Edicius: Idris Elba-backed thriller short is big on ambition and style

The movie awards season may still be months away, but the campaign trail to Oscar and BAFTA glory begins now, and one such hopeful is Edicius, an ambitious short from Uzo Oleh, produced by Idris Elba.

HCC attended a private screening with writer-director Oleh, cinematographer Tristan Chenais, and Elba. Visually inventive, with nods to Fight Club and Layer Cake, Edicius proves to be right up our movie strasse, and the creative team will be no stranger to HCC readers.

Production design is by Philip Murphy (Saving Private Ryan), and the sound design is by Glenn Freemantle, who took Oscar gold with his ground-breaking work on Gravity. Unusually for a short, it comes with a full orchestral score by Thomas Farnon (The Crown).

Edicius stars Michael Socha (Chernobyl, This is England), Adele ‘Adesuwa’ Oni (Hanna and The Witcher), Stuart Bowman (Bodyguard) and newcomer Sahera Khan. Socha plays Jason, someone who's clearly in deep with ruthless criminals. His life is on the line, options limited. Then a startling visit from his doppelganger gives him fresh hope. But should he trust his intuition?

The short has sci-fi inflections, but in reality it's a visualisation of mental health. 'I hope you get what we were going for' says Oleh. 'We have conversations with ourselves, in our head, all the time. "Should I do this? Should I do that?" So what would it be like if you met that person?'

'This isn’t really a short movie,' the cinematographer tells us, 'it’s more a proof of concept.'


Director Oleh (pictured, right) confirms that Edicius is a taster, with more to come. 'I’m writing a bigger feature screenplay right now. I think it makes a lot of sense for this story, this world, to be expanded.'

Speaking at the screening, producer Idris Elba adds: 'It’s an incredible-looking film. It’s beautifully shot and graded. The performance is Oscar-worthy, if that means anything. I’ve had the same kind of inner thoughts since I was a kid, it’s been a big thing for me. The story resonated with me.'

Director Oleh cut his teeth in the commercial and fashion worlds, and brings that same sharp-suited aesthetic to the screen. The result looks bigger than its budget. Chenais shot the movie on an Arri Alexa with old-school Panavision lenses. Meticulous motion control was used to capture Socha’s double-handed performance.

'It’s a magic trick,' says Chenais. 'We used motion control, with the computer taking control of the camera, so you get the same shot over and again, Pass A and Pass B. With the actor changing position and wardrobe, we can then blend the two in post-production.'

The film has been a hit on the festival rounds, screening at Raindance, the Norwich Film Festival, Leeds International Film Festival and Sci-fi London. Now Edicius heads back onto the circuit, where it hopes to garner enough support for Awards nomination. Catch it if you can.

Maybe twice.