14th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL, 2021
"I CHOSE TO STUDY FILMMAKING AT UNIVERSITY, AND STUCK WITH DIRECTING, BECAUSE I LOVED WORKING CLOSELY WITH ACTORS (WHERE I STARTED!)."
Chloe May Law
Section: BROKEN HEARTS
Mel is a seventeen-year-old aspiring guitarist, obsessed with her favourite musician and idol, Hugo Turner. Hugo is one of the biggest rockstars of his time, charming, handsome and talented. However, this side of him quickly crumbles once news of him being inappropriate with his fans surface. Mel has to come to terms with her destroyed image of Hugo and find meaning in her own passion and art.
Hi Chloe tank you for talking to TNC, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?
I’ll admit it’s been hard but I’ve been doing my best to stay creative, keep active and look after my mental health.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?
I’ve taken up a new hobby – pottery. It has been great fun, and I love that I get to make something physical. I’ve also kept writing, but has been hard to get anything into production. So, for now, pottery has been an excellent outlet for taking a creative project from an idea to a complete piece! (I’ve still got a lot more to learn though!)
Congratulations on having Heartthrob selected for the BFI Future Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of Broken Hearts section?
I think “Broken Hearts” is a wonderful section for the film, as it sums up what the main character goes through after her favourite musician is accused of sexual harassment. Plus, I’m excited to see the other films in this section with similar themes.
Can you tell me a little bit about Heartthrob, how did this film come about?
Heartthrob is the graduate film myself and a team of students made while at UWE Bristol. The idea came from me wanting to represent a more realistic version of fan culture, as the media’s version of a hyper young girl, screaming before meeting their favourite celebrity was not my experience. I wanted to put this together with the issue of many celebrities and idols being accused of sexual harassment and assault. This film is a fan’s personal journey coming to terms with this.
What where the biggest challenges you faced bringing this film to life?
I think one of the biggest issues was condensing the film into such a short format of 7 minutes. There are many parts of this story that I wanted to explore, and didn’t have the screen-time to do so, however I still love this concept and want to possibly look at exploring a similar idea in a longer format. Besides that, each department in this film did a wonderful job at bringing this film to life.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
There are always things I wish I had done differently, but I try to learn from these, so that I can make my next film better. One thing in particular with Heartthrob would be allowing myself more time to work with the actors before shooting as I would love a chance to improvise more and build on the relationship between ‘Mel’ and her idol.
What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making Heartthrob?
Crew and who you collaborate with is incredibly important. I believe you must surround yourself with talented people that can offer their opinions and ideas and are excited to make the best film they can; this was what made Heartthrob successful.
Filmmaking can be a stressful process, but it is incredibly important to support each other and find the people who make the process fun, because that’s what it should be!
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I started in theatre while at school, acting and then transitioned into directing. I attended the BFI Academy Filmmaking Course and found it was something that I really enjoyed. I chose to study filmmaking at university, and stuck with directing, because I loved working closely with actors (where I started!).
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give?
Get your actors to deliver their lines quickly. This can not only help the performance feel more natural, but also can help keep it snappy and impactful on screen, rather than slow and drawn out.
"Find people that you love to collaborate with, who support you and keep you motivated."
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Of course, some of my favourite films explore taboos and topics we are nervous to talk about with one another. They are a powerful tool. This includes pushing boundaries not just with the story but with cinematography, set design, sound and edit, I think it is important to keep this evolving so audiences continue to be shocked, intrigued and entertained by the films we make.
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Find people that you love to collaborate with, who support you and keep you motivated. It can be scary to reach out to other filmmakers, but do! Support each other’s work and the filmmaking community; networking is so important.
What do you hope people will take away from Heartthrob?
I wanted to show that social media and videos can make us feel like we know our favourite celebrity, blending reality with what she sees on the screen by having him be physically in her room when she watches a video or listens to his music. This feels like the true them, but sometime this is just an image they choose to portray, so I’d want people to take away not to be blinded by your interpretation of a celebrity.