2024 June 27


-What has been the greatest difficulty you faced in producing your project?

Producing a film involves orchestrating a complex symphony of details whilst holding onto the vision. From coordinating things like food and transportation between locations, and checking in with the team during intense scenes, felt like I was both a conductor and caretaker. I was constantly thinking of the people above everything else on set to ensure a safe passage for all, and at the same time I was checking in on scenes as it was my story being filmed and holding the authenticity was important to me. In post-production, the editing process demanded meticulous attention to detail, stitching together scenes, refining pacing, and maintaining my overall vision was exhilarating and exhausting. My festival strategy evolved as I had to be adaptable in my approach to film festivals after a number of knock backs. Then as the awards started flowing in, it became an addiction in many ways and then it was hard to know when to stop.  Filmmaking, for me, is an artistry of balancing so many things all at once in the air, and not letting one ball drop. 

-Do you think the film industry today has been damaged by political correctness?

The film industry, like any cultural sphere, grapples with the impact of political correctness. While sensitivity and inclusivity are essential, there’s a find balance to strike. The only thing I had to grapple with was “trigger warnings”. As someone with lived trauma experience and work in the area of mental health, I’ve encountered this firsthand. ‘Say My Name’ delves into addiction, abuse, violence and suicide, each carries immense emotional weight. Providing trigger warnings can be well-intentioned, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Trigger warnings suggests that we might exacerbate mental health struggles, but the latest research and I would agree, by desensitising viewers, we risk hindering healing. As filmmakers, we must approach this with empathy. Balancing artistic expression with audience wellbeing is crucial. Perhaps, rather than warnings, fostering post-viewing discussions or providing resources could be more effective. Healing lies in acknowledging pain while allowing space for growth. 

-What was the greatest source of inspiration for creating your project?

This short film is based on my younger life story and book ‘Sleeping Under the Bridge’. This is the first book in a trilogy series that I want to be turned into feature films. The short film was to enable the start of this long-term vision. I always had the dream to have a film depicting the trauma I lived through as a child to shine as a beacon of hope that anyone can overcome any battle in life. My inspiration is if my life can give courage and change to other people’s stories, then it is worth sharing. It is why I have dedicated this short film and my books to all those who have walked in these shoes. As a survivor of horrendous trauma, I’ve transformed pain into purpose. Sharing this narrative is not just a story or a concept, it is a lived reality. The feature films will expand on this impact, as there is far more to tell of my story, more healing to offer the world.

-If you could ask a question to a great director from the past, who would you like to talk to and what would you ask them?

Given my background, I didn’t get to see much films as a teenager, but one of my early graphic design jobs was creating movie posters and VCR covers that drew me into film. I soon learned that I loved films that make you think, that doesn’t give away every detail but allows you as the viewer to walk through discovering what you need about the characters and yourself. I wanted my short film to do precisely that, and to not have much dialogue but to drive the message through visual and sound. As a team, I think we did this extraordinary well. There was one particular movie that was a cinematic innovation that struck me in my late teens that I watched many times over my lifetime, ‘Metropolis’, the 1927 German expressionist science-fiction silent film. Directed by Fritz Lang and based on Thea von Harbou’s 1925 novel, ‘Metropolis’ immerses viewers in a futuristic urban dystopia. If I could converse with Fritz Lang, I would ask him about the delicate balance between revealing and withholding details. How did he craft a film that invites introspection without spoon-feeding the audience? How did he hold the silence, and yet add depth? The film’s art direction that was inspired by opera, Cubism and Futurism, melds seamlessly with its Gothic undertones. Perhaps Lang would share how he wove these influences into a tapestry of human struggle and hope. 

-What do you think of the Wild Filmmaker platform?

Being recognised as an award-winning film first by 8 and a Halfilm Awards opened doors to the Wild Filmmaker platform. It allowed me then to expand our network and awards portfolio. Recognition is both validation and motivation for indie producers. The platform’s evolution from awards to events is a positive shift providing networking opportunities and exposure for indie creators. Thank you for making the platform affordable for indie creators and your vision in providing prestigious names that reflect the entire film industry is enlightening. Balancing opportunities while maintaining focus is an art, especially when receiving frequent selection invites. Supporting indie filmmakers is vital, and platforms like Wild Filmmaker play a crucial role. Thank you for championing our work, and my vision to captivate hearts.