Short Film Spotlight: IN VITRO (2015) directed by Toby Stephens

In many ways, short films can be just more effective and compelling than feature films. IN VITRO is a prime example, which marks an excellent directorial debut from British thespian Toby Stephens.

In Vitro posterI found out about its Indiegogo campaign last year and I’m glad to be one of its backers. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the screening in London, and at present I’m still waiting for my request to interview Toby. I hope one day I could post that interview, but in the meantime, I want to spotlight his excellent work, currently available on We Are Colony.

In VITRO is only 18min long but it packs a punch. The film follows the fractured journey of a man dealing with the still-taboo subject of infertility.

In a commentary in We Are Colony, Toby “…wanted to tell the story from a male perspective because it is a largely unheard voice, but no less valid aspect on this subject, that helps reveal the moral complexities of procreation.”

Well, he certainly achieved that in this film, presenting the subject matter as it is without judging one side or the other. It’s not preachy nor did he try to push a certain agenda, but the story is definitely thought-provoking. This isn’t a topic that I think about much but it made me think about what if I were in the characters’ shoes… how would I feel? What would I have done?

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The film was written and directed by Toby Stephens himself and stars his Black Sails 2 co-star Rupert Penry-Jones, and Anna-Louise Plowman and Stephanie Leonidas. Anna-Louise happens to be Toby’s wife and both of them were also Penry-Jones’ co-stars in BBC’s miniseries Cambridge Spies back in 2003.

All the actors fit the roles nicely, with Penry-Jones skillfully carried the weight of the film. He’s a naturally likable presence, which helps as his character isn’t exactly a virtuous man. But I can’t help sympathize with his character despite his flaws.

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I like how Toby frame the story in a non-linear way, which keeps things more intriguing. The cinematography by Simon Dennis is beautiful to look at. The use of music definitely fits the tone of the film and there’s an atmospheric quality to the nighttime scenes. I’d say this is an excellent debut from Toby and he’s definitely a promising writer/director. As a phenomenal actor himself, he certainly has a vision of what he wants from the performers and it shows. I sure hope he’ll continue to make films in the future, and perhaps star in his own feature film?

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Check out the trailer, courtesy of We Are Colony:


What are your thoughts of IN VITRO?

Exclusive Deleted Scene of ‘Not Another Happy Ending’ featuring Stanley Weber via We Are Colony

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You already know how much I adore this movie. If I had to do a list of top favorite cinematic discoveries by year’s end, surely Not Another Happy Ending AND Stanley Weber would be at the top of the list. I’ve seen this charming Scottish rom-coms more than a dozen times and it still feels fresh to me every time I watch it. Karen Gillan is lovely in the lead role, supported by a set of wonderful Scottish actors: Iain De Caestecker, Henry Ian Cussick, Kate Dickie and Gary Lewis. But having a French actor as Karen’s co-lead adds an international flair to the movie, plus Stanley’s got a great comic timing and works so well together with Karen.

I bought the bundle from We Are Colony a few weeks ago. It’s so well worth it as I can watch the movie over and over, plus there are tons of behind the scenes goodies to complete the experience. So when a rep from We Are Colony contacted me to collaborate on a post on this exclusive deleted scene featuring Stanley Weber himself, of course I’d be happy to do it! Check out this newly-released clip below:

Frustrated by Jane’s defection to prestigious publishers Klinsch & McLeish, Tom (Stanley Weber) does his best to poach one of their leading writers Glen Buchan (Tom McGovern).

So get your Not Another Happy Ending bundle and enjoy this charming movie time and time again! Also check out the We Are Colony website to get exclusive access on a ton of great independent films that include exclusive extras, including ‘making of’ documentaries, behind-the-scenes interviews, deleted scenes and much more!

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Win Karen Gillan signed press book (and signed posters for runner-ups) + limited edition jewelry from Bonnie Bling!

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Sign up to win these goodies!

Competition closes June 21, 2015
Winners will be notified by email


Check out the film’s trailer: