Clink is more than just a place to sleep. In each of our buildings we set out to develop buildings that are living, breathing spaces that vibrate with creative activity and human interaction! There’s some unique spaces in our hostels. Our ‘Creative Hub’ programme encourages up and coming artists (or anyone with a great idea!) to come along and use those spaces to create something amazing or share their talents with our guests.
Andre, Fyffe is a young actor and producer who approached us about using one of the original courtrooms in Clink78 to film a scene in a new short film called ‘Free Santa.’
We caught up with Andre so he could tell us a bit more about the project and the grassroots film industry.
How did the idea for ‘Free Santa’ come about?
I was drinking coffee with my friend Justin about a month ago. We were just discussing industry stuff. And I said: “man we should do a Christmas story and do it for this year.” And from one idea came another and before I knew it I was typing the whole story on my phone. I send what I wrote on my phone to a script writer I worked with before.
This Christmas already? That is quick!
I love to get things done. Stay busy. Not just talk about it for years. That is not me. It might not be perfect, but it gets done. And then you learn from it. Back in college when I was 18 I made a film in 7 days. I see the mistakes now, but at least it’s out there. During the holidays the film industry goes quiet, so why not be there and be loud instead? That is my attitude.
Can you tell us a bit more about the story line. Why was Saint Nicolas judged by the community?
The film is a dark fantasy thriller about a character called Saint Nicholas. It’s with good intentions that Saint Nicholas is leaving presents – but he’s also breaking into people’s homes – and that makes the adults of the local area very concerned. ‘Santa’ is then put on trial against his local community. It puts an interesting twist on the classic Christmas story of old Saint Nick!
What is your role in this project and who else is involved?
I am acting one of the main roles, but I’m also producing. Getting involved in the production side of things has helped me to become a better actor as you understand how all the different elements come together to get to the finished product. Acting will always be my first passion though. I love both film and theatre. I feel both happy and powerful when I act. I love to see it when projects I’m involved with have a positive effect on people.
Our scriptwriter is Dscript. His recent screenplay ‘Hidden Destiny’ came in the top five at the Hollywood Wind International Film Festival. He’s also written and screened numerous projects under his own company Underground Productions.
Directing is Alex Igbanoi, who’s also my acting coach. The idea of doing a really quick, short term project appearled to him. He didn’t quite believe that I’d push to get it done before Christmas, but I’m hoping to prove him wrong!
What type of director is Alex?
When he doesn’t speak he is happy, and you can feel secure that things are going well. What he speaks his is less happy! We have a lot of respect for each other and when I’m acting I really trust him and trust his point of view. He’s honest but constructive with any critique he gives which I like. If I do a bad take he says something like ‘Really Andre? We can do better. Then I know to step it up.
The film is planned to go online on Christmas day. How important is the internet for a young artist as you?
Very. The internet is such a powerful tool for young filmmakers and it has the ability to get your work in front of audiences you’d never reach using more traditional media. Used in the right way, Youtube and Vimeo are amazing channels that can really help to boost your career. The industry more generally is also moving much more online. Netflix is taken so much more seriously than it was, say, 5 or 10 years ago. Films that only show there are even nominated for Golden Globes. It’s kind of amazing.
For a young artist like you, who doesn’t necessarily have a lot of budget, how did the availability of equipment change for you?
It makes it even more accessible. Now you can even use a Samsung smart phone you shoot good quality footage. Most importantly: this means you can move way more quickly. You don’t have to wait around to rent equipment, or until you have the budget to buy. This fits my style. You know, I can be a bit impatient and this helps me to make things happen now!
You seem like a person who has a very clear idea of where he wants to get to. How do you make sure you get there?
To grow I read a lot of books and watch YouTube speakers. Also we meet regularly with a small group of actors and talk about work, give peer-feedback. You have to be open to look at yourself and see how you can develop.
What would your advice be for young artist in the film industry that want to make it?
Dream big dreams, but never forget that short time goals are the key to your success. We have a lot of dreams and we live in a society where anything seems in reach, but if you are not able to see what you can do today or tomorrow, it’s hard to make those dreams happen. To actually make it happen. Ask yourself: what can I do today or tomorrow?
Last but not least: how was it to film in Clink78, what did you think of the courtroom?
Wow! The courtroom was such a great space. You could really feel the history in those walls. Had a real vintage look. We were so happy to be able to shoot there.