Alison Piper

2015 United Kingdom FICTION 8 '

Illness affects more than just the body. In Stalactites, writer/director Alison Piper challenges the limits of empathy in her nuanced look at the human condition. The Film is a tender glimpse into a marriage crumbling under the weight of terminal illness. Alan is a man failing to communicate with his sick wife as he struggles to reconcile his waning sexual attraction to her. He is a deeply flawed but relatable character, caught up in a morally ambiguous situation where audiences are faced with the question: “What would you do?” Stalactites is a film about suppression and came about through an interest in how illness can affect sexuality in relationships. This short film explores suppression as a facet of loss, and creates a largely subtextual dialogue between a husband and wife that both whispers and shouts as they struggle to communicate. The film experiments with sound/image dialectics - much of the sound was recorded prior to the images, allowing the camera to respond to what the artists created sonically in each space. In this way, the story emerges in the gap between sound and image. This form invites a parallel understanding of how communication between Alan and Linda takes place in the words they hold back; their relationship reveals itself to us through the emotions and thoughts they are keeping from each other.


ALISON PIPER (b. 1988, Scotland) is a Glasgow based filmmaker and video artist. Since graduating from the Northern Film School in 2009 Alison has pursued a successful career as an assistant director; her credits include the BBC Film What We Did On Our Holiday, Rillington Place and Trainspotting 2. She currently works as Crowd Coordinator on the US TV drama Outlander, where she can mainly be found herding extras in period costume on to coaches. In recent years she has developed a practice in fine art filmmaking - her video installation A Lower Volume with artist Rachel McBrinn was exhibited as part of the 2015 Aesthetica Art Prize. Stalactites premiered at the 9th Glasgow Short Film Festival and is Alison’s first narrative film; she is currently developing new works inspired by Glasgow’s history of immigration.