"SO, WHEN I FOUND OUT THAT THERE ARE SOME ACTUAL PEOPLE WRITING FILMS, I SHOWLY BECAME FASCINATED WITH THE FILMMAKING PROCESS STARTING FROM WRITING A SCREENPLAY TO GETTING TO THE FINAL CUT AND DISTRIBUTION. "
Anna p. Obst
Screening Session: BLOCK 1
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
Julie must battle her family’s expectations and her own insecurities to get out of the house. Going Out is a short drama about social anxiety and its impact on even the most mundane aspects of life.
Hi Anna thank you for talking to us, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
It looks like we are in it for the long run, so I’ve just been trying to adapt to this situation the best I can. I give myself the right to have bad days and try to cling on to the good moments. I think it’s important that during this time, we focus not only on our physical health but also take care of our mental wellbeing. We will see many people left with mental health issues that outlast the pandemic and, as a society, I think we should do our best to help people around us with their feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?
It’s been amazing to see how theatres and other venues have been able to offer online alternatives which are such a treat when you’re stuck at home. Although I do not think these can replace the experience of togetherness in a cinema or a theatre, it does make you contemplate different options and media that you could explore to tell your stories. I’ve written a radio play recently, which is something I wouldn’t even have considered doing before March 2020.
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?
Thank you so much for choosing Going Out to be part of the festival this year; it’s a great honour! It’s my first narrative short film and I put all my heart into making it with a team of fantastic people. I had a chance to visit the festival at the Genesis Cinema last year (which now feels like a lifetime ago!). I loved the experience, so being selected means a lot.
Can you tell me a little bit about Going Out, how did this film come about?
I wanted to make Going Out since its topic, social anxiety, is something I’ve experienced myself. It has always interested me how there are so many people living with different types of anxiety, but some of them become experts in putting up a facade so the world cannot see their struggles. I don’t think this subject needs any fireworks, so once I came up with a story which was character-focused and simple enough, I knew I wanted to try myself and make this film.
What where the biggest challenges you faced bringing your film to life?
I think even committing to making a short film and telling people that I am doing it made me a little self-conscious. You know, what if I don’t manage to pull it off having a full-time job and a bunch of other commitments? I didn't want to be all talk and no action. Also, as Going Out has been a low-budget production which I have fully funded myself, it has always been a matter of how to make it at the lowest possible cost without affecting the quality of the film. It has certainly been a journey.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
Now, when I think of it, I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I’ve never produced and directed a short narrative film before, so I feel that any mistakes I made during the process have taught me some valuable lessons about how I want to work, the storytelling I’m interested in, and I feel they actually made me more confident when starting new projects.
Describe your film in three words?
Introspective. Human. Unexpected.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
Creativity started for me with writing, and then it must have been in secondary school when I discovered the power of films and how deeply I’m affected by them. So, when I found out that there are some actual people writing films, I slowly became fascinated with the filmmaking process starting from writing a screenplay to getting to the final cut and distribution. Screenwriting remains my first love and, for me, it’s the best part of making a film.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t worry about being original. There’s no one else with your experiences and your background, so just by bringing your authentic self to the table, your work becomes unique.
"Only then do I try to see if I can build a good story around it and find a perspective that matters to me."
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
I don’t think I’m in a position to tell anyone how they should approach their filmmaking. I have nothing against films that provide easy and unchallenging entertainment. Especially in times like these when everyone already feels overwhelmed enough by the current circumstances, and they probably do not search for any additional challenges offered by filmmakers.
When I approach a new project, it usually starts for me with a topic or a character that makes me feel something or is important to me for personal reasons. Only then do I try to see if I can build a good story around it and find a perspective that matters to me. Ideally, it would be a perspective that could test my views, beliefs or prejudices. I think it’s only when people create art from a place of authenticity, can it make a real change.
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
If I had to offer advice, I would say that they shouldn’t allow anyone to tell them when it’s the right time for them to do things or what’s right for them, but also, they should make sure it’s not the fear stopping them from going for the things they want.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Going Out?
I wanted people to enter an intimate and sometimes erratic world of a person experiencing anxiety, and maybe to be slightly baffled by how a simple mundane activity can have a huge impact on someone. Not everyone deals well with the social pressure of having it all together (because everyone else looks like they do, right?).
As we never know what people experience behind closed doors, maybe we should try to stop our judgments for a second and just be kind to one another. In these times, I think it’s more important than ever.