F.A. You shot ‘Kyle’ in one day with a £250-budget. Do you usually work that fast with a small-budget on your films?
A.H. As this was a university project, we are almost trained into working efficiently and as effectively as possible. The one-day shoot was a personal challenge for myself to see if I could cope under pressure as well as successfully direct actors. I usually give myself two days, so it was a lot to handle, but I had a fantastic crew and two very skilled actors that were up for the challenge as well as I was. It was fun!
F.A. The girl in your movie is first annoyed by Kyle, but then a quite touching relationship begins between them. How did you work with your two actors to create this interaction?
A.H. I tried to cast as early as possible so that I could develop the characters with my actors and also create an authentic bond between them as real people. I think allowing your actors to be comfortable and used to each other will guarantee a much better performance, and this technique certainly paid off. I am quite inspired by the directing techniques of Shane Meadows and his insistence in being as free as possible with a script, and I basically used this as a way of telling my actors that as long as they followed the story they could pretty much improvise as much as they wanted. A lot of the things you see are their own touch to the film and it is much more natural and believable.
F.A. We very much enjoyed the cinematography in the film. Where did you shoot it?
A.H. This was actually shot in my hometown, Telford, Shropshire UK. The movie location is where I used to hang around with friends when I was younger, so I knew the area pretty well and it had a sentimental value that I hope was projected in the film. Although I'm a fan of grittiness, this was actually a picturesque location to film, and I wanted it like this so I could project a sense of freedom and escapism for my two characters to develop their relationship and give it that 'Aww' factor.
F.A. You said yourself that your films are considered ‘BritGrit’. Which movies influenced your style? Do you want to explore another genre?
A.H. Like I said, I am a very big fan of Shane Meadows and his exploration of character development, often themed around a social struggle. Artists that also spring to mind would be Ken Loach, Lynn Ramsey and Andrea Arnold. I have always been taught to shoot what I know, and this style, I feel, comes very naturally to me.
F.A. How did you benefit from having your short on Film Annex so far? Do you have any advice for other filmmakers about promoting their movies online?
A.H. Film Annex has to be one of the broadest ways, if not the broadest, of getting your film out there. The amount of people I see signing up every day is unbelievable and it is even more overwhelming when I think that these people could potentially be watching my film! It is also a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people, share thoughts and opinions and possibly some contacts for future work, and that is what this industry is all about!
F.A. Any new projects in the horizon? Where do you see your career in the next few years?
A.H. I try to keep an ideas' book, updating it as much as possible with thoughts and feelings. A lot of it will result to nothing, but there will be that one moment where you will think, "Wow that will make such a good film!" I have a couple of ideas floating around, but nothing solid as of yet, but I'm not in any rush to develop these, I'd rather let it come naturally. In terms of career, I like to keep it very open minded. So who knows!!?