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MARCH 30, 2024 

Locked outside at 3am, this isn't the wild one-night stand Georgie and Alisha had imagined. A lust story turned sad as the girls desperately chase the night trying not let their high die and the mayhem turn to regret.

Hi Yvonne, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us here at The New Current. Are you looking forward to having your World Premiere of debut short Stella at BFI Flare?

Yes, it was a real pinch me moment when we got selected for the BFI Flare especially with my debut short film and I am so proud of everyone involved that got us to this point. 


How important are film festivals like BFI Flare in providing a platform for unique LGBTQ+ films like Stella?


It’s really important that the LGBTQ+ community are showcased and having a platform at the BFI is essential to that. Representation matters, and within our current climate it’s really inspiring to see so many queer film makers and brilliant stories being told. 


I have to ask, will there be any nerves ahead of the screening?

Definitely! I was super nervous at our private cast and crew screening but I think I will be even more so at it’s public premiere at the BFI. Mixed with excitement of course. 


What was the first LGBTQ+ film you saw that left an impact on you? Mine was Beautiful Thing, still is, but there has since been so many more.

Mine was ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’ by Abdellatif Kechiche. I think that resonated with me because it was two women that were romantically involved, and it felt bold, beautiful, and political. It was unapologetic and that representation on screen really contributed to my mindset when I came out.


How did Stella come about, what was the inspiration behind your screenplay?

It is an autobiographical fictional account of a night I once had after the passing of my dear Dad. I wanted to explore the feeling and escapism people can have when they meet someone that knows nothing about them, especially when they’re going through trauma. It can feel liberating to recreate yourself for a moment in time but it doesn’t always work out the way you’d want it to. 


What was the most challenging aspect of bringing Stella to the big screen?

I produced STELLA as well as writing and directing it which was a huge learning curve for me as I’d never done this before. This meant I was concentrating on logistics too and I found that really challenging to break away from at moments. I was also battling imposter syndrome as a first time film maker, but purposely I surrounded myself with an incredibly talented and experienced team that helped pull it all together.

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"Within my time, I noticed that although queer stories are told they are still unrepresented and often limited in their world view."

Once you started shooting where you able to give your cast some flexibility with the screenplay or did you prefer to shoot what you wrote?

My process is write the script, talk through my vision with the team and then hand the roles over to the actors once we all feel routed deeply in the world of the film. If they want to change certain lines then I am so open to that as long as it feels comfortable for them and doesn’t change our narrative. 


Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

Storytelling has been a part of my life for as far back as my memory can reach, and this has developed through various forms. At drama school I realised I wasn't interested in performing the story per se, but in the voice and method behind the storytelling. After leaving drama school I went into casting within HETV and Film. I have always loved working with scripts and actors. Within my time, I noticed that although queer stories are told they are still unrepresented and often limited in their world view. I had so many stories I wanted to tell and so many people I wanted to represent so at the beginning of the year 2023, I took the plunge and went freelance in order to allow myself time to make my passion a practical reality. 


Did you background as a casting director influence your approach to how you make Stella?

Yes, my background in casting gave me a platform to work with such incredible actors, writers, directors, and producers on such a high level and learn from them. It gave me a professional and pragmatic approach to my process. Not being a stranger to the industry helped with confidence too, as I already knew and was able to use technical language with my team which helped it be as seamless as possible. 


And does coming from a casting background give you a more intimate relationship between you as writer/director and your actors?

Definitely, I was so lucky to work with such incredible directors in casting and some outstanding projects. I knew from the get go which actors I wanted in the project because I am exposed to these actors during my work in casting. I am used to reading successful scripts and look books that work, and this helped me with clarity of my vision.  I picked up so many gems whilst working with directors in the casting room too and these techniques helped me pull performances out of my actors that were nuanced and really bloody good. 


What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve taken from this journey?

To not produce at the same time as writing/directing at the stage I am at on my film making journey. This way, I can allow myself to fully emerge myself in the creative aspects and not get caught up too much in figuring out the logistics. 


Is there any advice you would offer any emerging filmmaker or casting director?

To go for it!! Try and get onto set and do as much practical learning as you can. This will help you so much when you’re holding court on your own set. 


And finally, what message do you hope your audiences will take away from Stella?

That out of the overwhelming feelings that grief can leave you with, there is still hope, joy, friendship and other wonderful things in your life. However far you run from your feelings, they will catch up with you; so embrace the moments where you are held and heard by someone, even if it is a stranger.

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