“At Dawn the Flowers Open the Gates of Paradise” is a short film, which tells the story of a young woman losing herself in the feeling of love, the drama everyone can identify with, regardless of the culture, religion or background they come from.

“When you love obsessively, you lose the sense of self-identity and if you lose the object of your love, you have no resources to fall back on; It can completely destroy you.”  [Sarah Kane about her drama: “Crave”].

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Strailer card

30-year-old Akiko arrives in England from Japan hoping that the distance can help her to cut the emotional attachment to a man – Takahama, who, after a 10-year relationship, has abandoned her for another woman. Akiko works in a central London hotel as a housekeeper. She is isolated, connecting with people only through the belongings in their rooms, observing them through the window. She has never shut the door to her past; she is still waiting for a sign from Takahama that he wants her return.

Akiko finds refuge in a personal project – she takes photographs of the hotel guests’ used bed sheets, as sculptures printed by people’s sleep or sleeplessness the previous night. When she hears that Takahama got married, she builds a kind of cocoon from her photographs – an altar on which she lies down. She hears the sounds of the stories coming from the photographed sheets, and from one of them appears Takahama’s confession of betrayal. Akiko holds a ritual to free her spirit from the world, which she cannot be reconciled with. She believes that after that, they both, along with their baby who died at birth, will meet again.

In the last scene Akiko walks along the hotel corridor. White petals of flowers fall like snow. She passes open rooms, which depict subsequent stages of her life. In the last room she finds her parents. Akiko snuggles up her mother’s abdomen and finally enters a light-filled room.

The next day, a woman across the street hangs a white bed sheet outside her window, while from Akiko’s open window we hear the final act of “Madame Butterfly”. We can hear the clicking of a camera’s shutter and see a white butterfly flying out of the window…


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My first inspiration to write the screenplay of “At Dawn the Flowers Open the Gates of Paradise” came from working at a London hotel. I was fascinated by the superficiality and illusion of the place, and the disjointed worlds of employees and guests.

I perceived hotels as Towers of Babel, the intersections of people on their journeys from different parts of the world, and London as a “hotel-city” on its own; hotel rooms as metaphorical and symbolic representations of the subsequent stages of life being part of the greatest mystery – the mystery of the end; beds were vehicles carrying us through life; bed sheets, like shrouds, reflecting the most intimate moments. The shroud Saint Veronica puts on the face of suffering Jesus on his way to the cross. The Cross versus the Turin Shroud that shows his face after death. Positive and negative – life and death.

“At Dawn…” is a short, black and white feature shot on film, narrated by long shots taken with static camera. The space surrounding the main character is a ‘living character’ by itself. The sound design accompanying the inner monologue of the main character is a very important part of the story, as well as the production design.

The film was inspired by classic cinematography: “Ida” by Pawel Pawlikowski, “Sacrifice” by Andriei Tarkowski, “Three Colours: Blue” by Krzysztof Kieslowski and poetry/literature: Olga Tokarczuk’s “Numbers”, “Barren Woman” by Sylvia Plath, “Crave” by Sarah Kane, “Sand and Foam” by Kahlil Gibran. The musical inspiration was “Madame of Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini. Vilhelma Hammershøi’s paintings, Eva Rubinstein’s photography and Sophie Calle’s “The Hotel”.

But most of all, I was inspired by Haiku because very Haiku is like a draft which records the current state of a piece of the world in the most complete way.  As in the zen paintings where individual particles of the universe: a tree or a flower, or even just a leaf, exist alone in a white and empty space, Haiku describes this world in the shortest and the most exhaustive way – the simple, clean beauty of an entity that is going to disappear.
Its sudden understanding is like awakening, allowing us to rise to the higher level of being and to accept the reality with peace, without haste, with a certain resignation.


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Mela screen and director v2

My first touch with art was via theatre when I was studying at the Wroclaw Theatre Academy in Poland. I was expressing my sensitivity by the language of film, as an actress and also present on the other side of the camera; Working as an assistant director, camera operator, screenplay and adaptations co-authors. I received Best Actress Award for “Double Portrait” at the 20th International Koszalin Debut Film Festival and the film was awarded during the 26th Gdynia Polish Film Festival and received Pegaz Prize for best film.

After spending four years on a film journey through Asia and I started to take pictures and when I returned to Warsaw, I decided to deepen this knowledge at the European Academy of Photography.

I moved to London which become my home and embarked on a long-term film project called “HOME”. I have been a student of MA filmmaking at the London Film School and my graduation script “At Dawn the Flowers Open the Gates of Paradise” working title “Blankets of love” received a Special Mention from the Jury in Milano Film Festival. The finished film will have premiere during the 72nd edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival as part of the Main Program: “Shorts: Dream Images”.


Cait Lyn Adamson

Cait Lyn Adamson is a London based Producer, Director and Assistant Director currently in her final year at The London Film School MA program. With a background in Comparative Literature, Media and Cinema Studies she has always had a passion for chasing and creating compelling stories. Cait Lyn is involved in a wide range of film projects from a spectrum of genres and cultures, working on short films that have been made in London, Serbia, Finland, Turkey and the US. She has a creative hunger for unique visions and voices and is highly involved in the collaborative process. Cait Lyn is currently in Post Production for a short film she directed, and in Pre Production for several other films going ahead this year.



Ronen is a French/Israeli writer & director currently based in London. After finishing a BA in English literature and creative writing in the UK, he began freelancing as a filmmaker and a creative in Amsterdam. In 2014 he enrolled in a master program at the London Film School, Where Good Luck Marc (2016) was made and is currently touring festivals. He is now co-producing Blankets of Love with Cait Lyn Adamson.


aga szeliga

I’m originally from Dąbrowa Tarnowska in Southern Poland, and have since then lived in Sweden, Morocco and England, where I have been based for the past fifteen years. Travelling is an important part of who I am, and each year I spend many weeks abroad in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

After completing an Economics degree, I recognized that my main interest lay in photography, and it was my passion for both travelling and capturing images that led me to filmmaking, with a particular interest in people and movement. I graduated from the University of Greenwich with an MA in Cinematography which was opportunity to experiment and consolidate my experience.

After university, I worked as a Camera Trainee and later Camera Assistant on films such as The Imitation Game and Mission Impossible, and many TV comedies such as W1A, Big School, and Nurse. I also worked for many months as the Director of Photography’s assistant on the fantasy sequel The Huntsman, before moving on to camera operating on UK shorts, and few theatrically-released independent features in Poland, Mexico and the United States.



Graham Hilleard is a London artist/photographer who’s work deals with the urban realm. He graduated from the London College of Printing in 1998 and had previously studied photography and exhibition design. His last solo exhibition in 2015 combined photography and graphics in the form of postcards to juxtapose the language of developers with the actuality of the city and is featured on the ‘Guardian’ newspaper website.

As production designer for this film he used a location that he knew intimately, so it would become an element as important as the actors.


Aki Miyanishi is a hair and make up artist from Japan, based in London, UK and Tokyo, Japan.

After graduating from Technical College in Hair and Make up, Aki made the transition to freelance hair and make up artist. Before beginning this in earnest, and in order to bolster her skill-set, She started working as an apprentice under the artist, Masato Izumi, a hair and make up artist with extensive experience ranging from TV to magazines and other media. She moved in London on 2015 when providing hair and make up services for a wide variety of applications. Projects on which she has already worked on here include work for short movie, commercial, fashion, and beauty.

Harrie Starreveld

Harrie Starreveld studied flute with Koos Verheul at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam. In 1978 he was a winner of the International Gaudeamus Competition for contemporary music, along with the long-time duo partner René Eckhardt. Today Harrie Starreveld is widely regarded as one of the worlds leading specialists in contemporary flute music, working together with many composers. He is a member of the Nieuw Ensemble from the Netherlands. Together with René Eckhardt and bass-clarinetist extraordinaire Harry Sparnaay he forms Het Trio. As a soloist he performed many flute concertos. And worked at the electronic studio of the IRCAM in Paris. Harrie Starreveld regularly performs for the Dutch radio and Television and gave recitals all over the world in America, Australia, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Hong-Kong and many countries in Europe. Since 1980, Starreveld has been professor of flute at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam and Bremen. He is praised for his brilliant performance of contemporary flute music and won the prestigious Edison award in 1993 for his CNM-Ton de Leeuw-CD. He recorded music of several composers on 40 CD’s including music of composers I. Yun, T. de Leeuw, B. Kolb, J. Harvey, F. Donatoni, B. Ferneyhough and others.

Apart from the flute, the piccolo, the alto flute and the bass flute, Starreveld plays the contrabass flute and is one of the first flutists in the world playing the Kingma-Brannen quartertone flute.  Harrie Starreveld is also spezialized in Zen-shakuhachi and the Japanese culture in general.

Andrew Rowe

Andrew has been recording and boom operating on films for over fifteen years, and enjoys working on a mix of independent films and cinema productions (X-Men: First Class, Les Mis, Eddie The Eagle). Originally from Coventry, England, Andrew has lived in London since 2004, and likes to spend time between films reading, writing and travelling overland across continents for months at a time.

Martin Lumsden

Martin Lumsden is a record producer, recording engineer and mix engineer born in Edinburgh and now living in Hertford.  Martin is based out of The Cream Room Recording Studio in Hertfordshire, a studio he renovated and reopened in 2008.  From the studio Martin has recorded and produced numerous local rising artists including Kaity Rae, Breakers, Dusty Wagons and Baron Goodlove.

Martin particularly specialises in live, acoustic and pop / indie production and is currently the sound engineer for BalconyTV London.

Martin also worked on sound design for film projects including the short film Amber (2017).

K. Dobrosielski
 In 2016, Kamil was nominated for a Golden Trailer Award. He has been the editor of four shorts produced by his Alma Mater; Screen Academy Scotland, and one by London Film School. His other works include trailers for the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and Kinoteka Polish Film Festival. He’s currently editing his first feature, a wildlife documentary called Mata Atlântica.
 Nick Scott
Having graduated with a first class degree in Visual Communications, and a love of the craft in making things, Nick was drawn to the then glamorous world of advertising. 
Starting out as an Art Director, in time he rose through the ranks and became Creative Director of a number of agencies, making many commercials and supervising many photographic shoots on the way. 
Meanwhile the world of advertising was changing fast, it always had, but Nick felt that the opportunities for exercising his craft skills were diminishing. Smaller and smaller budgets for shoots, dwindling time to make things beautiful. 
So when the opportunity arose for some time to reconsider his future Nick chose to learn the art of the digital colourist, an area that had always interested him. And which would potentially give him the opportunity to reconnect with true craft and precision still to be seen in the movies and more recently in high end TV drama and documentaries.
It is another fast changing world but one in which true collaboration and passion is still alive and well.
Honorata Karapuda.png
Honorata Karapuda is a talented young photographer and graphic designer. With over 10 years of experience in the music and art industry she collaborated with top Polish artists such as Mela Koteluk, Dorota Miśkiewicz, Urszula, BeMy and Goya. She participated in a number of music and theatrical festivals like: Off Festival, Open’er Festival, Tauron Nowa Muzyka, Męskie Granie or Sopot Non Fiction capturing the visual essence of those events.

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Poster final Edinburgh_edited-1
Poster designed by Graham Hilleard