Meet the Team Behind Some Girls
Interviews by Jaclyn Bethany
Cait Lyn Adamson
Director, Some Girls
Jaclyn Bethany: Hi, Cait Lyn! Where did you grow up, and where are you currently based?
Cait Lyn Adamson: I mainly grew up in Australia. I made the move to London to complete my MA, and I'm currently in the process of basing myself there.
JB: When did you know you wanted to work in film?
CLA: I'd always been very interested and passionate about film. It wasn’t until really taking the plunge to apply for the course at The London Film School that my intention to work and create in the industry really spiked. Before coming to the school, I didn't necessarily have a background or any practical knowledge of filmmaking—I was just passionate about stories, and the creation of narratives in the cinematic medium was something deeply compelling and intriguing to me.
JB: How did you get the idea for Some Girls?
CLA: The idea for Some Girls was partially based on my own experiences—not so much that everything that happens in the film happened to me, but it’s this exploration of a shared feeling: how could I create a story that mirrored my experience of a feeling? I’d wanted to write and direct a short that depicted the isolation, confusion, and the harrowing decisions we make as LGBT youth sometimes, just because we feel alone and are in environments where our freedom is inexpressible. In a way the idea was always with me, always wanting to be written and explored, as a kind of catharsis as well, but it took many, many drafts to get to the version of the script that we ended up shooting.
JB: How long was your process, from writing to pre-production to production?
CLA: I was working on a lot of other sets at the time of writing the script. In fact, I wasn't actually sure if we’d be able to make the film, as I was scrambling around trying to find a producer. But after a team came together and we gave ourselves a deadline, everything happened relatively quickly. The writing process took about four months. We jumped into pre-production for about one and a half/two months: intensive casting, location scouting, script breakdowns. Everything happened incredibly fast. The shoot itself was a week long. Post-production is taking a bit longer; we were raising money via Indiegogo for post-production funds, I was on a few other shoots, but we're very close to the completion and final version of the film, so everyone is very excited.
JB: Tell me a little bit about the story and the inspiration behind it.
CLA: The story is about a teenage girl, Mina. It’s a coming-of-age film. It’s about her beginning to understand her sexuality and desires for another girl, and the events that take place when she pursues this amongst the sexual pressures of being a female. Ultimately, it’s a fever dream of her experiences with this other girl: the confusions, isolation, secrecy, mixed signals, and loneliness that come with her either accepting or denying her desires. I drew a great deal of inspiration from filmmakers like Xavier Dolan, Andrea Arnold, and Derek Cianfrance. There’s an intimacy in Arnold and Cianfrance films that's beautifully accomplished. This is why we made the big decision to be predominantly handheld and close to our characters, living and breathing with their experiences. There’s a hyper-stylistic and visually dynamic element to Dolan’s film that I greatly admire in his storytelling.
JB: How did you go about the casting process?
CLA: The casting process was very long; it lasted about two weeks to find our three main girls. The most difficult and demanding role was Mina. I was searching for an actress that could be incredibly vulnerable, strong, and carry the performance. I was much more interested in how the individual related to the material and experience of the character; I really wanted something to deeply resonate. We were auditioning actresses who were only a few years older than the characters on the page, so experiences of high school and being a teenager coming to terms with themselves was still something incredibly close to their personal experiences. Often, instead of just diving into script readings, I would talk and discuss a lot more in the audition process generally about experiences of their youth, about what they saw in the character, about how they could connect to her individual experiences, especially because of the LGBT element. Surprisingly and excitedly, I ended up casting a girl who never had any acting experience, but who very intelligently and emotionally understood the character and her hardships, which was an amazing experience to have. I found there was such a benefit to this; there was a rawness and ease, there were difficulties, and in a way we both learned together how to help each other get what we needed. But I think it shows in the performance—she really was amazing.
JB: Do you feel excited to work in the film industry in 2017? Do you ever experience challenges in your line of work on the basis of gender?
CLA: Of course there are challenges. I think there are always going to be challenges when you're a female in a male-dominated industry. But it's not something I'm disheartened by—it’s something I cherish and value in terms of the challenge and how it will shape and encourage me to continue breaking down those barriers. I'm excited about being a female filmmaker and about what 2018 has to offer. I’m excited about continuing to write stories and work with people and other women whom I admire and who inspire me, and to make films that have female-driven narratives. There are always going to be obstacles and hardships, but I’m also encouraged because I’m surrounded by so many other talented and exceptional female filmmakers who support each other and their stories.
JB: What’s next for you?
CLA: I’ll be spending the next few weeks editing and finalizing our film. Then it will be starting the festival circuit, which is a very exciting time! I'm working on developing a few smaller projects, more documentary style, that I’m hoping can be samples for a larger project and a portfolio of interviews with a spectrum of themes and topics. I’m also very excited to get back to writing and developing another short film for next year. ★
Producer, Some Girls
Jaclyn Bethany: Hi, Laura! What attracted you to come onboard and produce this project?
Laura Seward: The director was the reason, actually! I think Cait Lyn is a great talent, and we worked together on a shoot in Finland in different roles, so when I heard she was struggling to find a producer for her grad film, I just offered to help. After I read the script, I was incredibly happy I offered.
JB: Why do you think more stories like this one need to be told?
LS: Literally every girl or LGBT member who was cast or crew identified with this story and spoke about how much it resonated with each of them. It’s a story and an event that needs to be spoken about more and shared more.
JB: What are your plans for the film moving forward?
LS: We plan on sending it off to festivals after some tweaks in post-production and then seeing how it’s received!
Chloé Deleplace, Cinematographer, Some Girls
Jaclyn Bethany: Hi, Chloé! Where are you originally from, and where are you currently based?
Chloé Deleplace: I'm French-American and currently based in London.
JB: When did you know you wanted to work in film?
CD: Film was always one of my interests, but I never considered a career in film until my last year in university. Bad experiences force you to reconsider what makes you truly happy, and I knew that filmmaking was the path I had to follow.
JB: Why did you decide to pursue the course at The London Film School? What was your greatest takeaway?
CD: I had no knowledge whatsoever about filmmaking and wanted to learn about every department before moving into my field. LFS was the only school that provided a broader film education, in addition to working with a majority of international students. The most important thing I learned there was the equal importance of each and every crew member.
JB: How did you craft the visual look of your film, Some Girls?
CD: Cait Lyn is a visual person. She is very instinctive when it comes to what she wants to show onscreen. We watched a considerable amount of Xavier Dolan, Derek Cianfrance, and Céline Sciamma’s films, some of which are the main visual influences for the film. From there, we worked on a set of rules to tell the story. The specific use of color and handheld were the crucial ones. We felt that the use of Kinoptik lenses were appropriate to tell Mina's story. At the end of the day, all that truly matters is Mina and her story, and I hope that this is what the audience sees. My work should not be a distraction to the story—it should only help to tell it.
JB: What originally attracted you to the project?
CD: Its universality. I think everyone, in some way, can relate to either Mina or Lana’s story. On top of that, I have a lot of esteem for Cait Lyn’s work. She has a unique way of telling stories, which I find bold and honest.
JB: In what ways do you feel excited as a filmmaker? Do you ever face challenges on the basis of gender?
CD: There is still a long time until 2018. I have learned to tackle one day at a time, and each day is exciting. There is always something to take away from any day and [the opportunity to] grow from it. I do not feel challenged as a female filmmaker. I have asked myself that question many times, and I am aware of the disparities in the industry. But from my experience (camera and lighting departments), gender does not matter—talent does. If you have what it takes to do the job, you're on board. I did experience sexism, on a set in Kazakhstan, but I can tell you that with a bit of conversation, hard work, and mutual respect, behaviors changed and friendships grew.
JB: What’s next for you?
CD: I am currently in discussion for a potential project, but for now, Cait Lyn and I are preparing a documentary for the end of this year. ★