Eva Riley is a Scottish director and screenwriter based in London. She graduated from the National Film and Television School in 2015, where her graduation film, Patriot, premiered in the short film competition at Cannes. In 2016, she was commissioned to write and direct Diagnosis by BBC Films and was named a Screen International “Star of Tomorrow.” Her short films have screened at festivals including BFI London Film Festival, Edinburgh, Telluride and the BAFTA New Talent Awards. She is represented by Ian Benson and Hannah Boulton at The Agency.
On shooting her film, Patriot:
We shot primarily in the North of Kent, in a beautiful rural town called Cliffe, which we had spent a long time scouting in advance. We were so happy when we found it as it offered so many dream elements for us: the endless fields, the farm with static caravans on it, the striking landscape. We were really lucky to find it.
Because we were working with child actors in almost entirely exterior locations we had a lot of restrictions due to child working hours…. But as we were aware of these restrictions way in advance, we had shaped a way of shooting around them. What I didn’t prepare for was a massive storm that flooded one of our key locations in the middle of the shoot! But thankfully, we managed to get it back to normal in time to continue. I was really fortunate to work with passionate and motivated heads of department that I got on really well with. We had a good team spirit, which got us through the wobbly bits.
On the filmmakers who inspire her:
Two inspirations from further back are Chantal Ackerman and Agnès Varda, who made incredibly unique films that really stuck with me when I first started learning about older films. In the past 10 years or so, I’ve been a huge fan of Andrea Arnold, Joanna Hogg, and Lynne Ramsay. Most recently I’ve loved films by Houda Benyamina, Athina Rachel Tsangari and Małgorzata Szumowska.
On what’s ahead for her in 2017:
I’ve just finished up a new short film called Diagnosis with BBC Films about a young woman who works as a medical role play actor, and I’m currently writing and developing two feature projects—one with iFeatures called Perfect Ten and the other with The Bureau called The Circle. ★