I’ve always been obsessed with dance. Not just beautiful girls onstage with tulle and pointe shoes, but the hard work and determination of men and women who torture their bodies to achieve a few moments of beauty onstage. What would it be like, to be constantly compared to others? Do you crumble under the pressure, or do you find a way to live with the competition?
That’s what I wanted to find out with my latest short film, Turning Pointe. It follows Alicia, a ballet student in her final year of school, as she prepares for the most important audition of her life. Alicia is a dedicated dancer, but she’s spent her whole school career as second best to star pupil Sophie, and now she’s determined to take centre stage in her academy’s production of Giselle.
This film is about Alicia’s relationships with the other girls in her class, specifically her rival Sophie. For this film, I felt it was important that we make Sophie a likeable, bubbly personality, because that makes Alicia’s situation all the more difficult. They’re competing for one role, and for Alicia to succeed, Sophie has to fail. It’s a cutthroat world, and this film explores what Alicia may have to sacrifice to achieve her ambitions.
Women are still woefully underrepresented in the British film industry: less than 30% of producers and less than 20% of writers are female. That’s why Floor (my co-producer) and I made a decision to work with the most creative and hard-working people we could find, regardless of gender or race.
I’m still new to the film industry – I only graduated from university a year ago. When you’re on the bottom rungs of the ladder, it’s almost impossible to attract funding from professional sources, which is why we turned to Indiegogo to raise the money we need for production.
We need more films about teenage girls whose aspirations don’t revolve entirely around getting a boyfriend. I love a good swoon worthy romance as much as the next person, but I just don’t feel like they have anything to do with my life. In my experience, boys drift in and out of your life, but it’s your female friends (and sometimes enemies) who weather the highs and lows alongside you.
It was the lasting and sometimes fraught relationships with my female friends which inspired Turning Pointe. I wanted to celebrate ambitious young women who have drive and determination, even if they don’t always get what they want. I wanted friendships which are complicated by the jealousies and insecurities which we all feel (whether we admit it or not). Most of all, I wanted to celebrate the amazing feeling of finding the people who will make sacrifices for you and encourage you to be the best version of yourself.
Crowdfunding campaign for Turning Pointe: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/turning-pointe-short-film
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