Meet filmmakers Sian & Kikki

Happy Feminist Wednesday! This week we chatted with filmmakers Sian & Kikki about believing in the power of women, deconstructing gender roles, and their new film Masks .   

Introduce yourself to our Betty's, tell us who you are and what you do?

Sian: I’m Sian, writer and director of feature film ‘Masks’, which has just launched its crowd-funding page. ‘Masks’ is about the residents of a shared building in London, who each find their façades cracking in a series of intimate, interlinking encounters. We all hide so much in private spaces, and ‘Masks’ enters the secret space where people reveal who they really are.

Kikki: My name is Kikki Strupat and I am currently producing the feature film 'Masks'. I believe in the power of stories such as 'Masks’, narratives of human struggles and relationships, ‘a slice of life’ that everyone can identify with. During my studies I developed a strong passion for producing and have stuck with it ever since. I founded the production company After Everything Entertainment with my partner, Shaun Rhodes. My passion for film is endless. The latest short film that I produced, called ‘Stationary’, is currently making its debut festival run, and it is in the Official Selection of the London Independent Film Festival 2018.

Tell us how you got into filmmaking?

Sian: When I was seventeen a friend of mine had a camera and asked me to help her make a short film. I had so much fun that I decided to pursue the craft. I’ve spent the ten years since then writing, directing shorts and preparing to make a feature.

Kikki: From an early age I started analysing films with my mum, which developed into a strong passion for film. I subsequently decided to study the magic of filmmaking professionally, and moved from Germany to London. Before I went on to study film, I started out as a runner. I knew that the most important factor for success (as in almost any industry) is to make connections and to build a strong network, so I always tried to gain as much knowledge about producing and filmmaking as possible through professional experience. My motto is 'learn by doing'.  

Tell us how feminism influences your work?

Sian: ‘Masks’ and all of my work is very character-orientated. The often one-dimensional portrayal of women on screen is both boring from a dramatic perspective and damaging in terms of the influence it has on people’s lives and attitudes. I find this motivates me to push female characters far beyond the very limited range they are often given.

When I first started filmmaking, I became aware that I was writing and making films more about female characters than a lot of my peers. Maybe as a woman I felt more compelled to tell the stories which are often neglected, especially because I know them well, as I think many women do.

Kikki: I believe in the power of women. I think they can do anything they want. Since my childhood, I’ve been very influenced by Pippi Longstocking. Although this sounds very silly, you wouldn’t believe how much she has shaped my character and my perception of women. For me, Pippi personifies not only physical strength, but also mental strength, which is the greatest power of women.

I grew up surrounded by very independent, strong women, who are still my role models. These people have influenced the picture I have of women: we can do anything! Everyday, my upbringing impacts my work in film: it is important to me to bring more women of all ethnicities and backgrounds onto the screen. Let them be the heroes and antiheroes of the films of tomorrow.  

What do you do to avoid feminist burnout? What's your favorite self care practice?

Sian: I think the best thing is to talk to someone like-minded. Just having a dialogue with someone on the same page can be really helpful.

Kikki: I think it is highly important for women to take care of themselves and to know how to protect their mental state of mind. My favourite self-care practice is to just take time for myself. That means sometimes just meeting my friends, or being by myself and doing what I love most: watching films.  

Do you have any advice for anyone starting out in your field?

Sian: Work really hard, but also be patient. Allow yourself the time you need to cultivate your skills and develop.

Kikki: There are so many things I still have to learn myself, which is good because I think that learning and growing should never stop - what would life be if you knew everything? For anyone just starting out in my field, I have a couple of pieces of advice.

Be prepared for relentless hard work and be ready to tackle problems during every project you get, and show as much initiative and motivation as possible. That’s how you make a lasting impression, and how you develop a network. Develop your own projects and make as many films as you can, because each one of them is an experience in itself.

 

How can we support you?

At the moment we are raising funds for our feature film 'Masks' with our crowd-funding campaign. To learn more about this exceptional story and to support this project, please follow the link. We are so incredibly grateful for any support we receive through posting on social media or donating to our project (every little helps!). Thank you so much in advance:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/masks-feature-film-supported-by-charities-lgbt-drama#/

Other ways to contact us:

We also have a website which is constantly updated: http://www.masksthefilm.co.uk

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