Originally published in 2015 ahead of its world Premiere in London
Twenty-two-year-old David has it all – he’s young, attractive and has just gotten into a prestigious dance school. But he’s also been sleeping with his sister’s husband Jules for two years and is beginning to feel the strain. Throwing himself into a one-night stand with Sam, he soon finds himself in another intense relationship...
Soft Lad is the directorial debut from Leon Lopez with the low budget spirit of the film follows in the truest sense of what makes British Films so special. Following the screening at Genesis Cinema on the 9th there will be a Q&A which will be a perfect time to discover how Lopez and his team managed to achieve something so rich in such little time.
Hello Leon, thanks for talking to TNC, how's everything going?
Things are going really well, thank you. I'm so excited at the moment
Congratulations on having Soft Lad being selected for the East End Film Festival 2015, how did it feel to have your film chosen?
It's been a massive achievement. A dream almost. I didn't make the film with any intentions and the fact we have distribution with Peccadillo Pictures and are being entered and selected to festivals is amazing
This is your directorial debut, what has it mean to get this type of recognition for your film?
Again it's been more than I could have hoped for. Directing is a passion of mine and the story of soft Lad is of major importance to me.
Any nerves about screening it at such a huge London festival?
I am so nervous. It's crazy to think that soon everyone will be able to watch my film.
Tell me a little bit about Soft Lad, what's the film about?
The film is about a young dancer who is having an affair with his sister's husband. It's set in Liverpool although it could be anywhere in the world. It's a story about family, friends love and lust and betrayal.
What was the inspiration behind the film?
I Wanted to talk about how our actions can affect others and how being selfish can not only harm you but others. I think these are life lessons that everyone needs to be aware of.
What had been the hardest scene for you to film?
The entire film was shot in 7 days. I can't actually remember much of it, it was which a whirlwind. But there are many emotional scenes. There is a huge scene towards the end that is broken into 3 sections but runs for about 10 minutes. It was hard to film logistically. But really rewarding in the end
Looking back is there anything you would do differently?
We had a tiny budget. Less than £16k. If I could go back I would like to have a little more money to spend.
But other than that I wouldn't change a thing.
How did you manage all your roles on this film?
I was director, editor, and producer. I also had to make the schedules. It was tough but had to be done or else it wouldn't have happened. I didn't have any money to employ people to do all of this So I just did it.
Have you always wanted to be a filmmaker?
Yes. I am a natural storyteller. I have been writing since I was young and I really enjoy using the medium of film to tell stories.
What was your first film experience like, was it a steep learning curve?
I learned so much. And I loved every minute. I learned that nothing is impossible and hard work pays off. I also learned they there's nothing better than having talented friends who believe in you. This film would not have been possible without them!
What was the biggest lesson you learned after you made Hiding in the Shadows?
Hiding in the shadows was basically a two-hander set in a park. And I used it to practice camera skills and editing.
"I always feel that whatever people take away from a film is personal to them."
As well as directing you're also an actor and singer, which skin do you feel more comfortable in?
At the moment directing is feeling most comfortable as I love creating. I feel most creative when working on my own stories and watching them come to life. But I will always love being an Actor and creating characters and I feel this has really helped with my directing.
What was the first film you saw that made you think ‘I want to do this’?
I love 'Grease' the movie and there is a big homage to this in Soft Lad.
What would be the best advice you could give someone who is thinking about getting into filmmaking?
Learn as much as you can about each and every discipline. Learn basics of lighting sound and camera and acting. That way you can relate to everyone on set and communicate your ideas clearly with a good knowledge of what goes into other people's jobs. It makes things much quicker and people respect you for it.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Soft Lad?
I hope they enjoy the story. That is all. I always feel that whatever people take away from a film is personal to them. The people who have seen it so far have taken many things from it and I believe there is something almost everyone can identify with at one level or another. It's not an easy story. It's emotional and it's hard hitting at times. But for me, ultimately it's about love.