top of page


British Shorts Berlin 2019
Helena Coan

Festival Screening 

Animation / Music Video / Drama / Comedy / Thriller / Mystery

Fri 18.1. 21:30 / Sputnik Kino 1

Two strangers, brought together by unlikely circumstances, discover each others hidden secrets.​

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

Hello! Yes I am ready and excited for my first born film to have a German adventure.


Any nerves ahead of the festival?

Just lots of excitement.


How does it feel to be at the festival with Keepsake?

It feels great! I’m very grateful to be a part of such an interesting festival and loads of the other films look amazing. Plus, Berlin is such a great city. Last time I was there was for my 20th birthday with 16 friends and wonderfully unspeakable things occurred.


The reaction to the film has been amazing, what has it meant to you to get this type of response to your film?

This is the first short narrative film I’ve made so just to have anyone watch it and not think it’s complete unadulterated trash is a relief. To be honest I was never focused on the response it was going to get, I just really wanted to make it. 


Tell me a little bit about Keepsake how did the film come about?

The film is loosely based on a personal experience I had when I first moved to London when I was 18. I was on a bus coming home about 1am and an elderly man in a hospital gown asked me to help him get home. So I pushed him home in his wheelchair and before I knew it I was inside his house, which was possibly the most harrowing place I’ve ever been. He was 85 years old, living in complete squalor and no one was helping him. I helped him get into bed and I came back the next morning to check on him and he was gone. I saw him once again and then never saw him again. The focus of Keepsake is different, but that experience was the origins of the story.

Keepsake Still_1.jpg

What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Keepsake to life?



Have you always been interested in filmmaking?

I’ve always been interested in storytelling. For as long as I can remember I’ve written stories and I always read a lot. We didn’t have a TV in my house growing up so a lot of my time was spent reading and writing. I loved inventing my own worlds and think I often preferred them to the actual world I was living in.


I don’t think I realised I wanted to be a filmmaker until I watched a few Charlie Chaplin films for the first time. I remember seeing the speech in The Great Dictator and just being overwhelmed by the potential of cinema to change people’s perspectives.


What feeds your creativity?

Love and fear.


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

It’s invaluable. As a director you have to completely believe in your process and your idea and push for it as much as you can, but without collaboration I couldn’t do my job. I was so lucky to have an incredible crew on Keepsake who just all believed in the film wholeheartedly. As Alan Williams (who plays Arthur) put it, we had ‘that priceless feeling of, “We’ve saved up about twenty quid, let’s try and make magic with it!


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

Read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.


What are you currently working on?

I’m currently developing my second feature documentary which I am incredibly excited about, and I’ve just finished writing my second short script, which I’m also incredibly excited about. So I’m working on calming myself down.


And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?

A greater understanding and appreciation for characters and humans that are not absolute. An understanding that people are neither wholly good nor bad, everyone and everything is flawed and nuanced and always changing.

bottom of page