A house with pre-medieval origins, presided over by a hippie laird…this would be the spark that inspired Us Among the Stones, the second feature film from writer/director D.R Hood. Just like the creation of a family home, this story became the foundation of a film that was 20 years in the making. “my sister told me about the house and its history and the story stuck with me over the years; these layers of history culminating in the 1960s, that era of liberation, travel, freedom,” says Hood, “As the story formed, I began to bump into people who had been young in the 60s…what lives and stories!”
Us Among the Stones follows Owen (Laurence Fox) for a weekend, in thrall to his dying mother, Marianne (Anna Calder-Marshall). Recently separated from the woman he loves, he attempts to do the right thing as a dutiful son. Meanwhile, his extended family also return to the house and their childhood roles and rituals. “We wanted to make the film like the house it is set in, full of moments rich and strange- however it is centred on Owen and his relationship with his ex-partner Caroline…the house holds all the inhabitants and their memories, their ghosts past and future, but Owen in this moment in this house is the person we’re focused on,” says Hood. “His story with Caroline is central…[at] the same time I am interested in how families function or fail to function- the most important conversations being held in corridors, the constant interruptions, the oxymoron of the ‘family dinner’.”
Hood’s first feature, Wreckers starred Benedict Cumberbatch, Claire Foy and Shaun Evans and won Best Film of the Perspectives Competition at the 2012 Moscow International Film Festival. Hood was also a nominee for Best British Newcomer at the 2011 London Film Festival and New Voices/New Visions Grand Jury Prize nominee at the 2012 Palm Springs International Film Festival. Some of her creative relationships from Wreckers were brought forward into Us Among the Stones, working again with Director of Photography Annemarie Lean-Vercoe, editor Claire Pringle and with Wreckers actress Sinead Matthews starring as ‘Anna’.