Only Child is a brooding and poignant reflection on grief, written and directed by Andy Toovey, who won The Pitch in 2014. It has received multiple awards, including Best UK Short at Oxford, Limerick and Winchester film festivals, and a BAFTA Cymru nomination.
Below you can watch the finished film, hear more about Andy’s experiences with The Pitch and see his original entry.
Eva lives as an outsider within the gypsy community, stranded between her workaholic husband Yuri and the affections of gypsy leader, Davro. But their secret affair is threatened by the discovery that Eva is pregnant.
It's inspired by the story of King David’s affair with Bathsheba, as recounted in 2 Samuel chapter 12.
Only Child is available on Vimeo and embedded below.
Name: Andy Toovey
Location: Pontypool, South Wales
How would you define yourself now?
• Director of Photography and Writer
• Founder & Director 2V Studio Production Company
What stage of your career were you at when you applied to The Pitch?
Enthusiastic, hobbyist filmmaker. Didn’t have a clue about writing or directing.
I believe you entered The Pitch a couple of times and won the second time. What would you say you learnt from the first year that stood you in good stead for the second?
I went away from the first year with a niggling sense I knew I didn’t have a lot of personal connection to the idea. I didn’t have a ‘need’ to make the film or feel passionate about it. I had to think about a story that I really cared about – something that would really grip me and so I started looking at that.
I took advice from Simon Cookson when I got to the Top 10. In fact I tried to get as much advice as I could from others.
One piece of advice that Simon gave me was to take judges questions as an invitation to collaborate, not to feel defensive, but to take other people’s input as collaboration rather criticism.
Can you tell us about the production support you received from RIF for ‘Only Child’
Production support was massive
• Having a decent budget of £25K
• Connections to people e.g. Phil Wood - who is fantastic
• Casting Directors who had quality actors on their books which really helped with selecting actors
• Connections in post-production e.g. Max Horton, the colourist I used had worked on Gravity previously
• Generally their input and mentoring was fantastic!
How much development was involved from what you pitched in the boardroom to what we see as the final short film? E.g. how many drafts did you produce?
The film idea I pitched in the boardroom compared to the final film are worlds apart! There was probably 6 or 7 drafts. In the end I probably used about one paragraph out of my original script as I focussed in on one moment, developed that, cutting the rest out.
How important is the title of a short film?
That’s funny actually. I saw Only Child as having several meanings. Yes, it’s very relevant. I imagined Eva as an only child and I imagined the big hope in her life was to have a child. In the eventual film it was about her and Davro but I still think the title is very appropriate
What were the key themes you were looking to explore with ‘Only Child’ and why?
The big themes were:-
• Loss (and the affect that has)
• Awkwardness of grief
• Power of sharing a burden
• Isolation – The poster about the film has a picture of Eva in the caravan window looking very much alone
I believe ‘Only Child’ was nominated for BAFTA Cymru. What other kinds of success have you had at other film festivals?
Only Child has been selected for numerous festivals. More impressively it has won several awards - Best British Short at Oxford, Winchester and Limerick and various other Cinematography awards.
A huge achievement and a huge surprise was the BAFTA Cymru nomination. There is a lot of welsh film funding so inevitably one or two will pop up in the BAFTAs. The Short Film category is always very competitive so to get an outside film getting nomination was incredible really.
I believe you are pretty active in your local community/involved in lots of projects. Can you tell us something about your current work load?
Yes I’m busy!
• Leadership team of my local church
• Run Community Filmmaking workshops through TorFilm
• Run my own company 2V Studios
• Director of Photography work
• Dad to two young kids
It’s all good though!
What would be your over riding tip for anyone who is considering to apply this year?
Don’t make excuses. Find a way to enter. Just do it! Find something you have a personal connection to. Find a story that’s already in your life as this will breathe authenticity into the story. It will have more chance of connecting with other people that way.
Here is the original video pitch for Only Child: