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15th LICHTSPIELKLUB
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
Interview

Martin Cannon  
Milk Teeth 

Comedy  / Drama
Sun 23.01. 20:00 / City Kino Wedding
martincannonfilms.com

A routine visit to the dentist for identical teenage twin sisters (Chloe and Cadi) leads to more than just discomfort.

Hi Martin thank you for talking to The New Current, these have been some very strange times, how have you been holding up?

Cheers for letting me chat briefly about 'Milk Teeth'. It’s a very strange moment in time, isn’t it? I’ve been ok thanks, I’ve been taking stock of things and trying my best to be creative where I can. I also started cycling a lot, which has helped.

Congratulations on having Milk Teeth selected for British Shorts 2022, how does it feel to be at the festival and part of such an amazing line-up of short films?

Thanks! honestly, it’s a treat. The festival is always well-curated and the organisers are proper friendly. I’m just happy that the team who put their collective effort into the film, get to have it shown on a screen in an actual cinema, I’m just gutted none of us are there for it this year.

Can you tell me a little bit about how Milk Teeth came about, what inspired your screenplay?

Sure, It came from a few things really. The main inspiration for the film was sibling rivalry. I remember thinking about my family, and how sibling relationships can have moments of odd bitterness. I also recall seeing twins arguing and thinking at the time how striking it was as a visual. I was also interested in how self-conscious you become when you leave the dentist after having a filling, that hour or so when your mouth is numb and you feel like everyone is staring at your droopy lip. So yeah, those things were the starting off point for the film.

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"...I also feel I have a better understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking, for example, not just shooting a shot for it to look pretty."

Are you able to be flexible with your screenplay once you start shooting?

 

On this one, not so much. We did rehearse a couple of times via zoom before shooting. The actors (who also are writers), twins, Mari & Lowri Izzard, both helped to subtlety tweak the dialogue of their characters - then It was sort of locked in before the shoot. It had to be pretty precise for the beats of the film to be there on the day. 

What was the hardest scene for you to film and is there anything you would have done differently on Milk Teeth? 

The Steadicam sequence was tricky in terms of having a small crew and not much light left at the end of the shooting day - but fortunately the crew and actors pulled it off beautifully within the first few takes. Being fussy, I’d probably shoot slightly different coverage in the car.

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

Definitely. We’re all weirdos in our own way, it’s great when you see a film that is marching to its own beat.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I started doing acting/improv classes in my late teens, working with actors once a week was amazing - It really helped get my creative drive going. Those classes led me to write and get behind a camera. My older brother also had an eclectic DVD collection growing up, so finding films through him helped expand my knowledge of cinema.

What was your experience being selected for the 2019 BAFTA Crew & BFI Network? 

It was helpful, I found a few collaborators through it. It forced me to network which is something I’m not great at. They also have great industry talks that can be found on their youtube channel, I think.

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How much has your approach to your writing and directing changed since your debut short?

I take more time to develop the script now, I also compile loads of still images to help keep the idea alive when the page isn’t doing anything for me. I think over the last couple of years I have developed relationships with a few people that I can turn to and ask their honest opinion on a script/idea, which is invaluable. And I also feel I have a better understanding of the technical aspects of filmmaking, for example, not just shooting a shot for it to look pretty. There needs to be a motive for the camera to be there or otherwise, it’s pointless.

Is there any tips or advice you would offer someone thinking about getting into filmmaking? 

A lot of people have said it before me, and a lot better - but just find a way to make something, be resourceful with whatever money you have, look for free software and online tutorials. Find actors in local drama schools or ask mates who feel comfortable in front of cameras, and go for it.

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Milk Teeth?

To look after their teeth.