I WON’T BE GOING BACK TO QUETICO PARK ANYTIME SOON. NOT AFTER WHAT HAPPENED TO A GIRL NAMED FRANCIS BRANDYWINE.
Written by novelist & screenwriter Dave Eggars, for the ever-popular radio show This American Life, animated film Francis is the tense tale of the unexplained happenings on a lake in the middle of an Ontario nature reserve.
HER MOUTH WENT DRY. SHE HELD ONTO EACH SIDE OF THE BOAT, AND NOW SHE COULD ONLY WAIT TO SEE IF IT HAPPENED AGAIN.
One night on a family camping trip to Quetico park, the reckless raven-haired Francis waits until her family have fallen asleep and takes a rowing boat out to the middle of the lake. Hoping to find a quiet spot where the teenager can lay on her back, stare at the sky and write in her journal, her expectations of a peaceful night at one with nature are soon shattered when an unexpected noise comes from the water below.
With a voiceover so rich and detailed that you could close your eyes and let your imagination run wild, it’s impressive that Hickey’s short feels so perfectly realised.
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This film is a perfect lesson in building tension, the narrator uses pauses and varies the speed at which he speaks in order to build the tension.
Create freeze frames from throughout the story and before watching ask children to piece together what has happened.
Use the line 'I did knock first' as inspiration to create own ghost stories.
Children can write a prequel set in the same environment but with their own plot.
Create a sequel - what happened to Francis Bradywine?
Newspaper stories of the event, children create a journalistic report describing the strange events and Francis Brandywine's disappearance, including local experts and witnesses.
Children can create mysterious openings for similar stories.
It may be a creative activity to create Francis's diary/journal telling the story through doodles and extracts.