The finalist's weekend wasn't just important for this year’s candidates. It was also a big moment for last year’s winner, Harry Lighton. He saw his film, Leash, screened at Pinewood Studios.
Enter the Pitch (ETP):How was it seeing your film up on the big screen?
Harry Lighton (HL):It was amazing, because when you’re making a film you get so anaesthetised to the emotional content of it. Then suddenly when you’re back in an audience it really feels like you’re watching the whole thing again for the first time.
ETP:What would you say was your most valuable experience in the year of making your film?
HL:Having a text that you were interpreting. My biggest learning curve was how to get across your own intent as a filmmaker, while sticking within the broader confines of a text that isn’t your own.
ETP:Would you say that the film changed a lot in the process of making it?
HL:Yes, hugely. When I did my two-minute pitch it was a docu-drama about racism and then when I went to the Residential Weekend, I pitched about four different film ideas in two hours. By the time I got to Pinewood I had refined my idea to a supernatural take on a biblical passage and xenophobia post-Brexit. But then, after winning, there are at least seven different iterations of the script so it’s hugely different.
ETP:Do you think that development of the original idea is valuable?
HL:I think so. Not having a fixed kind of viewpoint actually suited my kind of filmmaking style and so it was immensely helpful marrying that to being adaptable to location and budget.
ETP:How did you find working with your budget?
HL:£30,000 seems like the kind of blue whale of the money world in a short film, but actually it’s not. So it opened my eyes to the fact that, when you try to do things professionally and you’re trying to pay everyone, money goes very quickly and also that, you still will always have to be creative in the way you want to achieve things. Irrespective of budget, you’re still going to have to try and solve problems.
ETP:Finally, what advice would you give to someone entering the competition?
HL:The major thing which I think stops most people from making films is self-doubt. You don’t have an innate skill to be a filmmaker, you just do it and you get better at doing it. So, if you think you’re not a filmmaker but you have an idea, then just go out and do it.
To find out more visit: harrylighton.com.