British Shorts Berlin 2019
Lucy Bridger &
Ailsa Vanessa Tapping
Drama / Fantasy / Comedy / Animation / Music Video
Sun 20.1. 18:00 / Sputnik Kino 1
Mothering tells the story of a young girl, Mia, arriving at her new foster home. When her first period arrives in the early hours, help comes in the form of her foster parent’s elderly mother, Pauline.
TNC talks to director Lucy Bridger & producer Ailsa Vanessa Tapping
Hi Alisa, thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for British Shorts 2019?
Ailsa - It’s great that we are going to be screened alongside so many other amazing shorts! I’m gutted that we can’t make it to Berlin to accompany Mothering.
Lucy - Yes we are! We're very excited to be screening in Berlin!
Do you ever get any nerves ahead of a festival screening?
Ailsa - Definitely! Even though we’ve screened at a fair few places now, it’s nerve-wracking to anticipate people’s reaction to the film.
Lucy - Yes we do, it's gotten slightly easier but I expect that I'll always feel nervous before a screening, I've made something personal and it's scary presenting it to a room full of strangers.
How does it feel to be at the festival with Mothering?
Ailsa - I’m incredibly proud. It’s probably the first time that I’ve been able to come out the other side of a project and be able to confidently say there’s not a single thing I would change about it, so it’s really rewarding to share it with festival audiences.
Lucy - It's great. This is the first short I'd written and directed and we had no idea how it'd do. We're really proud of ourselves and the team who threw themselves in the project the way they did. We feel very lucky!
The reaction to Mothering has been amazing, what has it meant to you to get this type of recognition for your film?
Ailsa - Again, incredibly proud! And more importantly - extremely grateful to all of our execs, cast, crew, friends and family who made it possible. We’ve always said that Mothering is an ode to mothers in whatever form they come, so it’s great to share what we feel is an important message.
Lucy - It's amazing! I can't really believe it. It's slowly sinking in and it's given us a lot of confidence to move forward with our next project which is a great feeling.
What did winning Best British Film at UK Film Festival mean to you?
Ailsa - Best British Short Film is a huge accomplishment for us, especially as we were screening alongside some really great (and important) films. The recognition we’ve received really has surpassed what I expected as it’s Lucy and I’s debut. Also, as a producer, it goes without saying that UK Film Festival’s generous £1,000 prize is a huge help towards our next project.
Lucy - So much, we saw some great films at that festival so it means a lot to be awarded. It still feels like a very good dream.
Are you looking forward to your International Premiere at Slamdance?
Ailsa - It’s so exciting! I’m just kicking myself that we aren’t able to go ourselves.
Lucy - Yeah, sadly we can't make it out there, but I would have loved to of seen it there. I feel like the film is quite British and I'm interested to see how it translates with to an American audience.
Tell me a little bit about Mothering how did the film come about?
Ailsa - Lucy and I met early last year, through mutual film-friends, and started working together on some commercial projects. We hit it off pretty instantly so when Lucy mentioned that she’d written a short, I was all over it. It’s rare to have such creative synergy with someone, I feel really lucky to have met her.
Lucy - I had an opportunity for some funding to make a short. It was 2 months after my Grandad had died and I decided to make something that was an ode to him and my grandma and their home and life in Yorkshire. There was a time when I stayed with them and had a really painful period as a teenager and my Grandma, who had a kind of x-ray vision, helped me out without fussing. I think there's a really unique dynamic between teenagers and grandparents. I found it incredibly calming being in presence of somebody who's lived a long time and as a teenager, it really helped me deal with things that were going on in my life. So that's why we made it. I wrote pitch and loose script and won some funding and it snowballed pretty quick from there.
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing Mothering to life?
Ailsa - It’s not the most interesting answer, but the whole process was incredibly smooth.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
Ailsa - I’ve always loved film as a medium, but it’s only recently (after six years in the industry) that I’ve fully accepted it can also be an incredible career.
Lucy - I think I have. Me and my brother's used to make films growing up, violent, die-hard homages. I found a video recently where I must have been about 8 years old and I'm running around a campsite singing music and I quite clearly remember I was trying to do a title sequence with a high-speed effect. Obviously, the outcome was a lot of shaky camera work with heavy breathing to accompany it, but the cogs had started turning. My brother is now a gaffer and my other brother an actor so it definitely did something to us! Since then I did a degree in fashion imaging and was tutored by a great director called Ivana Bobic, who really helped ignite my interest in film. I've worked mainly in commercials since university and made a few short docs.
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
Ailsa - In its nature, the film is all about collaboration. It’s incredibly important and helped shape Mothering into what it was. We share space with such talented individuals, it would be a huge shame to waste that knowledge.
How much has your approach to your work changed since your debut short film?
Lucy - I think I'm more confident. I've only ever done documentary before so writing fiction was a new territory as was directing actors. I'm really excited to go into our next project and I think I'll relax more during the next shoot.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Ailsa - Go for it and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be kind and look out for those around you. Share your space and help represent the under-represented. As a female filmmaker, I think it’s also incredibly important to stand your ground and be confidently unapologetic in your actions.
What are you currently working on?
Ailsa - Alongside my life in commercial work, my aim for this year is to build my narrative slate, starting with Lucy and I’s second short which is currently in development - very exciting times ahead!
Lucy - I've written another short and we're just about to begin the funding/production process. Mothering was a very feminine film, so this project will be an antithesis of that.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
Ailsa - This film had a number of really important messages to convey, the main effort is to help de-stigmatise periods. This is less of a noticeable take-away, but we made an effort to female-friendly film set (with 70% of our crew female.) Building equal space in a very male-dominated industry is really important for me, both in the end film and the way that it is created.
Lucy - A few things. Mainly that life is often painful but is equally beautiful. SPOILER ALERT! When our lead cries at the end, she is sad because her mother cannot mother her but she is simultaneously joyous because a woman who has known her for less than 24 hours is trying to tenderly mend her.
I also hope it normalises the experience of having a period. It's irritating that we are taught to heavily conceal something so natural. The cultural shame attached to periods effects those who are most vulnerable the worst.