High Falls Film Festival 2018 - Nothing Important

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A modern day psychological horror, Nothing Important is the chilling tale of one woman's efforts to steal her life back from her lonely female neighbour.

Interview with Director Tara FitzGerald


Congratulations!

Thank you!

Why did you make your film?

I made this film for a number of reasons, not least of which was the fact that it had two terrific roles for women; that it features only these two characters. I felt it spoke a language that isn't often expressed and it is an exploration of a very specific and fascinating psyche; Shirley Jackson's. Chiara Menage, who adapted Jackson's short story, (entitled Trial By Combat) to create this screenplay, brought her work to my attention initially. I was an immediate disciple! This dark humour, this not-nice-girl wit, this new Gothic language and these complex women, real women... struggling with identity, with possession, with wild imaginings and latent desires. Shadow forms.

 Nothing Important

Nothing Important

Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?

This is not a film that shouts for attention - it is a 'quiet scream'.

My wish for this film is that it quietly unsettles the audience - almost imperceptibly, its fingers should start to curl.

Not a horror per se but hopefully a subtle shock or jolt - enough to challenge your perception and open a conversation about loneliness and alienation, dreams and madness ~ about not having a voice as a woman or how people are just not that simple to describe ~ an accent, a hair colour, a style of dress and we all make such judgments, don't we? What's really going on?

What is underneath? This is a theme that interests me hugely. What is that person hiding? We all try and bury or hide or compartmentalise aspects of ourselves and our lives - the parts we find shameful. I find this fascinating.

The dynamic between an older woman and a younger woman has something intriguingly fairytale-esque built into it.... it has, just by its suggestion, a particular quality of tension that was interesting to play with.

How do personal and universal themes work in your film?

The idea of isolation and being too much in one's head are things I often examine. In my work, I have a need to be hermetic sometimes but I have a family and friends around me, to refer to. One of the things this film looks at is the vulnerability that is created being separated from your tribe - dislocation of both the mental and physical kind.

I'm very moved by the 'Story of the Immigrant' (my mother's family are Irish) and arriving at a completely foreign country, without money or a job, or possibly even the native tongue. Then having to start from absolute scratch and the work that's required to build a life is monumental. So, that's in there.

How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?

The script hardly changed from the first draft. Chiara, in my opinion has an innate understanding of the world of Shirley Jackson. She herself is a hugely imaginative writer... bright as a button and unafraid of the darkness. 

The film itself was fascinating to edit...working with these beautiful compositions (by the visionary, Anna Valdez-Hanks) and with my gifted editor, Matylda Dymek... they both possess, what I would describe as, a European flair... a particular aesthetic that I cherish in them. I was also blessed in having Joby Talbot as my composer - his extraordinary score transformed and elevated the piece. He manages (somehow) to express Emily's internal dialogue or emotional condition whilst keeping her mystery alive. 

 Nothing Important

Nothing Important

What type of feedback have you received so far?

Various responses - all of value. Some people 'get it' - appreciate the slow-burn quality of the work and the stranglehold of this toxic relationship. Others don't.

The one thing I am really beginning to understand is that you can't be aiming for work that satisfies everyone. You have to find your own voice - strive for that - to be clear with what you are trying to achieve, even if you ultimately don't quite manage it.

Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?

It hasn't surprised me on this occasion, no.

It naturally makes you revisit some of the choices you have made and then it is good food to absorb. There are always things one would have done differently - I think that's an inbuilt part of the creative process.

What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?

To open it up for as many people to see it, enjoy it, as possible - we make films to be watched!! Plus, it is a showcase for all of the immensely talented people involved and I am so proud of all of their work... right the way through it.

Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?

All amplification in all areas and on all platforms is welcome! Honestly, in these times there are manifold ways to reach people - a cornucopia - it is a golden age in that regard.

What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?

I would love it if it moved people - if there was a strong identification with the characters and the world they orbit. But move, unsettle, perturb and therefore challenge. I think the performances by the two actors are so nuanced and emotionally complex.

 Nothing Important

Nothing Important

What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?

Dislocation and the connection to mental health.

What behaviours do we boycott as women because they are viewed as unacceptable or unattractive by society at large?

How do we nourish our internal lives.... live out our imaginations in a constructive and truly creative way?

What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?

A feature film called, Amsterdam, with the great writer Lisa Jacobs and the wonderful producer of this film, Georgina French.


Interview: October 2018


We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us?  More info: Carmela


NOTHING IMPORTANT

A modern day psychological horror, Nothing Important is the chilling tale of one woman's efforts to steal her life back from her lonely female neighbour.

Length: 15 minutes

Director: Tara FitzGerald

Producer: Georgina French

Writer: Chiara Menage (adapted from a short story by Shirley Jackson)

About the writer, director and producer:

Chiara has 25 years of experience working in the film industry, initially as a producer and more recently as an editor and screenwriter. Tara’s illustrious career includes leading roles in TV, film and theatre, most recently in BBC’s 'The ABC Murders’ & ‘Origin’. She is working towards her directorial feature debut. Georgina is an award winning producer, with numerous shorts under her belt and is currently developing a slate of features, including ‘Amsterdam’ with Tara attached.

Key cast: Rachael Stirling & Linda Marlowe

Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): Film Festival Directors, Sales Agents, Buyers, Distributors, Journalists.

Social media handles:

Facebook: @frenchfancyproductions

Twitter: @TaraXFitzGerald @GeorginaFrench1

Where was this filmed? Paddington, London

Made in association with: French Fancy Productions Ltd

Where can I watch it next and in the coming month?

High Falls Film Festival – Friday 2nd November at 6pm in ‘Shorts Program 1’, The Little Theatre http://highfallsfilmfestival.com/2018/shorts-programs/short-films-program-1/