SODA Academic’s Film ‘Hoard’ Shines at Venice International Film Festival Premiere

Hoard, a daring and provocative new film from Luna Carmoon, produced by School of Digital Arts (SODA) Senior Lecturer in Filmmaking, Loran Dunn, had its world premiere this weekend at the prestigious Venice International Film Festival.

Saura Lightfoot Leon, Luna Carmoon and Joseph Quinn at the 80th Venice International Film Festival – Photo © 2023 Alice BL Durigatto

A film about childhood trauma and the way it can manifest itself in adulthood, HOARD follows the life of Maria (initially played by Lily-Beau Leach) across two decades, starting in 1984 when she is aged seven and living with her mother, played by Hayley Squires. They create their own world, enveloped in love and collected shiny rubbish given new and special meaning – until one night, when everything falls apart and Maria’s life is changed forever.

We join Maria again in 1994, now played by Saura Lightfoot Leon, when a stranger comes to visit her. Michael, played by Stranger Things actor Joseph Quinn, brings with him a stench of shared trauma that can’t be ignored.

Loran said of the film, ‘For me, the film has a very special and powerful energy, a frequency, it vibrates and resonates, it creates a feeling that is almost intangible as it creeps up on you – but is deeply affecting.

‘We’ve been completely blown away by the response to the film. We received an extended standing ovation, and you really can’t ask for a better reaction than that! Audiences and critics alike are responding to the resonant emotional truth and daring creative expression of the film – and this is everything we had hoped for.

Loran Dunn (left) with the Hoard team at the Venice International Film Festival – Photo © 2023 Alice BL Durigatto

‘It has also been a huge pleasure and privilege to supported by the leadership team at SODA, who have been an incredible champion for me and my practice, and all the exceptional staff at the University.’

SODA was proud to co-host the post premiere event for the film with the British Council, with Interim Head of SODA, Jill Griffiths and Interim Deputy Head of the School of Digital Arts (SODA), Professor Kirsty Fairclough in attendance.

L/R: Kirsty Fairclough, Loran Dunn and Jill Griffiths from the School of Digital Arts (SODA)

Jill Griffiths commented, ‘It was a huge pleasure and privilege to be able to support, with the British Council, the premiere of HOARD – an astonishing, visceral and unique film of love and obsession, loneliness and connection. With an outstanding cast, distinctive and original director Luna Carmoon and the talents of SODA’s brilliant Loran Dunn, and Helen Simmons and Andrew Starke producing, this is fierce and unflinching storytelling.

‘At SODA, every voice is valued and telling stories is our mission. Loran’s work as both film producer and senior lecturer embodies our approach within the School, connecting industry and art, practice and research, and teaching and learning, and shows how powerful this can be.’

To find out more about Filmmaking and our other courses at SODA, click here.