The Off Season
Life doesn’t always play fair
Kicking a soccer ball is the only escape for a young boy struggling to come to terms with the absence of his father. In his grief, he becomes available to the world of ghosts, where he discovers a boy caught between life and death. He realises soccer is the key to helping the boy – and in the process finds a way to get over his loss and restart his own life.
NOTES FROM THE DIRECTOR
The Off Season is the story of a boy whose life is in upheaval after the recent loss of his father. It is a look into the young boy’s life at a time when he is in great pain. His pain resonates to such a degree that he connects with another young boy, who appears as a ghost to him. He recognises an even deeper pain in the other boy and senses that he can help him - and in doing so allows himself to move on in his own life.
Having suffered a trauma regarding the recent loss of his father, our boy triggers an event that allows him to see another boy appear outside his window. Each night, at the same time, the other boy plays out the same sequence of events over and over again: he appears and stands at the roads edge. Each time he goes to step out on the road a car roars out from nowhere threatening to run him down.
In a strange dream, our boy sees himself and the other boy being transported in an ambulance. First he sees the other boy lying across from him with paramedics working on him, then as he looks up it appears that paramedics are working on him and that the other boy is lying on his other side.
The story finally concludes with our boy going down to the roadside, distracting the boy and offering him his own soccer ball that his father has given him. The car passes both boys without incident and disappears into the night. This act gives our boy strength to move forward in his own life. We leave the story with our boy’s friends coming into his garden to play soccer, breaking the isolation he has imposed upon himself.
In The Off Season, atmosphere is an important construct for the story and the plot to play out in. It is an impressionistic and notional story that is conveyed as much through the main characters as through cinematography, music and sound. The atmosphere in part reflects the inner world of both of the boys. In their world shifting light and darkness are a constant, and there is the unchanging threat of the road outside his window. When we are in the boy’s bedroom and house there is the constant reminder of the road outside by way of shifting light across walls and objects and the constant hum and swish of road traffic.
In the film, darkness and shifting light create a dense, constantly changing landscape for the story to play out in. It’s a world where we can’t quite see the edges of things, corners are dark and unlit, surfaces are hazy and ill-defined.
The Off Season is a film about tragedy and loss, family breakdown, isolation and finally redemption. The principal theme of The Off Season is not so much a ghost story but a story about overwhelming sadness and the importance of connecting to those who are still in this world.