Director's NotesThe anxiety around being accepted is electric at eleven. I remember that time being so strongly about friendships, being liked, and trying to find my place within it. When I connect to my own experiences of bullying, I can vividly remember the highly charged environment of intermediate school. This story is important to me because with fresh perspective it deals with the internal workings of cruelty, how betrayal is a type of heartbreak and how brutality exists in the smallest of actions. I am interested in those apparently minute moments, and their effects. Our casting and rehearsal processes were workshop-based. We wanted to make sure that the girls felt completely comfortable with the subject matter so we just did a lot of just hanging out, playing games and talking about the story. They shared their own stories about friendship and bullying and we gained a great amount of understanding during the workshop process for both script and direction. We shot the film at Pasadena Intermediate in Pt Chevalier, Auckland, which we chose for the school’s timeless feel; we wanted the world of the film to feel like it could be set at any time so as not to distract from the inner dynamics of the relationships. By keeping the teachers and the environment on the periphery, we wanted the audience to experience the film as if being part of the friendship group. I worked closely with DOP Ginny Loane to achieve an immersion in the story while maintaining instinctual and fluid performances. We shot full runs of scenes as much as possible so the actors got a chance to play the whole scene through; working with long lenses where we could so the actors weren’t so aware of the camera. Throughout the process of making Eleven we were supported by an extremely generous and professional crew. The best gift you can ever receive when telling a story are the stories it has prompted from others. Throughout the process, many members of the cast and crew had a story to share.