Jade has recently been involved in an altercation and has to deal with the consequences.
Hi Harry, thanks for talking to TNC, how is your 2020 going?
Hi. It's going really well thanks. I spent the Christmas break up in Scotland and the Lake District so came back to London feeling very refreshed. I've got a few projects on the go so focussing on getting these off the ground.
Congratulations on having Between Walls selected to British Shorts, what does it mean to you to be part of such a great showcase for British Films?
Thanks! I'm really honoured to be part of this selection. British Shorts has been on my radar for a while, in fact it was one of the festivals that I used to research to find potential collaborators to work with. To be included with so many other fantastic shorts is a real privilege.
This is your second short film, how different was your approach to this film compared to your debut short?
This was actually the film that I wanted to make 1st time round. But having not gone to film school, I felt I first needed to work with a smaller production and budget just to get to grips with the whole process. The scale of 'Between Walls' was 2/3 times bigger than 'Roxanne', with this comes a lot more planning and preparation (and money). Though creatively I don't think I approached it any differently.
As a true independent filmmaker what have been some of the challenges you've faced bringing Between Walls to fruition?
Money, always money! I didn't go to film school, have to work full-time to pay rent and don't work in the industry, so I didn't have any contacts who I could pull favours with. I raised 80-90% of the £12,000 (approx) budget myself, I worked 50-60 hour weeks for months, I had 3 jobs at one point, plus trying to get the film off the ground; sending emails, taking meetings etc. It was really tough and had a big knock-on affect on my health. I took out loans to pay for post which I've only just paid off. But, I'm really happy with the film and to some extent I'm not sure it could have happened any other way.
I get a bit tired of the 'it's easier to make films now because of the technology' narrative. Cameras are only one cost, you still need to pay for actors, locations, crew, post-production etc etc. And then there's the cost and effort of getting the film out there which again is really hard. And from from what I hear, only getting increasingly difficult. I'm saying this as a white, cis-gendered male. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for young, LBGTQI+ & people of colour people to get things off the ground.
Can you tell me a little bit about Between Walls, how did this film come about?
I had the basic idea, to make a film about violence & forgiveness incorporating flashbacks, several years ago. After I made my 1st short I started to write the script and went through several drafts, which were more plot heavy, always pulling from my experiences growing up. I realised that I was trying to say too much so I stripped it back to it's core elements. I started sending the script out to producers, casting directors etc. I sent the script to casting director Amanda Tabak, on a total whim. She cast one of my favourite shorts 'Wasp', by Andrea Arnold, as well as the Berlinale Crystal Bear winning 'Balcony'. When she replied to say that she liked the script and would like to take it on, I realised that it wasn't totally shit and it really gave me the confidence to get it done. Once my co-producers Megan and Katherine came onboard, it was a case of getting the money together and prepping the shoot.
Do you think you will continue to be inspired by your own experiences as you continue to make films?
I think so, Robert Bresson said 'things that are not made from experience run the risk of vacuity'. I agree with him. You have to know what you want to write. I think digging into personal experiences and emotions, or some personal element, whatever that is, is ultimately what connects with people. There has to be an element of sacrifice, it needs to hurt or at least feel a bit scary. But that's not to say everything has to be totally auto-biographical, you start with a seed then through the writing process and with your imagination it grows and morphs into something of itself.
"If you love cinema then that's enough, let your passion be the thing that sets you apart."
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
When I was a child I used to say I wanted to be a director, which is weird because I didn't grow up in a creative household or have family members that were cinephiles or anything, cinema really wasn't a big part of my life. It was when I went to uni to study photography as an adult that I became really interested. One of my tutors was into cinema and mentioned Godard who I'd never heard of before. I think after the lesson I searched him on the internet out of curiosity and came across the poster for 'Pierrot Le Fou'. Something about the poster, or the title maybe, grabbed me and I sought out the film online. Watching Pierrot Le Fou was like discovering a new planet. I’ll never forget the moment where Jean Paul Belmondo looks into the camera and speaks to the audience, my head exploded. Since then I've been obsessed.
What has been the best piece of advice you've been given?
Not to take advice too seriously..
Do you have any advice you would offer someone thinking about getting into filmmaking?
If you've got an idea, then explore it, don't put too much pressure on yourself, enjoy the process. Don't feel like you're an impostor because you're not in 'the industry'. If you love cinema then that's enough, let your passion be the thing that sets you apart. And also, take risks, we're all going to die soon anyway so who gives a fuck-the world needs more artists.
What are you currently working on?
I've got a short script that I want to shoot this year; it's called 'The Out' and is about a recovering heroin addict who looks after his young son for the 1st time since getting out of prison.
I'm working on a short-doc about The Cause nightclub in Tottenham, North London.
An experimental short-film set in a dystopian England of the future, where climate change and automation have drastically altered the socio-political landscape, it's called 'The Last of England'. Inspired by the Derek Jarman film of the same name.
And then I've been working on a couple feature ideas, one pulled from 'The Last of England' idea above. And a drama about an estranged brother and sister who reconnect when a parent dies. Both still at very early stages, just notes and ramblings at the moment.
And finally, what message do you want your audiences to take away from Between Walls?
I'm sorry I don't think I can answer that, I'd rather let people make their own minds up.