Michelle Bailey, winner of the Insight Award, for young filmmakers aged 18-25, is going to Paris for the EICAR summer workshop. She talks to Insight about her winning film Dad (11.26), her experience at the festival and gives advice to up and coming young filmmakers…
Insight: How did you find the Insight Festival weekend? What did you think of the films shown?
Michelle: Baileyface Productions had the best time at Insight, We’ve been to lots of festivals and Insight was one of the most professional, well organised and fun events we had the pleasure to attend. The selection of films were really diverse, interesting and entertaining. It was great to see so many films from across the world all exploring the themes of faith in their individual ways.
Insight: How did you feel when you found out you had won the Insight prize to go to Paris for the EICAR summer workshop?
Michelle: At first it didn’t register with me, I think I was even applauding the winner until I realised that it was me that had won. I’m so grateful and honoured that Insight picked my film as a winner and to go to EICAR in Paris is such a magnicient prize. I’m still waiting for it to sink in.
Insight: What would you say to filmmakers considering entering a film into the 5th Insight Festival?
Michelle: I would say two words: ‘Do it’. I’ve never felt so welcomed or had so much fun at a festival. The workshops are really useful, the panel of judges are amazing and the people who work for the festival are so dedicated and wonderful. Meeting fellow filmmakers from across the world is such a great experience and everyone is so supportive of each other’s work. Oh, and they have cake too!
Insight: Insight is a festival for films of faith, your winning film Dad isn’t about religious faith, but encapsulates themes of faith in different ways, how would you say faith fits into the film?
Michelle: It’s true that Dad is not exactly about religion; it is however set at Sunday Mass at a Catholic church, and shows the protagonist committed to his religion as it offers him a safe haven and guidance. This is in juxtaposition with his lack of commitment and guidance towards his daughter.
Catholic religion has strong themes of parenthood that I felt were important to express. What the Bible’s story – and my own – explore is the faith in the parent.
Children have no choice to love and to look at their parents for guidance in this intimidating world. When there is a lack of that, what becomes of the child… but also the parent? To be a parent is the greatest responsibility anyone could ever take on and it is the most difficult and selfless job, which many jump into without regarding the consequences.
When I wrote Dad I was heavily influenced by Coventry poet Phillip Larkin’s ‘This Be the Verse’, which suggests that how not to fail as a parent is to not become one. A very pessimistic approach, but it also suggests that we are all connected as human beings through our flaws and mistakes. That parents may be Gods to their children, but its only when their children become parents themselves do they realise that their parents are just humans after all.
Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.
Insight: You wrote, produced and directed Dad, and all as a first time filmmaker! How did you find this process? Was it a daunting task?
Michelle: I would be lying if I said no, it was at times incredible daunting. But to be honest the actual filmmaking process of Dad wasn’t the hard part. The hardest part is sitting in a room full of people watching your film.
Insight: Do you intend to continue making films in the future?
Michelle: I do, I’ve wanted to be a film director since I was 10 years old, so I’m glad I’m not letting go of my childhood dream. I’m currently writing a script for my next short, which I’m going to shoot in August. It’s going to be a fictional piece this time, but I think it’s important as a filmmaker to take from your own experiences. I would love to make another film that would fit into the criteria of the Insight Film Festival, as I would love to come back.
Insight: This year at Insight, we had our first Education Day for local schools. What would you say to any aspiring young filmmakers?
Michelle: Watch a lot of films. Learn the rules so you can break them. Get as much on set experience as you can and do it as soon as you can. But it’s not all about the practical experience; read and write about film, too. Most importantly, meet like-minded filmmakers. I’m very lucky to have met and work with so many talented Coventry Film makers. They inspire, support and critique me, and I’m very thankful for it. Last thing I will also say is: Don’t give up the dream!
Insight’s guest interview policy
The Insight Film Festival publishes interviews on our blog from guests of interest on an ad hoc basis. The Festival is delighted to publish a range of interview pieces on the themes of film and faith, and other subjects, but the personal views expressed in such articles do not reflect the views and opinions of the Insight Film Festival itself, which is an organisation that comprises individuals of many different faiths and none, all of whom have their own personal views and opinions on films, faith and other subjects.