"IT COULD BE SMOOTHER, THE MESSAGE COULD BE CLEANER AND THE FILM COULD HAVE GREATER STAKES."
Domō Arigatō, Mr. Roboto
Screening Session: Feb 28 | BLOCK 3
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
Kyle, is a 24-year-old who is stuck feeling lost and is struggling to find the motivation to feel better. However, he can’t disguise his sadness anymore when his mother brings home Andy, her new sex robot. Andy’s visual sensors detect Kyle’s depressive state and due to Andy’s insistent pestering, Kyle is forced to accept his help.
Hi Aimee thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
It’s been a really hard year, I’m sure everyone knows. I’m originally from New Zealand so being far away from home has been difficult for me. But things are looking up and I’m trying to stay positive.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?
It definitely has. I think staying at home practically forces you to use your imagination. I recently wrote a screenplay about my friend's experience talking to a neighbour through notes on their windows.
Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
It’s really exciting! Our team really had to push for this project to be made through lockdown. We are very proud that we were even able to make it at all. Your festival always shows exciting projects so we are thrilled to be selected alongside a host of other talented filmmakers.
Can you tell me a little bit about Domō Arigatō, Mr. Roboto, how did this film come about?
As we are students this was part of a project for us. As the director I pitched for a script written by the wonderful Ben Wolfin and the project was green-lit. Ben is usually a comedic writer, but due to the state of the world he decided to go deeper emotionally in this project and reveal more about his experience with depression. I myself was recently diagnosed with depression so the script spoke to me in a time of need and self reflection. We wanted to create an enjoyable and heartwarming film that shows the audience asking for help doesn’t make you weak.
What were the biggest challenges you faced bringing your film to life?
Honestly it was the COVID-19 Pandemic and lockdown. Our main concern throughout pre-production was whether it was even going to be possible and safe to have the crew all together in one room. But with the help of our school and strict rules we maintained for safety we were able to work with one another.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
I think as filmmakers and artists we can never be satisfied with our work completely. We are always thinking of new ideas and new ways to push ourselves. I definitely found creating this film a learning process. It could be smoother, the message could be clearer and the film could have greater stakes. But we tried the best to stick to our vision and make something we could be proud of.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
I started out acting and so my appreciation first started there. But it grew once I began to question what else went into making those stories and performances.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?
My directing tutor once told me to have confidence in my decisions and stop asking for approval from others.
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Of course they should! Stories that are personal and have passion behind them are the ones that make the most impact for the audience. Art is made to push boundaries and open people up to new stories and experiences.
"But all I can say is have fun and don’t let anyone diminish your passion."
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
I definitely don’t think I’m qualified to give advice. But all I can say is have fun and don’t let anyone diminish your passion.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Domō Arigatō, Mr. Roboto?
I hope people come away knowing that asking for help when you're struggling doesn’t make you weak. Depression doesn’t make you unworthy of love and care.