Shaun Hughes (Director)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


Bunny is a cinematic narrative short film. Development began early in 2017. Funding was secured from Scottish Film Talent Network (SFTN) with support from Creative Scotland and the BFI. Pre-production ran from September of 2017, with the 5-day shoot taking place in December of the same year. Post-production ran to early June of 2018 and the film had its World Premiere at the world-renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival on June 23rd 2018.

The project explores themes of childhood trauma, its effect on adult life, mental health, loneliness, and the necessity of familial support. It’s also a story about me, and my family. I am using personal experience and autobiographical details as narrative, and I’m interested in the points at which the personal and narrative intersect and disconnect.

I drew on my own childhood and experience with mental health issues in the writing of the script and combined this with invented characters and dramatic scenarios. I reflected on this to write a detailed off-screen backstory to give context to the on-screen story, as well as character monologues which I used to screentest my actors. I’m interested in investigating the distinction between authenticity and truth. I researched various disorders including Clinical Lycanthropy, Species Dysphoria and Boanthropy and spoke with medical professionals about the representation of each. Delusional Disorder with hints of Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) more accurately reflect the protagonist’s symptoms.

Aesthetically I'm interested in the photography of Gregory Crewdson; dramatic domestic scenes with muted colour palettes and strong juxtaposition of hard and soft light, and photographer William Eggleston's mastery of natural light.

Lenny Abrahamson’s Frank (2014) and Paul Wright’s For Those in Peril (2013) are key thematic references and subjective depictions of mental illness, grief and family. Harmony Korine’s Gummo (1997) in its depiction of community and poverty, themes of dislocation, mental illness and dysfunctional families, as well as its formal experimentation, is also relevant.

Bunny has screened at festivals around the world including the Academy Award qualifying Tampere Film Festival (Finland), Dublin International Film Festival (Ireland), Edinburgh International Film Festival (Scotland), and Blue Danube Film Festival (Vienna/Budapest). The film was also awarded the prestigious Celtic Media Festival Torc Award for Best Short Drama 2019. Bunny is soon to be broadcast on television as part of BBC Scotland’s Next Big Thing, which highlights quality short films from filmmaking talent in Scotland.

I have secured development funding through SFTN and Creative Scotland to develop the short into a feature film, and I’m currently seeking development partners in BBC Films and Film4.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEdinburgh International Film Festival
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2018
EventEdinburgh International Film Festival 2018 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jun 20181 Jul 2018


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