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Image Credit: Emily-Jane Nolan 

15th LICHTSPIELKLUB
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
Interview

Abigail Hardingham
Bufflehead

Animation / Drama / Thriller / Comedy / Experimental / Mystery

In a dystopian near future, a patient seeking medical treatment finds that support isn't as smooth as they might have expected. 

Hi Abi, thank you for talking to The New Current, these have been some very strange times, how have you been holding up?

Thanks for having us! I personally have been okay…very lucky to be able to pay my rent and have a safe place to exist. But our industry has been so flakey over the pandemic like most, so it’s been a challenge to keep my head on straight!

Was it easy to motivate yourself creatively during the lockdowns? 

I found myself more propelled to make my own shit because we were faced with only ourselves as a creative resource. Pete Moor our writer made an entire album as he is also a musician and is very very good! So I’d say he has found himself more motivated than most! Our producer Cheri Darbon has been creating an incredible catalogue of short films including Bufflehead that she has poured her heart into. 

With everything that is going on due to Covid how essential are festivals like British Shorts Berlin in continuing to provide a platform for Independent British short films?

Being able to share your work and expand on why you made it is an important part of the process! Speaking I guess for myself. I never work with the audience in mind but one of the coolest things about once it’s done, is that festivals like British Shorts can uplift you and celebrate your hard work and pick at it in a way that maybe you didn’t before or during the actual making of it. 

Congratulations on having Bufflehead selected for British Shorts 2022, how does it feel to be at the festival and part of such an amazing line-up of short films?

So cool! Have you seen the line up of films? We are all so excited. British Shorts was on my vision board for Bufflehead. Our team at Festival formula who have been integral to helping us with everything festival circuit related; affirmed us that this was one to be very excited about!! 

Can you tell me a little bit about how you got involved with Bufflehead, what was it about Peter Moor's screenplay that interested you?

Pete Moor is one of the most creative people I know. He will just say stuff like oh I wrote this dumb thing on the piano. And it’ll be amazing. And then be like oh I had a dream and it made me think this way, about this thing in my life. So he presented Bufflehead to me and Steve Brett as an idea for us all to expand on. It’s a commentary on the accessibility of mental health care, which I have come up against myself so I enjoyed that part of the storytelling. Steve immediately saw what it was and was speaking very animatedly, and I like working with people who are smarter than me so I was in. 

What has the process been like for you Exec producing this short and will you continue to look at more opportunities like this?

 

I absolutely loved it. I’ve always wanted to produce and saw this as an opportunity to learn. I will preface this by saying I know both Steve and Pete personally so I probably lucked out that I was able to speak so fluently about what I wanted, because they already trusted me. The support really helped. Also CHERI DARBON! She walked me through everything and taught me pretty much all of it from the ground up. She is hugely talented and compassionate and super efficient. Sounds dumb but I hadn’t even worked with google docs that much before and so things like sharing information that way became tangible information that I can use. I have worked as an actor for over fifteen years so working with a crew, creating a safe atmosphere, helping to cast and make creative decisions were things I was hopefully already proficient at! 

"I have always had a kind of “yeah what else can I do” attitude so boundaries to me should be flexible and that includes the films I’d like to make."

What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from this film experience?

To work with your friends as much as you can, and it always pays off to ask the questions you think are dumb. Indiegogo is a fantastic resource and people are generally kind and want to support your film so don't be shy to ask for the figure of money you really want. Also if you ever get the chance to work with Rochenda Sandall - do it! 

How important is it for filmmakers to continue to push the boundaries of the stories and films they want to make?  

I feel like I always articulate this stuff so inelegantly. But! I’ve always felt that the best creative work comes from the places you feel most scared. In a safe and existential kind of way that is. I have always had a kind of “yeah what else can I do” attitude so boundaries to me should be flexible and that includes the films I’d like to make. 

Have you always had a passion for acting? 

Since forever yes! 

Do you have any advice or tips you could offer a fellow actor? 

Saying no is your super power! Use it every time your gut tells you to. 

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Bufflehead?

I asked Peter Moor to write something up for this so here is what he said:

 

“Bufflehead is a classic vulnerable individual verses large powerful organisation battle. All the way through, the large medical company has the patient on the ropes. Ideally, the viewer is angered and empathises with the patient and then they feel a sense of justice and satisfaction as the underdog deals the knock-out blow!”

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