14th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL, 2021
"I DIDN'T NECESSARILY KNOW I WANTED TO BE A FILMMAKER...BUT WATCHING THOSE FILMS WAS A REALLY POWERFUL FEELING, WHICH I ENDED UP CHASING AND HAS LED ME TO THIS POINT."
Hovering Between Us
Section: BROKEN HEARTS
Hovering Between Us screens as part of the BFI Future Film Festival from 18-21 February, free on
Hovering Between Us follows a night in the life of a young (almost couple). Maria and Alex live together, and have been friends for years with an interwoven history, but their relationship has drifted. In secret, Maria keeps a digital library of all their online interactions. As the night unfolds, Alex’s character shows everything is not as it seems from the way it's portrayed in the digital realm.
Hi Miles thank you for talking to TNC, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?
I think on most days probably surviving more than thriving…But still I’ve got lots to be thankful for and have been able to take the enforced period of solitude as a time to work on some things I’d been putting off and fill in a LOT of the gaps on my classic movie watchlist, as well as obsessively scroll through Instagram and Twitter.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration?
It felt like a clear line was drawn between “then” and “now” for me, and that’s kind of liberating. A lot of the ideas I’d been working on or considering before no longer felt right. I’ve felt clearer about the kinds of perspectives and stories that I want to hear and watch…part of that comes from it just being such a period of change, but the isolation (though it can be unpleasant and monotonous at times) has also brought some things into focus.
Congratulations on having Hovering Between Us selected for the BFI Future Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of Broken Hearts section?
Thank you! It’s great to be a part of the festival, especially organised by the BFI to showcase and connect young filmmakers. As far as I know it’s the only festival that does that in such a way and I’m interested to see the rest of the Broken Hearts section and how Hovering fits in, as well as the rest of the festival’s films.
Can you tell me a little bit about Hovering Between Us, how did this film come about?
I was keen to look at how we categorise relationships and have certain expectations that we bring to stories. So the film starts out as an expected romantic story, before it turns into something else. I’d also been thinking a lot about how social media and technology can be a force to connect as well as to divide or isolate us. I wanted to make a film that explored that in more depth on an individual level. When the Barbican announced their Life Rewired programme, where they commissioned twelve short films to commemorate the anniversary of the internet, it felt like the perfect opportunity to try and get this film made.
What where the biggest challenges you faced brining this film to life?
I think with all short films, the shoot practicalities and production side can be particularly challenging. But it’s all possible because of the people who worked on it, the cast and crew, and the way everyone pulls together on the day. From writing a first draft to finishing all the post, short film feel like a bit of a marathon; working on things in between other commitments, trying to keep your head in the story and stay inspired as you and the world continues to change. But those connections and the film as a snapshot of thinking is something really special to be able to take forward, as well as all the lessons I’ve learnt.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
I think as ever, there’s a few things that I would have written or approached differently given a second chance. I think the main thing was being more focused and not to filter or second guess things quite so much…going forward, I’ll trust in the logic that as long as it means something to me and is something I’d want to watch, it should connect with others.
"Given everything that’s going on at the moment with Covid, that we can’t be together in person and how much I for one am glued to my phone these days…"
What has been the most valuable lesson you have taken away from making Hovering Between Us?
Ah, there’s been so many. I think that one of the most valuable lessons is to find good people, who you want to work with and then to trust them. The thing I remember being most struck by, was the leap from the written page and what I was then seeing and hearing on the day. It’s a bit of an obvious thing to say, but when the lights are on and someone who can act is bringing their viewpoint…it’s special. I’m trying to trust the magic of that more when I’m writing now.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I think I was always kind of obsessive with films. I’m an only child and grew up hoarding VHS’s and DVD’s I’d get from charity shops, exposing myself to weird films not knowing what they were - but ending up stumbling across stuff like Lynne Ramsay, Wong Kar-Wai and Andrea Arnold. I didn’t necessarily know I wanted to be a filmmaker then. But watching those films was a really powerful feeling, which I ended up chasing and has led me to this point.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give?
Try to be honest at all times and don’t take rejection as a reflection on yourself.
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
For sure, especially with short films. There’s filmmaking that is all about entertainment and being safe – there’s a time and a place for that, totally. But there’s also the kinds of films that are all about making mistakes, trying out things. It doesn’t always work, but I appreciate people trying to do something new – because sometimes it lets you see things with new eyes.
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Find your people, the ones you connect with, are moved by things in a similar way and do anything you can to work with them, in any capacity.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Hovering Between Us?
Given everything that’s going on at the moment with Covid, that we can’t be together in person and how much I for one am glued to my phone these days…maybe to consider the way we engage with technology, not that its straight bad, but just to think about our habits. That’s something I find myself thinking about a lot for myself. But honestly, if people are moved in any way or take anything away, that’s great – that’s theirs.