Georgia Parris won the XX Award in 2014 for A Moment to Move.
What’s your background?
I trained as an Actor but soon realised I was much happier behind the camera and creating the content rather than being in it! I made my first film in 2012 which was a fashion film, I then began writing A Moment To Move a year or so later and eventually shot it in 2014.
How did your film come about?
The film originated from a personal experience with my own mum and sister. It’s actually the opening scene of the film! I discussed what happen with my co-writer Suresh Patel and it led to lengthy discussion and the eventual theme of the film about the role of women in later life; feeling invisible and reclaiming your sense of self when society has a tendency to ignore women of a certain age.
What was the most important lesson you learned in making the film?
On reflection my biggest lesson learnt was to trust myself and to stop worrying what everyone else was thinking. It can be a bit overwhelming when you have a lot of cast and crew working on your film and you’re the only one in the room with the whole thing planned out in your head! I was constantly felt I needed to justify each element of the shoot. I think its just a confidence thing though, shooting my latest film I felt a lot more at ease and just trusted that I knew the bigger picture and that everyone else knew that I knew it too!
What other female filmmakers inspire you?
The two that spring to mind immediately are Joanna Hogg, and Jane Champion. It’s a combination of their aesthetic, work ethic, and the way in which they develop and write their films. I think their exploration of female characters is amazing too.
What was your experience of screening your film in competition at Underwire Festival?
Screening at Underwire was wonderful, the film was in a programme of fascinating and diverse films. What I find particularly strong about Underwire is it genuinely supportive nature and how they never stop encouraging and promoting your work. I’ve been lucky enough to have my films show at various festivals but none of them have compared with Underwire in the ongoing support after the festival and they way they encourage networking and collaboration.
Did any opportunities arise from being part of Underwire?
Two films have come my way off the back of Underwire and then winning the XX Award. The film I’ve just shot, Always On was for Central School of Speech & Drama and then another short film for an Opera company that we’re currently securing funding for.
How did the prize you received from our award partner help you in your career?
Its been great, it was my first proper interview which made it a really interesting and valuable experience. Plus getting that exposure from a publication as respected as Screen International has really helped put my name out there as a Director.
How important have festival screenings been for you?
Really important, mostly for the people I have met through attending the screenings. It’s vital for short filmmakers to get exposure with the film industry being so difficult to break into, plus they are great chances for you to meet future collaborators and extend your network. Festivals really help in validating what we’re all doing.
Do you have any advice for filmmakers currently submitting their films to the festival circuit?
Really research the festivals and look back at what other events these festivals have put on in the past. Panel discussions, talks and networking opportunities can be incredibly insightful and inspiring. Create a festival strategy that is suited to your film and don’t just blanket submit. Its expensive and very time consuming.
What advice would you share with other filmmakers?
Stay strong to your ideas and have a story you really want to tell. The most original things I’ve seen have come from people that are incredibly passionate about their film and will get it made whatever reception they get to the idea!
What do you think would benefit female filmmakers trying to make it in the industry?
More exposure to the many diverse roles available in the film industry. Too much attention is put on on either being an Actor or a ‘female Director’! Greater promotion of female Cinematographers, Editors, Sound Designers, Art Directors and so on, should be happening and put in front of young women so they can see the options. On one of my first jobs as a runner I was the only female on set, that was an intimidating experience and one that in my opinion shouldn’t be the case any more, it should be far more balanced. Men and women watch films therefore men and women should be making them!
What projects are you working on now?
Alongside getting funding for a short I’ve started writing my first feature…