Directed by Aaron Poole
ORACLE examines the point in a child’s life when anxiety and fear enter into their operating experience. As home renovations surround them, a boy continues his play and exploration; but the chaos of construction and the preoccupation of his parents is slowly internalized, manifesting in sleep-walking and an abstract fever dream that catapults his consciousness into adult realms of obsession and dread.
ORACLE explores the first intrusion of adult ideas and obsession into our minds. It visually correlates innocence with curiosity, surrender with awe- while building an odd, dread filled rite-of-passage. The film looks at the almost religious role our parents can play in their control of a space, and how, in some cases, a child’s innate capacity may be too much for the family to contain.
As I’m starting to write and direct my own work, I find I’m interested in exploring how common fear and excitement can sometimes escalate into deeper and prolonged experiences of dread and awe. As an actor and creative-producer, I’ve worked in naturalistic, plot-driven stories for almost twenty years, but during the making of ORACLE I discovered I was less interested in using naturalistic devices than I might have thought. At each stage of production, I found I was becoming more and more preoccupied with how, for example, pairing the “right image” with the “wrong sound” could create a kind of interruption to my programmed assumptions about what was “natural”. During the edit, we went all in and drew on odd combinations of my experiences in the horror genre and abstract theatre to navigate the sparse kind of story the film became. I realized sparse and abstract elements were a concrete way for me to invite people to lean forward and wonder - and were also a simple parallel to the experience of the story’s protagonist.
Written and Directed | Aaron Poole
Produced | Breann Smordin
Director of Photography | Nikolay Michaylov
Editor & Associate Producer | Orlee Buium
Co-Producer | Derrick O'Toole
Executive Producer | Peter Harvey
Casting | Jesse Griffiths
Boy | Carl MH Brooks
Mama | Sarah Naomi Campbell
Dada | Adam Pelee
Dark Silhouette | Joy Mode
Brother | Keith Brooks
1st Assistant Director | Derrick O'Toole
2nd Assistant Director | Jing Bian
Production Designer | Ashely Devereux
On Set Dresser | Abby Bruce
Set Dresser | Krystyna Byers
Props Master | Rachel Ford
1st Assistant Camera | Roshan Hamid
2nd Assistant Camera | Brandon Tang
Gaffer | Blake Hutchinson
Gaffer | Keenan Lynch
Key Grip | Minsoo Koh
Swing | Francis Laliberte
Sound Recordist | Benjamin Barton
Costume Designer | Jasmine Nichols
Key Hair & Makeup Artist | Eren Bentsel
Script Supervisor | Samantha Wyss
Transportation Captain | Matthew Wittig
Assistant Editor | Arielle Skolnik
Project Manager | Melissa Glidden
Online Editor | Allan O'Hara
Colourist | Mike Dobroski
Sales Executive | Mike McConnell
Rerecording Mixer | Paul Shubat
Foley Artist | John Elliot
Foley Mixer | Steve Copley
Packaging & Online VFX Editor | Ed Ham
Score Composed | Blitz/Berlin
About the Team
Aaron Poole - Director/Writer
Aaron Poole is from Craighurst, Ontario, a town of a hundred people north of Toronto. He trained classically as an actor and has appeared in over 100 productions for stage, film, and series. With roles that include two seasons in Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana's "Copper"; cult horrors "The Conspiracy" and "The Void"; and leading opposite Donald and Kiefer Sutherland in TIFF gala “Forsaken", Aaron's opportunities have begun to expand outside Canada. This year he was seen stateside in “The Empty Man”, “Stardust”, and alongside Christoph Waltz in “Most Dangerous Game”. “Oracle” (TIFF ‘19) is his directorial debut. He is currently shopping his first feature, “Dada”, in which a teen daughter and her young father destroy their relationship with nonsense games while camping beside the world’s largest nuclear power plant.
Breann Smordin - Producer
This is Breann’s first completed short film as Producer, though she has been working in the Toronto film industry since 2013. After graduating from York University’s distinguished Bachelor of Arts Program in Media, Film and Theatre Studies she began to work on set on productions such as “The Plateaus” (CBC 2015) and “Paranormal Survivor” (Our House Media 2013). In 2015 Breann began to work with notable studio productions such as Hallmark’s “Good Witch” (2015), One Race Production’s “XXX: Return of Xander Cage” (2016), Mark Gordon’s “Conviction” (2016), MGM’s “Condor”(2017), and many other large scale projects. Since then Breann has helped to coordinate features such as Lone Scherfig’s, “The Kindness of Strangers” (2019), Jim Mickle’s, “In the Shadow of the Moon” (2019) and most recently assisted the Producer, Director and cast on Chris McBride’s, “The Education of Fredrick Fitzell”.
Nikolay Michaylov - Cinematographer
Born in 1989 in Sofia, Bulgaria, Nikolay Michaylov studied film at Ryerson University and started his career as a cinematographer in 2014. His cinematography credits include: “Anne at 13,000 Feet” (2019), “How Heavy This Hammer” (2015), “Fail to Appear” (2017), and “The Intestine” (2016). His films have screened at many film festivals including; Toronto International Film Festival, Berlinale, Art of the Reel, BAFICI, and Cinéma du Réel. Nikolay's first short as a director "It's No Real Pleasure in Life" (2016) played at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma and screened in Toronto as a part of MDFF Selects.
Orlee Buium - Editor/Associate Producer
Orlee Buium is a Toronto-based film editor who has spent the last 15 years balancing her love of film with her passion for the outdoors. She completed a BFA in Film Production and Screenwriting at York University, where she edited several short films, one of which won a CCE Student Merit Award. Recently, she completed the Editors’ Lab at the Canadian Film Centre. Buium has spent many years in the cutting room, learning from generous mentors on feature films and television shows such as “The Expanse” (2015 - ---), “Between” (2015 - ---), “The Kindness of Strangers” (2019), “Un Traductor” (2018) and “Below Her Mouth” (2016). Some of Orlee’s recent editing credits include feature films “Queen of the Morning Calm”, and “The Corruption of Divine Providence”. Recent short films include “Oracle” (2019), “Flood” (2019), “Bathroom Rules” (2018) and various short form work on “The Expanse”.