Birds Eye View is releasing its first feature film into UK cinemas. The Incident is the feature-length debut of British director Jane Linfoot. Birds Eye View will be partnering with Verve Pictures for the release, which stars Ruta Gedmintas, Tom Hughes and newcomer Tasha Connor. It tells the story of a successful young couple who see their comfortable lives disrupted and their relationship unravel when they each make a decision to ignore the plight of a troubled teenage girl. Read on for an interview with filmmaker Jane Linfoot…
Why do you think you are a filmmaker?
It’s an art form that feeds my passions, plays to my instinctive strengths and accommodates my weaknesses. I’m no painter, poet, musician or philosopher but when making my films I feel like I’m being given an insight into all of these disciplines, which is a privilege, having not grasped one of them!
Why did you make The Incident as your feature debut over other ideas?
The Incident is original material: a personal story, told visually, that felt very timely, haunting, and emotive. I knew it would allow me to explore further the observational style of filmmaking that I’d developed in my short films, and I was confident I could imbue the film with a very distinctive atmosphere. For all of these reasons I persevered with this idea, and when challenged had the strength of conviction to say that this was going to be the story I would make into my debut feature.
Tell us about where you come from and how it filters into your work?
I’m from North Yorkshire. We moved out to the countryside when I was six years old. It was a defining moment for me. Being in an isolated rural environment fuelled my imagination, and provided me with the space to explore my interior world. The distinctive light of the changing seasons, nature’s uniformity, subtle shifts of colour all influences my work; and I always find space for my characters to explore their interior worlds.
Tell us about the latest film / exhibition / book / public figure / article to have inspired you?
Women Artists and the Surrealist Movement by Whitney Chadwick [originally published by Thames & Hudson in 1985]. I’ve long been fascinated by women artists connected to the surrealist movement so this was a great find from Oxfam Books last week. It’s a feminist analysis of the revolutionary women artists who exhibited with the surrealists throughout the ’30s and ’40s.
Chadwick describes these innovators as, “…an embodiment of their age and a herald of the future as they explored more fully than any group of women before them the interior sources of woman’s creative imagination”.
What frustrates you about what you do?
It’s a constant battle trying to manage the uncertainties that surround the process of filmmaking; I get very frustrated when I let those uncertainties impinge on the creative process.
How do you overcome this?
I take my dog out for a long walk to get a grip. My dog is very well walked!
What advice can you offer up to anyone who wants to make filmmaking his or her career?
Don’t be in a rush; it takes time to hone your filmmaking skills. How your work will be received is out of your control, but how hard you push yourself, and how much care and attention you put into every element of your work is down to you.
Do you believe in the ‘female gaze’ and what does that mean to you?
Yes, I believe in the ‘female gaze’. For me, put simply, it’s work made from a female perspective, work that has long been relegated by a male-dominated film industry: because of this we must continue to seek out films made by and about women, and share them with our mothers, sisters and girlfriends. If we don’t support these female-led films our protest to get more of them made becomes futile!