Iris Prize 2021
Best British Shorts
A living statue waits for someone to notice her. When a potential rival teaches her to move she finds a real connection.
Hi Jack thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you held up during these very strange times?
Thank you for having me on The New Current. Yeah, I've been very fortunate in these strange times. I haven't had Covid actually, and haven't lost any family and friends to the pandemic, so I'm really grateful for that. However, I did graduate my BA in film and tv within the first lockdown, so after that, a lot of this time has been a bit of a growing up and gradually becoming a bit more adult, I suppose. I'm lucky to have had a project like 'Silver and Gold' keep me sain and reduce stress during this time for sure.
Congratulations on having Silver and Gold selected for the Iris Prize 2021, how does it feel to have your film part of such an important LGBTQ Film Festival?
It's great to have 'Silver and Gold' as a part of Iris and the Best British short 2021. The recognition is amazing and knowing that the film will be pushed further after the in-person festival is even better, with the online festival for the rest of the month and partnerships with Film4. Alongside that to be included in the categories with so many other great films.
How did Silver and Gold come about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?
'Silver and Gold' came about from a few places. It was a lot about tourism, and how these performers would communicate with one another so the tourists didn't know- it then developed from this obviously. It also came from my huge appreciation for animation films, there's loads of inspiration from Pixar and previous animated shorts I've seen. And then wanting to tell a romance story that felt honest.
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
The scene outside St Pauls cathedral was pretty tough. We were being rushed along and it was such a vital scene that had to be done correctly. I have a lot of appreciation for the cinematographer, Emilio, for having the camera on the easy rig for a solid hour or two for that scene - and it's probably my favourite scene in the film too, the performances with the soundtrack just elevate it so much.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
My passion for filmmaking started at 14, when a good friend of mine was really into it and I wanted to get involved. It became our main focus, we would write and storyboard in science classes so we could shoot ideas at the weekend. I later went to university to properly educate myself on film and that's where I made this film.
Did you feel any pressure writing, directing and editing Silver and Gold, will you take on as many roles on your next project?
I don't think I felt any pressure from the roles, but in time I think I would like to have someone else write something that I could direct. Maybe even write it together? But to focus on directing over anything else is the aim. I will still write, direct and edit my own films for a little while though, I just really enjoy being in the driver's seat from start to end.
What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from making this film?
The most valuable lesson I've learned from the making of the film is probably just to be honest with what you're making and not to be afraid to have the film as an expression of how you're feeling and want to show. I think if you get that down audiences will appreciate it more.
Should LGBTQ+ filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the narratives they want to tell?
Yes, LGBTQ+ filmmakers should definitely continue to push boundaries. Some of the shorts I've seen at the festival do exactly that and the wider the boundaries go more unique ways of telling captivating stories will arise and that's really exciting.
Do you have any tips or advice to offer a first time director or was there something you wish you had known before you started shooting?
Tips for first-time filmmakers are a bit tricky cause everyone is different. But some in relation to my film and my experience is making a film with no dialogue really helps because it forces you to use the medium. It relies a lot on the use of sound design over dialogue and with no talking it focuses on production design/ costume, makeup as key aspects to tell the story. I feel from experience at uni a lot of first-time directors love cameras and actors, which of course are great, but not giving attention to other aspects in the process can stop a film from really excelling. Another tip is to edit your own work, I feel like I learned so much by cutting out the bits that I thought worked in the script and it made the film so much better. Editing I think should be treated like re-writing in a way, I learned so much more about what we were trying to make in post-production than I did in any other stage, that's when the film really spoke to me I feel. Also, if it is your first film allow yourself to learn and stay calm when making it.
Some of the shorts I've seen at the festival do exactly that and the wider the boundaries go more unique ways of telling captivating stories will arise and that's really exciting.
What are you currently working on?
I'm currently writing a bit, throwing ideas around in my head, hopefully will be shooting a music video soon- I want to do more of them. Then there's another short that I made in June which is still in post-production, but I think that will end up being a part of something a bit larger.
And finally what do you hope people will take away from your film?
I hope that audiences take a bit of joy from the film, it's a feel-good film at the end of the day, but maybe also inspires some to 'step off that box' to get what they want and really go for it. Also possibly to rethink how they look at living statues performing on the streets haha.