With the deadline for Jameson First Shot just around the corner, London Short Film Festival’s Philip Illson chatted to last year’s UK Jameson First Shot winner Kat Wood about her experience making a short film with Maggie Gyllenhaal, and just how much Jameson First Shot has helped her career.
Was your Jameson First Shot proposal something that you already had, or did you write it with Maggie Gyllenhaal in mind? I wrote the short script for HOME specifically for the competition, and absolutely wrote it with Maggie mind. I wanted to write a character that I felt was fresh and unique, that would appeal to her as a character she might want to play.
Did you think you were in with a chance, or did your selection come as a shock? I’d been shortlisted the year before (Adrien Brody) and didn’t win, so when I got shortlisted again I didn’t get my hopes up with the expectation of winning. Being shortlisted down to 20 from 3000 entries is pretty special in itself! However I did make a lot more effort with the one page film you’re required to direct and send back when you get shortlisted - so that if this time I didn’t win, at least I’d have a piece I’d directed that I was proud of that I could show people.
Can you talk about the experience of going to L.A. and how you prepared for the shoot? I found out I’d won, flew to LA three days later and shot the film less than two weeks after finding out that I’d won. However I’m the kind of person who prepares a lot in advance, so I’d already been able to pull together briefs for my HoDs from my treatment for HOME and was able to hit the ground relatively fast running. I was most concerned with being able to communicate effectively with Maggie and Glenn so put a lot of effort in to working everything out with cinematographer Tarin Anderson ahead of the shoot so that when it came to filming I could spend most of my time with the actors focussing on performance.
What has been the benefits of doing Jameson First Shot over the last year? Off the back of the success of HOME I have two feature film projects set up with producers, both of which I’ve written. One is a North East project, a sci-fi for my home region which has development funding from Creative England, and the other will be produced by Cassandra Sigsgaard (NINA FOREVER, INDIA IN A DAY). Also winning JFS has helped increase my visibility in the industry - several times now I’ve met someone new who already knows who I am and has lovely things to say about my film!
Check out HOME, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and directed by Kat Wood, below, and remember to apply to Jameson First Shot before June 1st to be in with a chance to make your first short film starring the one and only Dominic West!
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