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Best of Iris Prize

 Justin Groves.png
Originally published in 2016

Acceptance is a dark short film that touches on the difficulty of telling the people you love your secret of what and who you truly are.


Hi Justin, congratulations on having Acceptance selected for this years Iris Prize in Cardiff, how did you feel when you found out?


When we found out about Iris we were over the moon. So excited. his was actually the first festival we were accepted by.


This is actually our first film and to have a festival as prestigious as Iris to be our first festival to accept us, I’m guessing you can imagine the size of the smiles on our faces.


Did you ever imagine you'd get this type of response to your film?


Honestly this being our first film we just wanted to get some constructive criticism and a single Laurel if we were lucky. Our goal was to try and get into a single festival. We cant believe the response we have gained from festival. Having watched the film with an audience over the past few weeks the audience is engaging with the film as well.


What does it mean for you to get this type of recognition for your film?


If the audience, smiles, laughs, or can relate to the film. That makes all the long hours and sleepless night worth it.


Any nerves setting in ahead of your screening in Cardiff?


Nerves, No. All my Nerves went our the window after we debut our film in LA last week. I think you just need to get it in front of your first audience and then it becomes easier. Im really looking forward to Cardiff. Im excited to see all the amazing films and meet the talent that created them.


Tell me a little bit about Acceptance what was the inspiration behind the film?


Acceptance is a film that merges a few stories into one film/character story. I wrote the script with Emma Jane Hinds. Its based around a few friends journeys through life and also observations.

Does your own life and experience inspire your writing? 


My observations inspire my writing. Im one of those writes that does that stereotypical thing of sitting down, drinking coffee/wine and the writes from my observations.


As well as playing John you're also the writer, director and producer, how did you manage all your roles on Acceptance?


Haha thats a good question. I never slept. I went to a fanatic theatre school where you were taught to multitask. We were taught, acting techniques, tech theatre and direction. Towards the end of the course we had to put on our own shows and organise every aspect of it.

If I never got to this I would of really struggled to wear so many hats. 


Its also been fantastic, I have been force to learn so much in such a certain about of time and guess what I’m still learning.

"I have always wanted to be in the creative arts. I love making theatre. Film is another fantastic way to express yourself."

Will you do it again?


Absolutely. But bigger. Haha. I’m currently putting together a team so we can make the feature length version of the film. The script has had its first draft completed.


What was the hardest scene for you to film?


From a DOP perspective, a scene that is very repetitive to create the mundane nature of the character John.


From an Actors Perspective the last scene - No Spoilers


What would you say the most valuable lesson you've taken from making Acceptance?


Its simple. You can do it. If you push your self hard enough you can make a film. You can do anything.


Looking back would there be anything you'd do differently?


Absolutely. I have a long list here. 


Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?


I have always wanted to be in the creative arts. I love making theatre. Film is another fantastic way to express yourself.


How much has your filmmaking style changed since you started?


This is my first film. So what you see is what you get. This is the beginning of me creating my style.


Is it difficult hand over your films to the audience?


Its so terrifying. I am one of those directors that would like to sit at the front and turn around and watch peoples reactions to see if they like the film.


Are you working on anything at the moment that you can tell me about?


Beginning the feature film of Acceptance. Like I said before, our first draft is complete. We just need to rewrite it about another 30 times until its perfect. haha.


Any advice you could offer any up and coming filmmakers?


Push yourself, Its a scary world out there. If you want to do something go and do it. Don’t wait around for something to come to you, because it never will.


And finally what do you hope people will take away from your film?


I hope an audience can relate to the film. Understand the story and message we are trying to relate.

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