The Ridge Grave Girls: The Newest Addition to St Andrews Student Film.
The first time I saw the instagram page of The Ridge Grave Girls, I was hooked. ‘A queer and feminist short film in the making’ the profile said, co-directed by Junko Kwok and Tatiana Coleman. Having read some of Kwok’s work before through creative writing and editing workshops, I knew that her style and ideas were firmly rooted in a spectacular combination of macabre, queerness, and adolescence. I immediately hit the follow button and waited with bated breath for the film to be finished.
It certainly did not disappoint.
The Ridge Grave Girls follows Ethereality “Ther” Estridge as she becomes the prom queen of her town’s small Christian high school. Most girls in her position would be overjoyed, but there’s a catch – each of the four prom queens before her have died. Filming on an old camcorder, she explains each of their deaths and the legends surrounding their memories. With help from her transmasc boyfriend Ronin, Ther has to find a way to break free from the curse of the Ridge Grave Girls, or risk being buried with them.
Setting the film up as being a found film documentary, it circumvents one of the critical problems with student productions: budget. Kwok paid out of her own pocket for the production, which meant that the team had to get pretty creative. They filmed scenes in university buildings such as the Buchannan lecture theater and used what has been described as a blue lightsaber to create the ominous lighting that characterizes the whole film.
However, just because finances were tight, doesn’t mean that the film is lacking in either its acting nor its cinematography. Sophie (Ther) and Greta (Ronin) were both incredible leads, and delivered Junko’s rich and wonderful voiceovers in a compelling and believable way. An honorable mention has to also go to the corridor scene, filmed in a point-of-view focus. Not only must the coordination for this have been next to impossible, but it also fully brings to life the claustrophobic and slightly threatening situation of being drunk in a frat house. Both dancing scenes, the one in the graveyard and the one in the field were incredibly well done, and the scene of the dead girls on East Sands toward the end of the film gave me shivers.
Although one scene on the swings could be seen as slightly cliché, overall Kwok and Coleman have created a masterpiece together that will not be quickly forgotten in the St Andrews arts community. I for one, cannot wait until the short film is released on YouTube. Instead of counting time in Taylor Swift ‘All Too Wells,’ I’ll be measuring it in slots of The Ridge Grave Girls.
by Georgina (she/her)
A message from Carrie (Marketing Officer):
"Ridge Grave Girls questions why girls are most loved when they’re dead. In ‘‘THE RIDGE GRAVE GIRLS", we deconstruct the romanticisation of dead girls on screen. it is our reclamatory feminist and queer short film: giving the dead girl her voice back.
This film is a labour of love made by students from the University of St Andrews... The [second] film screening will happen in Buchanan Theatre on Thursday, November 9th from 6:15-7:15pm with presale tickets selling now. Presale tickets will be priced at £2 and general tickets being priced at £3. The tickets are being sold at this link (https://fixr.co/event/the-ridge-grave-girls-film-screening-tickets-118495795).
More information can be found on www.ridgegravegirls.com."