The Great Conjunction is an award-winning short film that tells the story of two very different people coming together amid complex emotions.
An ageing astronomer prepares to watch the rare conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn when his plans are disrupted by the arrival of his granddaughter. What was meant to be a beautiful night of solitude turns into one of shocking discovery.
Written and directed by Karolina Smolova as her MA graduation film at the University of Greenwich, The Great Conjunction vibrates with an undercurrent of tension that compels the viewer to keep watching.
Though the film takes on a dark subject, its character-first approach creates empathy and layers of complexity that put the viewer solidly in the astronomer’s shoes. Through him, we take in the beauty of the night sky—as well as the difficult issue he faces. The pastoral countryside becomes the backdrop to this revelation, casting everything in a new light.
The Great Conjunction received several awards, including Best UK Student Short Film at the Dirigo International Student Film Festival, Best Student Director at the Prague International Indie Film Festival, and Best Short Script at the Stockholm Film and Television Festival and at Sunday Shorts Film Festival. Karolina’s other alma mater, the University of Aberdeen, screened the film at their Dark Nights Film Festival.
Actor Dave Lee takes on the leading role of the astronomer and Chloe Brianne Panayi plays his granddaughter. Sound was designed by Michael Magill, who has also worked on Mad Max, The Dark Knight, and many more films. Anthony White composed the music.
A team of passionate young filmmakers and storytellers joined Karolina on the crew: Jose Pedrosa, Director of Photography; Quinn Richards, Casting Director; Flor Hidalgo, Production Designer; Joseph Hanna, First Assistant Director; Aarsh Upadhyay, Editor in Chief; Natalia Abrol, Sound OP & Social Media Manager; and Andreea-Aurora Seuleanu, Make-up Artist.
The film was financed through Crowdfunder and executive producers, including Trueblockhouse.com, for its production in 2021.
This heartbreaking yet hopeful drama marks Karolina as a promising young director, able to tackle the most difficult societal issues with nuance and keen insight.
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