Following the screening of her film at the CINECITY film festival being held here in Brighton, I spoke to filmmaker Lauren Jupp about the project, her time living and studying in Brighton, how she felt the screening went, and what’s next for her and the collective she’s working with.
‘CHALK’ is a coming of age story about a young woman figuring out what she stands for. Set in a local snooker club, the entire film had to be shot at night so as not to disrupt business hours. This made the logistics of the shoot a bit of a challenge, with a cast and crew of around 25 having to assemble at a quarter to midnight and work through the night up until 7am.
Lauren talked to me about the motivations behind making the film, which was lauded at the festival by those lucky enough to catch the screening:
“I made the film as my final project at Sussex University. It was the first time I’d ever written a script or directed anything so it wasn’t just the first film I’d worked on, it was the first everything! Although the film was a student project we really tried not to let this put parameters on how we approached it, we tried to think of it as our entry into the work world, not as an assignment for our degrees. The film was entirely crowd funded through the platform Kickstarter which was a good lesson in making things happen.”
Lauren had lots of positive things to say about her time living and studying in Brighton, and explained how the creative culture in the city was key in providing a constant source of inspiration and in maintaining a sense of momentum.
“It was easy to find inspiration and have a creative culture where those around you are always working on projects. Other peoples confidence to start something and just get out there and make things helped give me the feeling that I could too. Seeing those around me doing creative things encouraged me to be more active myself.”
As a graduate of the University of Sussex who has now moved to London to build a career in TV, Lauren is well placed to reflect on her time here with critical distance. One of her favourite things about the University was the emphasis on independent thought and creative self-exploration, not to say that the staff and student community weren’t supportive, but that there was a concerted effort to refrain from ‘spoon-feeding’.
“They never give A + B = C, instead you get given B and have to figure out for yourself what A and C are. This makes you much more resilient as a person because you have to learn to be independent and work hard to find answers and form opinions for yourself.”
Lauren had some words of encouragement for any young budding film-makers and those wanting to get into media industries. She told me how she stumbled into studying media after finishing her A Levels.
“Towards the end of school I started to really enjoy learning, I must have taken it for granted before. I started to become more active and engaged, when school finished I didn’t feel like I was done with education so decided to apply for uni. I didn’t get in to any the first time I applied as I missed all of my AS exams, but I re-applied the year after and got in to Sussex. Like most people I found it really hard deciding what to study, so when career advisors asked me what I liked to do in my spare time and I said watching TV and films, I took it pretty literally that this was what I should do for a living. I picked Media Practice specifically because I thought I would enjoy it, I wanted something with a mix of practical and academic because a subject which was solely essay based would have been to difficult to keep my focus.”
“It was really good and interesting to see the other films in our category and I think inspired all of us for future projects. I also attended the opening party which was really great to meet the festival organisers and some of the other filmmakers. I have got new projects in the pipeline. I’m part of a moving image collective which is committed to creating opportunities for female filmmakers and diverse voices. We have a number of short film/video projects which we are working on that will be released at the start of the new year along with our website.”