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Interview – Florence Winter Hill – ‘Elle’ – A Short Film

 

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Posted June 9, 2018 by

 
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Interview – Florence Winter Hill

19-year-old Florence Winter Hill’s Elle to screen at Cannes Shorts Corner and tackles the lack of funding for the arts in British schools

Elle tackles the subject of the arts disappearing from the education system and at only 19, the director’s filmography is very impressive.

Director Florence Winter Hill may only be 19, but she is already making waves in the film world. This must see film was created by a young crew and shares a world where arts subjects are being neglected in the education system. Elle stars Isabelle Allen (Les Miserables) and Byrony Afferson (House of Anubis).

Florence Winter-Hill is a British Award-Winning Director who at the tender age of 16, was selected by the National Film & Television School and BFI as one of ‘the most talented filmmakers in the country’. Her debut film Afterlife won multiple awards and screened at BAFTA-qualifying film festivals including ASFF. Her second film My Beloved Monster was praised by Tom Hooper (The Danish Girl) and Rian Johnson (Star Wars VIII, The Last Jedi), and at only 18 she worked on Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi as a VFX Production Assistant, Jungle Book and The Nutcracker at Oscar-winning Double Negative. Winter-Hill created Elle to challenge societies views on young children with big creative dreams and a make a film with a young fearless female protagonist.

Trailer:

Interview:

To being with, tell us about your film ‘Elle’, what is it about?

ELLE, starring Les Miserables’ ISABELLE ALLEN, is a 15 minute inspirational drama following a young girl who struggles to pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer in a world where creativity is being forgotten. While creative subjects are being neglected in the education system, and Elle’s only opportunity to dance is being taken away from her with the shutting down of her local theatre – Elle’s promising future is put in jeopardy.

Where did the idea come from? How did you get involved?

I started writing Elle when I was completing my A-levels, almost 2 years ago now. I had always been frustrated through my experience in education with the lack of appreciation and encouragement to do arts subjects. They are stigmatised and discouraged throughout the education system, and are being gradually completely cut from curriculums. From my experience, I felt that because of this – children are naturally forgetting what they love.

Most schools now have a system where the subjects are categorised into columns, and you can only choose one subject from each column. Which ultimately means a lot of children have to choose subjects they’re not very interested in, and are restricted in their later choices for A-level. Even Isabelle, our lead actress who played Young Cossette in Tom Hoopers Oscar-nominated film Les Miserables, wasn’t able to choose dance as well as drama at her school. She told me this in her audition and how upset she was about it, and I knew this was something she cared about sharing too.

I wanted to tell a story of what it’s like to go through this. It’s something us young people trying to make our way in the creative industry all have in common – the entire crew on Elle was made up of people between 17-25 who all felt they had been through this and believed in telling the story. Both me and my producers (James Lane and Ed McGovern) at Indigo Productions are keen most of all in collaborative work between young people – its a tough industry but we are trying to help each other on the way up!

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

I love films that break boundaries, not only on an executional level but most importantly in the form of storytelling. I was very inspired by Hayao Miyazakis filmmaking growing up, and I think that influences my filmmaking now. I feel like my film taste is changing all the time as I learn more about film and watch a larger variety, but I love Jean Luc Godard’s work, Francois Truffaut’s ‘The 400 Blows’ had a huge effect on me, Paul Thomas Anderson, Michel Gondry’s ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’, Akira Kurosowa’s ‘Dreams’, most recently Greta Gerwig’s ‘Lady Bird’ – I could go on! I love films that express the lightness in life along with it’s complications.

What advice would you give any up-and-coming professionals trying to crack the industry?

Make, make, make! Trust your gut. Keep going.

When & where can we expect to see ‘Elle’?

It’ll be at the Leeds INDI’s Film Festival this July.

What is the next step for you, do you have any other films or projects in production?

I’m currently in post-production for a short comedy, writing a new short, and my first commercial is going live in a few weeks!

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Interviewed By:

Adam Snowden
@FilmDebate
Company Founder & Managing Director

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