Chardonné’s ‘passion project’ makes Amsterdam festival
These days, body shaming is frowned upon. Yet we still put tremendous pressure on ourselves to sculpt that coveted “beach body” each year, causing stress, self-esteem issues, and even depression. These themes are poignantly explored in Chardonné Paynter’s film, Consumed.
“Consumed is a short film, approximately three minutes long; about a woman who is obsessed with her desire to lose weight – but also her love of food,” she explained. “It features a woman who sets a wildly unrealistic goal to lose weight for a girls’ trip to Rio. In the short, she goes through an internal struggle, and a self-deprecating journey, to achieve the perfect physique.”
The struggles depicted in Consumed are quite universal for people with weight concerns; many of us will recognise our own plights in the unnamed protagonist’s story. It was the universality of the narrative that attracted attention from Atlantic Bridge Film Festival in Amsterdam, which gave Consumed the prestigious designation of “Official Selection”.
“I posted the film on YouTube five years ago and didn’t think much would become of it because of its low production value (I made it with less than $500). I was wrong,” Ms Paynter said.
“To my surprise, I was contacted by Atlantic Bridge Film Festival and informed that Consumed was preselected by the judges to participate in the festival. I was honoured to say the least. Being a part of the festival means international recognition and a chance to win a cash prize. The film is still in the judging stages.”
Consumed features only two very brief lines of dialogue and Ms Paynter is the only actor seen on screen for its entire run. She explained the rationale behind the style: “I believe some of the most impactful stories are told without words. I don’t have a load of free time, but I also love movies, so I tend to watch a lot of short films on YouTube. There was one short I recall in particular without any dialogue – The Elevator – that inspired me to write my own short.
“I wanted to challenge myself to tell a story without the aid of language, or with as little dialogue as possible, and within the time constraint of a short; so, I set out to write Consumed.”
Ms Paynter continued: “Weight loss and fitness has been a lifelong journey for me, and, if I’m being quite honest, a borderline obsession – so, I set out to share my story surrounding that theme. I also wanted to create something that made others feel like they were seen.
“It was a passion project, which I wrote in about 20 minutes and filmed in under six hours.”
A seasoned actor, Ms Paynter is especially proud of the time she spent in the celebrated Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“I was living in New York working on films in an ‘extra’ capacity for about a year to get on-set experience. My proudest moment was seeing myself on television for the first time on Marvel’s Luke Cage.
“When growing up, being an actor wasn’t pushed as a viable career choice – it was always doctor, lawyer, or insurance. Although I was an extra with no speaking part on Luke Cage, I proved to myself that I could actually do this as a career.”
Ms Paynter’s early inspiration came from her mother, Oneka Paynter, who was a professional singer and dancer.
“I accompanied her to her many gigs and was absolutely enchanted by her shows at Sonesta Beach Hotel,” she said.
“My first taste of acting was at Saltus, when I was in Evita produced by Sally Lintott. I took an acting elective in university and the rest is history.”
Her recent selection into the Netherlands festival has rejuvenated her drive to get back in the film industry. She also finds purpose in sharing her gift with other Bermudians.
“Landing a spot in Atlantic Bridge Film Festival has expanded my future goals; I now see myself not only as a full-time working actor and acting teacher, but also a film-maker.
“I’ve recently taught an acting class for the Department of Culture, so I also see myself giving back to my community by sharing my knowledge and inspiring locals who have always wanted to try their hand at acting,” Ms Paynter said.
The Atlantic Bridge Film Festival is an ongoing festival with screenings in New York and Amsterdam. The main event was held on Saturday in Amsterdam. For more information visit www.filmatlanticbridge.com