Cannes Film Festival
Short Film Corner 2021
& Oscar Downing
A South London teenager struggle to lay claim to her selfhood, amid the chaos of her home life with a neuroatypical brother.
Hi Matilda & Oscar, thanks for talking to The New Current, how have you been keeping during these strange Covid times?
We are good thank you! It has been an insane year but things are starting to look up. It’s great to chat to you about our project.
Has this time offered you any new creative opportunities?
Well in a funny sort of way Tildypops was born out of this strange year. The script was an originally a one woman show and the time in the first lock down gave us the opportunity to turn it into a screenplay. That’s why there’s lots of voice over and you really feel like you’re inside the protagonist’s head – it started as a monologue! With theatres being out of action for almost a year, we decided to focus our efforts into making it a film that’s been a pretty huge creative opportunity.
Congratulations on having Tildypops part of this years Short Film Corner, how does it feel to be able to present your short film at Cannes?
Great! It’s been incredible to attend this year’s festival and tell people about our film. We’ve received some great feedback already so we can’t wait to get it out there and find a good place for its world premiere.
What do you hope to take away from your experience being part of Cannes Short Film Corner?
It’s been amazing to meet so many great people and it’s such an inspiring place. Tiggy is hoping to return to the UK feeling invigorated and ready to write more.
How did you both come to direct Tildypops together and what has this process been like for you?
Oscar read the original one woman show and was busting with so many ideas for it on screen. Tiggy kept saying things like, but how would that work? I don’t understand what you’d see here - it’s all in her head. After some lengthy discussions about how it would work and a fifty-two-page storyboard it started to become a reality. Coming from a background in performance, Tiggy took care of the actors and communicating the story whereas Oscar took the reins for the technical side – calling the shots as it were.
Can you tell me how Tildypops came about, what inspired your screenplay?
It is a semi-autobiographical story that was born out of a particular perspective on the world and the question of what it is like to grow up with a sibling with ASD. We felt that there is not a lot of literature that tackles this issue and what it can feel like, so we made a film that talks about in a cheerful, humorous and also deep way. It’s very important to us.
When was the biggest challenges you faced making Tildypops?
Trying to dive to the bottom of a swimming pool, stay upside down and hold our breath for the duration of a take.
"...whether you’ve stared at your phone doing the plank desperate for someone to reply to your message, or you’ve been at the dinner table at a loss of what to say, or you’re family suffers from mental health issues..."
As this is your directorial debut how has the collaborative nature of making this film been for you been for you?
It was fun. It difficult. Blood, sweat and tears went in to the making of this film. The collaborative nature worked well because we both had different remits at what were good at. Oscar took care of the technical side whereas Tiggy looked after, “the actually important stuff.” (Oscar’s words not mine).
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Oscar’s first word was action.
How much has your previous filmmaking experiences helped prepare. you for making Tildypops?
Our previous filmmaking experience helped us to think hard about what’s important for the story, what’s funny and what keeps people engaged. But there’s still a lot to learn…
What has been the most valuable lesson you've taken away from making Tildypops?
To stay calm and try not to get frazzled… even if you’re being told off for guerrilla style filming and you only have one final opportunity to get the last shot of the film.
Now you can be reflective do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
And finally, what do you want people will take away from Tildypops?
Not to feel not alone. It’s a story about a normal teenage girl with a normal experience and yet the fact that it is so deeply personal means that we hope it should resonate with everyone. The message of Tildypops is universal and specific. So, whether you’ve stared at your phone doing the plank desperate for someone to reply to your message, or you’ve been at the dinner table at a loss of what to say, or you’re family suffers from mental health issues – in watching Tildpops, you should feel like you’re not the only one.