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Interview – Kate Cheeseman – ‘What Happened To Evie’ – A Short Film


Posted August 20, 2018 by

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Interview – Kate Cheeseman – ‘What Happened To Evie’ – A Short Film

Kate Cheeseman is a multi-award winning director whose latest film What Happened to Evie touches on the important subject of sexual assault. This topical film stars Olivier winner Michael Jibson (Les Miserable, Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Sian Reeves (Mount Pleasant, Emmerdale) and newcomer Bessie Coates.  Having just begun its festival run, the film has already been selected for numerous high profile film festivals and premiered at the prestigious Cannes Short Film Corner.

In this multi-stranded thriller a girl’s splintered memories of a sexual assault are gradually revealed.

Director Kate Cheeseman won a BAFTA, the Prix Danube Jury Prize and several other prizes and nominations for her outstanding work on the popular series Pig Heart Boy. She also won an RTS and a BMA medal for other productions.  Her previous film Love Somehow, a 30-minute film about Dylan Thomas’ wife Caitlin, which won 8 awards including best director, best performance, best music and best screenplay. Kate is also working on an animated opera about The Futurists which is in post-production and her previous short thriller Roadkiller starring Phil Davis, screened at festivals around the world.  Now, this talented director is developing several features and will be directing on the award winning series of Call the Midwife.

This incredible film was written by Carol Younghusband, produced by Georgina French, the music was created by Sarah Warne and the cinematography by Robert Shacklady.

What happened to Evie premiered at Cannes Short Film Corner, winning the Best Short directed by a Woman Award by the Papaya Film Fund and screened at Galway Film Fleadh in July.

Kate Cheeseman - ‘What Happened To Evie'


To begin with, tell us about your latest film; ‘What Happened To Evie’…

‘What Happened To Evie’ is a thriller about a girl piecing together and coming to terms with a sexual attack, as she works out what to do.  It’s told over three time-lines and very much told from her point of view, so that we feel inside her head and feel what she is going through.

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

The screenwriter had a best friend at school who was raped like Evie and who was too frightened to tell anyone. Carol wanted to write a film that would help others in the future deal with similar attacks.  The screenplay had won some awards and the producer and writer were looking for someone to direct the film.  I saw the advert and loved the script, so met with the production team who I also really liked, so agreed to direct the film.  We then worked really hard making the script as good as possible to be able shoot on a really tight schedule.  Then we shot it, just before all the #MeToo movement started.  The film is really relevant to what is happening at the moment, so I hope it will help people in similar situations.

Tell us about the cast, who is starring?

Our main star has just finished drama school and I think will go really far, she’s also just been in Upstart Crow. She came aboard with her real-life mother, Sian Reeves who is also a great actress and was in the original Les Miserables as well as starring in lots of great telly.  Then we have Mike Jibson who recently won the Olivier Award for playing the King in Hamilton Ldn.  Finally, we have four great young guys, James Backway, Makir Ahmed, Josh Lewis and Duramaney Kamarawho are all up and coming actors and have been in shows like War Horse, Idris Elba’s recent film, Yardies. Foyles War and Casualty.

What are your influences as a filmmaker?

There are so many great films that I love from Nick Roeg and David Lynch to Terence Malick, Tarkovsky and luckily more and more women like Philippa Lowthorpe and Lynne Ramsay. For this film I really loved how Denis Villeneuve shot Arrival and shot the film very much from Amy Adams’s point of view.  I wanted to do this for What Happened to Evie so that we felt we were inside Evie’s head rather than voyeuristically watching what happens to her. Also, I wanted to use lots of visual and audio queues to take you between the time-lines, like how when you see something or hear something it triggers a memory. I’m not sure I had any influences for that though I am also sure other director’s have done similar things!

What advice would you give any up and coming filmmakers, trying to crack the industry?

It is so brilliant now, as you can shoot so easily on even your iPhone.  They need to find like-minded filmmakers to work with and just keep writing and making their own films to learn how they work best. Then you have the Internet and loads of festivals to show your work.  That is the only way, that and networking. Plus you should watch and read as much as you can to get advice how other filmmakers work and have got on.

When and where can we expect to see ‘What Happened To Evie’?

We post most festivals where it’s screening on my website WWW.KateCheeseman.comand also we have a “ website where we post all the festivals it is screening at.  It will be screening at Vagabond Festival on July 28thin Milton Keynes next which has an amazing floating cinema.

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

I am directing the finale of Call the Midwife next which is really exciting as it’s a great show with brilliant actors, so that is exciting.  Then I have two features, which I am developing with writers I know. One is with the producer of What Happened to Evie. So hopefully I will be making a feature film soon.


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