Ben Ashton and James Hastings won the grand prize at the 2021 Kino London Short Film Festival with SEND IN THE CLOWNS unlocking the film fund. HIDDEN INSIGHT was produced early 2022 and is fresh off the festival circuit.
WATCH 'HIDDEN INSIGHT' | A SHORT FILM
Here is an excerpt from our interview with KINO:
TELL US ABOUT THE GENESIS OF HIDDEN INSIGHT WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROJECT TO FOCUS ON?
JAMES: As an enthusiast of jazz, it’s always been something I wanted to incorporate into a film, so after much brainstorming we developed the idea of a young musician dealing with mentalhealth issues, a timely subject worthy of exploring, and overcoming it through his passion for jazz. The themes of the film came partly from my own experience, with my creative passion being film often becoming a source of escapism in my own life. Our protagonist must balance his self-conscious, socially-anxious thoughts with his desire to live up to his heroes,the jazz maestros of the past, specifically saxophonist Charlie Parker. This combination led him to comparing his abilities to others and questioning his own self-worth.
WHAT WERE SOME OF THE MAIN OBSTACLES YOU EXPERIENCED WHEN MAKING HIDDEN INSIGHT AND HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
JAMES: When music performances are involved, another layer of difficulty is automatically added. Not only would we need original songs, but we needed actors who could sing and play instruments. Having established Elliot’s influence as Charlie Parker, we delved into his recordings, hearing the quick unpredictable bebop style he is so famous for, and whilst using it as inspiration, chose to slow it down, as if Elliot slowed Parker’s notes down to the speed of his own life. The songs were written by my sister, Sophie, and orchestrated by Archie Combe, with the Sax recordings by musician, Steph Plunkett. We were very lucky to find such talented actors willing to dive into their roles and work extremely hard to pull it off. Max Hoftgartner (Elliot), had just a few weeks to learn the Sax, and Jordan Wallace had only a few hours! Katie Mckenna pulled off her vocals phenomenally and so between them we had an awesome ensemble who I believe nailed it.
BEN: Only one thing I’d like to add is the challenge of creating this film with a small budget and timescale. We only had the theatre space booked for one day and being able to film all the interior shots was always going to be tough.Cast and crew worked tirelessly together to ensure we shot what we needed to shoot and it was a buzzing collaborative experience.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SHORT FILMMAKERS FACE TRYING TO BREAK INTO THE INDUSTRY?
BEN: I think the biggest challenges short filmmakers face is having the resources and time to develop and nurture the craft of filmmaking. You can absolutely create films with no budget and with little time but there comes a point that when you want to step up to the next level, there needs to be sufficient budget and time set aside to enhance the creativity. The short filmmaking industry is huge and needing to stand out and be original is important within that network. However, I strongly believe in creating a film/story you are passionate about and believe in, and to not worry about originality or if it will appeal to others: make the film you want to make and I’m sure others will like it.
JAMES: The road to the industry is a difficult one and it’s a road I’m still on. The journey is a marathon, not a race and for me the best way to be a director is… to keep creating my own work. I’m always thinking about what the best route is? And the answer is there isn’t one single route - All you can do is keep going and keep being creative!
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW CLICK HERE