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FRINGE! Queer Film Festival 2018
Deborah Espect 
SAT NOV 17, 21:00 HACKNEY HOUSE | 8 min | FREE

Vic is a popular lesbian character in a hit television series. But when the Executives in charge of the show gather to decide her fate, she finds herself having to fight for her survival.


Hi Deborah thanks for talking to TNC. Your award-winning short film The World Can Wait is being screened at Fringe! Queer Film Fest this November, what does it mean for you to be at the festival?

It’s an honour to be part of such a great festival! I’m really looking forward to seeing all the great work that’s being showcased there. 

How important is it for LGBTQ+ films like yours to have a platform like Fringe! Queer Film Fest to be screened?

SO important. It’s great for us LGBTQ+ filmmakers to have a platform to showcase our work and meet other filmmakers from within our community. Without such festivals, a lot of our films wouldn’t be given the chance to be seen. 

Do you think these types of film festivals open up LGBTQ+ lives and stories to a wider, perhaps mainstream audience?

We need LGBTQ+ festivals but we also don’t want to alienate ourselves, so I really hope our allies do attend LGBTQ+ festivals such as this one. 

The World Can Wait

Tell me a little bit about The World Can Wait, how did this film come about?

Basically, I got fed up of seeing great lesbian characters being killed off on TV. For me, it started off with Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer about 15 years ago, but still, we are seeing the same narrative now. The tip of the iceberg for me was Kate in Last Tango in Halifax. There we had a brilliant middle-aged, multiracial lesbian couple portrayed in a very positive way, and the day after Caroline’s wedding to Kate, Kate was run over by a joyrider. The writer Sally Wainwright, whom I admire a lot, explained that she felt the death of Kate was necessary for Caroline and her mother’s relationship to that because Caroline’s mother had been struggling so much with her daughter's sexuality. I was so disappointed and upset that I decided to pretty much take matters into my own hands and make a film about it. 

What were the biggest challenges you faced making The World Can Wait?

I was a bit worried about the fight scene because I had no idea how it was going to come across on screen. At some point, I thought I might need a fight choreographer and some mats to make sure that the actors wouldn’t hurt themselves, but my budget was tiny and so I worked out that getting the actors to run and fight in slow motion would be our best bet. It actually worked out really well and the editor did a great job to put it together with the way she did. 

I was also anxious about the scenes between Vic and Sasha because the two actors had never met and I’d never filmed anything so intimate - but they were brilliant and had so much on-screen chemistry that I couldn’t have wished for a better coupling!

The World Can Wait

Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?

No, I only figured it out in my 30s! In my 20s I wrote a few short plays, monologues and a full-length play which went on to be produced in London fringe theatres, but it was only when I moved to Brighton that I started writing short films. Initially I gave my scripts to other directors but when I wrote my web series As We Are (about a cis gay woman who finds herself attracted to a trans man), I couldn’t find the right director for it, but as it was a project that was very dear to me it was a case of either directing it myself or shelving it. I chose the first option and absolutely loved directing, so after As We Are I went on to make The World Can Wait, and a few months ago I directed my first music video, for London indie band Useless Cities

As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you? 

It’s essential. I didn’t go to film school and I never studied filmmaking, so when I made As We Are my knowledge of filmmaking was very minimal. The only way I managed to make it happen was because I surrounded myself with experienced people who were passionate about the project, people that I could trust and who shared my vision; but people who would also tell me if my expectations were unrealistic or who weren’t afraid to make suggestions. It’s so important to keep an open mind and not be blinkered by your own ideas - whilst also being confident about your own abilities. 

"Be nice, be a team player, learn when to follow people’s advice and when to defend your ideas."

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

Go out there and do it. Make the stories that you want to see. And if like me you haven’t been to film school, or don’t have any film experience, don’t let that put you off, we’ve all had to start somewhere. Surround yourself with people who know what they’re doing, because they’ll give you lots of invaluable advice and will help you bring your story to life. Save a bit of money, be honest about what you can afford to pay people; if your project is strong, you will find people who will be happy to help you with it for less than they would get for a Hollywood film. Be nice, be a team player, learn when to follow people’s advice and when to defend your ideas. Be prepared to make mistakes and learn from them, and be prepared to hear negative comments - not everyone is going to like or understand your work, and that’s ok!

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from The World Can Wait?

I hope people will find it entertaining but that they will also feel empowered by the messages in it - that they’ll agree that there is another way because like me they don’t want to see any more LGBTQ+ characters dying unnecessarily. Hopefully, people will recognise some of the notorious deaths referenced in the film as well!

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