing visuals and voice-over work very effectively, transmitting the sense of loss of control, increasing conflict and suspense, which immerse the viewer into the film. Francis is a great example of adaptation from the written medium, which in this unusual case happened to premiere first on a radio show.