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British Shorts Berlin 2019
Marley Morrison  
Baby Gravy

Festival Opening & Festival Screening (Plus: Concert La Tourette)

Documentary / TV Series / Drama / Animation / Music Video

Thu 17.1. 20:00 / HAU Hebbel am Ufer (HAU2)

Alex and Brona are the perfect couple, apart from one thing, Brona is desperate for a baby and time is running out. They arrange to meet a sperm donor at a pub on the outskirts of town. As they wait patiently for his arrival, they ponder the implications of what they are about to do.


Hi Marley, thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for British Shorts 2019? 


Yes! Thank you so much for having us. 


Do you ever get any nerves ahead of a festival screening?


Always. It is always nerve-wracking showing your work to a new audience, but I love festivals as it is a way of directly speaking with your audience. 


What was your first film festival experience like?


My first film festival experience was great, it's always exciting to see your film on the big screen as well as being able to connect with other filmmakers and crew. Film festivals are the place where it all starts.


How does it feel to be at the festival with Baby Gravy? 


Great! I'm excited that people that haven't yet seen the film will get a chance to watch it.


Tell me a little bit about Life in Baby Gravy how did this project come about?


The idea came about through my own conversations with my partner about potentially starting a family and how we would do that. I also had friends that were going through the process of IVF and sperm donations and they had some hilarious and heartwarming stories about the process and I thought this was a subject that is rarely touched on in cinema. The idea was to give people just a small glimpse into the tradegy and humor of this unseen side of life. 


What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Baby Gravy to life?


Finding the right location. I wanted something isolated but public. I had initially written the script in a service station but that became impossible as they are all open 24hrs. So we had to ask about and drive around to different places until we found something that could work and wasn't going to cost our entire budget.


Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?


I was a performer for a long time and I liked taking photographs. It just so happened my friend was a rapper and asked me to direct his music video that I started directing. I had no idea what I would end up doing. I realised quickly I had visions and ideas of my own that I wanted to make happen and just found a way to get them on film. I spent years reading screenplays and stage plays and taught myself how to write in the correct format and pretty much went from there. 


How important is the collaborative process for you? 


It is everything! I truly believe that with a good team around you, you can do anything. Collaboration is the key to filmmaking. I couldn't do what I do without my amazing team. 


Do you think more festivals/cinemas need to give equal or fairer space to Queer Cinema?


Absolutely. Queer cinema is still seen as it's own 'niche' and I think we need to stop categorising it as such and give queer stories the space they deserve. The world is changing and it is important that that is reflected in cinema. With films like 'Call me by your name' and 'Moonlight', it is clear there are mainstream audiences for queer film, my problem is the lack of representation or risk taken on female lead queer stories. 


How much has your approach to your work changed since your debut short film?


I guess I have just become more confident in my vision and more efficent with my shooting time. I have always been fairly open to criticisms and working collaboratively. In terms of writing, I see it much more like a discipline now. I also try to reduce budget as much as I can in the scripts I write which is something I never did before. I think over time you learn certain things you can do to make the process run smoother. I also write long outlines before I start a script now. 


Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?


I would say get a 'buddy'. Someone that is just as passionate as films about you that you can bounce your ideas off. Ideally, a producer whom you can build a relationship with. Start small. Build up a small team of people and just get out there and shoot some stuff. Even if it is just you and an actor. Make something. 

Read screenplays and watch films that excite you. If possible get a mentor. Someone that has more experience that you in the industry but somebody that sees the uniqueness in 'you' and will give you ongoing advice on your career. Having a mentor has been invaluable to me. Also get yourself on social media and connect with other filmmakers, make sure you are honest in your journey and don't be too concerned with other peoples successes. Work hard to build your own team and go from there.


What are you currently working on?


At the moment I am working on my debut feature film. I am super excited to get going on it and bring some much needed visibility to young queer female characters. I am also writing a few other projects and hope to be back making films very soon. 


And finally, What do you hope people will take away from your work?


I hope they get an insight into a world or a character they wouldn't normally come across. Being an outsider growing up has meant a lot of my films revolve around 'outsiders' or people that don't 'fit' into our social structures. I hope people laugh, see the humor in life and understand their are many different people in the world but ultimately we all hurt and feel and suffer the same. I hope my films make the queer community feel like their stories are being told and ultimately I just hope it helps people feel a connection to a world outside their own. 

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