Here at the National Youth Film Academy, we are all about collaboration! Bringing talented, like-minded people together to make short films. It’s what we do! So when we heard that after our #SetReady course, members got together to make a short film, you just know we were excited! Well, we were even more excited to find out their film ‘Concrete Pillow’, has won an award! We caught up Director, Julia Whitehouse, and Actor, Dan Wyatt, to find out about their film’s success. You can watch the film below too!
An Interview with Julia:
Concrete Pillow is about homelessness, most notably the juxtaposition between an adult and child’s reaction towards a homeless man at a bus station. We won the award for Best Direction at the Streatham Film Festival! They said that we’d done particularly well since part of our challenge was to film in a bus station (every group got a different location).
Tell us about the pre-production:
Pre-production involved many hours of brainstorming over noodles and orange squash. We came up with the idea and I tried to source a child at midnight with 6 hours notice whilst Christian (writer) typed away. Despite the mad goal, the script was completed and I found a child and was up 4 hours later to travel across London to pick him up with a packed breakfast.
and how did production go?
It was great fun! It was also mad! A small alcove in a London bus station on a Saturday morning next to a big Tesco is a ridiculous place to film. It smelt of urine and alcohol, was exceptionally noisy, and we had to find increasingly creative ways of keeping the (extremely active) child entertained. Despite only having 6 hours to shoot, it was one of the calmest, happiest and collaborative sets I’ve ever worked on.
Did anything unexpected happen during filming?
Apart from the DOP (James) tripping and doing a backwards roll across the bus station forecourt (camera in hand), me continually forgetting the one line I had which was a cue for the child to stand up, and the child announcing that he was about to be sick and needed a nap, I can’t think of anything…
What about post-production?
My internet speed was not fast enough to upload the footage which meant we had to wait for the writer to get back to Manchester before the editor (Corey) had anything to work with. I went to bed after a video chat with Corey and spoke to him again in the morning. He was wearing the same clothes but remarkably still smiling and able to make coherent sentences. He also had the first edit!
Finally, is there anything else in the pipeline?
There is no stopping us now. I’d like to enter other 48-hour film challenges, apply for the NYFA 1K competition, and just keep making films in any way that we can. I have a Christmas film idea which I’m currently running past Christian. Watch this space!
Julia on the National Youth Film Academy:
Would you recommend the National Youth Film Academy?
Absolutely yes! The National Youth Film Academy gave me the space, time, and contacts to not only make a film during the course, but realise that I really do want to direct films, and that it is possible.
Any advice for those thinking about joining the National Youth Film Academy?
Save up your money, and book a place on the course!
National Youth Film Academy – Members
If you’d love to meet and work with like-minded people to create a short film in 10 days- Find out about our #SetReady course here!