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15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Lucy Werret 
Homebound 

Section: Through The Looking Glass 
lucywerrett.com

In this experimental documentary, we take a retrospective look at the collective mental shifts that occurred in the first UK lockdown. Narrated by a patchwork quilt of anonymous voices - self-recorded from within their isolation during the first lockdown. Each person describes how this enforced pause has led them to view the world in a new light and confronted them with their demons and desires.

Hey Lucy, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times? 

Hey no worries thanks for having me! I'm doing ok thank you, I've been trying keeping busy to distract myself from the strangeness haha!

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities? 

The past two years has offered me a lot of time and a lot of reflection so I've been trying to figure out my next moves, who I am as an artist, focus on my goals, and make sure I'm working towards them. I've not been short of inspiration fortunately as I know a lot of people have struggled with this. I've leaned on having a creative outlet as a release from everything. My film Homebound was birthed in these times and inspired by the current world state and gave me a lot of inspiration, I also met some amazing creatives through it which has led to future collaborations and enquiries.

What does it mean to be screening Homebound at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival? 

Ah it's amazing me and my producer felt that the online premiere was slightly anti-climactic so actually being able to see the film on a big screen with an audience feels like the ending we wanted and it deserves.

Homebound is going to be in the Through the Looking Glass Section of the festival, will there be any nerves ahead of the festival? 

I'm more excited than nervous actually, I'm looking forward to seeing people's responses and to see how they connect with the film. I still get goosebumps listening to the stories so will be interesting to see initial reactions from people who aren't involved. I will be nervous if I have to do any public speaking though haha...

Can you tell me a little bit about how Homebound came about, what was the inspiration behind your film and what was the message you wanted to convey with this short?

The film actually started with a two-hour-long phone call with my best friend in the first lockdown. We spoke about the world, our lives and how we were feeling at the time. He was opening up in ways that I’ve never heard him do before. After getting permission I then recorded our conversation and I was so captivated by his reflections and realisations and the rawness that came from him just by listening. We thanked each other for that exchange and this positive call is what inspired the basis of the film. I wanted to capture the same authenticity where people dictate their own reflections and stories and record themselves. The film has acted like therapy for me, my producer and my contributors because it felt like we weren’t alone in our struggles. We were connected by being disconnected and it enabled us to process what has happened, see the bigger picture and feel connected to the world around us. The film focused our minds on what truly matters!

The early stage of the pandemic almost felt like a worldwide breakup, you realise something is broken and go through this process or journey and you start to see things differently. I wanted to capture this unique headspace and for everyone to relate to the reflections, realisations and new perspectives that are the outcome of experiencing something so wild.

When working on a short film like this how flexible do you allow yourself? 

Because it was made in lockdowns and during the early Covid times, coupled with not having much work coming in or being able to work it allowed us to be flexible but also we were restrained. You get faced with a lot of hurdles when working on passion projects which meant we had to be flexible. There were times when we wanted to rush the film to get it out at "the right time" but I'm glad we didn't rush the process and went with our instincts. Of course, we would be strict with our own set deadlines as that's important but considering the world was collapsing we had to allow some flexibility. It was hard to push through when experiencing all this and I think mental well being and safety had to be prioritised too.

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Homebound to life? 

Hmmm there was a fair few! Making a film without a budget during Covid was hard but people wanted to satisfy their creative needs and make something special so we're up for getting involved. There's a lot of extra kit and lights that would have helped in certain scenes but we made do with what we had. I also found that being so close to these stories and being the director/editor made it hard for me to "kill my darlings" as they say. I felt very attached and connected to them. I think creatively it was the hardest, we were using actors and lonely exterior shots to tell the stories of multiple people and it was difficult to make it work and flow in the edit. This was the longest project I've ever edited so it was testing for me. There are always challenges but that's what makes it the more rewarding! I lost a lot of sleep over the film haha.

Since making Homebound what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from making this film? 

Emotionally I've realised how resilient I am as a filmmaker and how I should trust my decisions way more. It's also showed me the power of community filmmaking in Bristol! The fact that so many people came together to make something was just really special.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from? 

I think it started to develop at the BFI Film Academy actually, years ago! I realised how much I enjoyed films and storytelling from writing about films in film studies. I loved analysing them and breaking them down to understand the creative choices. I have always been creative from a young age though, writing songs, writing in a diary, taking photos and writing mini-stories.

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell? 

I think as long as it's authentic to who you are and the story. I'm one for breaking the conventional formalities of documentary and seeing how far I can go with my own visual dialogue to tell a story using different styles and tools but as long as the narrative doesn't get lost or feel unauthentic. I like to ensure every element is emotionally significant and relevant to the story or subject.

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"I don't regret starting out as a runner or working in TV because if you are unsure about getting into the industry or what role you want to do it can be helpful."

For anyone out there thinking about getting into filmmaking do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

Opportunities don't just fall on your lap unless you are one of the lucky few so go out and grab them but be patient because it can take time and persistence is everything. Meet people whose work you like and keep a dialogue open, surround yourself with like-minded and talented people, make films even if you don't have the budget because they can lead to new opportunities and will develop your style and you'll find your fitting in the field. I don't regret starting out as a runner or working in TV because if you are unsure about getting into the industry or what role you want to do it can be helpful. However having said that I wish I knew more about pitching, funding opportunities and mentoring earlier because I knew I wanted to make my own films and this could get you to where you want to be quicker. Keep applying for funding or competitions/artist schemes and don't be afraid to ask questions or advice. Use social media to connect with people you'd like to work with!

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

I hope the stories connect with people and provoke individual reflections. I hope it shows the fragility of our mental health without connection and makes you feel less alone in your struggles and thoughts. I think Homebound will act as a retrospective history capture on that unique mindset we collectively shared and is a reminder of our resilience.

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