This was my first feature film directed by Kirsty Robinson. She saw a short film I worked on call Wasted and really liked my work, so she contact me and asked me to work with her on a really low budget film.
I read the script, had few meeting with her over in skype, jumped on a plane and we started a beautiful journey.
The film is available in amazon uk. -Transcript at the end-
Creator of Henley-set drama is destined for greater things: When Henley-raised 29 years old writer and director Kirsty Robinson introduced her feature length offering at the film portion of this year’s Henley Fringe and film festival, she was at pains to clarify that her 93 minutes opus was not only low budget but had cost a meagre £3,000 to make.
Although set in our own Henley-on-Thames, the market town location is apparently incidental, and revealed to the uninitiated solely by Beth's scanning of the situations Vacant page of the Henley Standard. a sick father and wayward aunt. Interspersed throughout the story are real-life talking heads of all ages, shot in black and white, imparting their individual life lessons and wisdoms upon the audience and, presumably the characters themselves. Clearly, the overarching ideas here are those of learning from one's mistakes, pursuing dreams, and the importance of reconciliation.
Tea + Cake according to the official synopsis, traces the journeys and relationship of four generations of women in a small town, although key to the narrative is the friendship between two school-leavers, Beth (Emily Hardick) and Jo (Alice Pitt-Carter).
While the former struggles to break free from the constrictions of rural parochialism to pursue a career in the film industry in London, the latter remains homebound, fulfilling her obligation to attend to a sick father and wayward aunt. Intespersed throughout the story are real-life talking heads of all ages, shot in black and white, imparting their individual life lessons and wisdoms upon the audience and, presumably the characters themselves. Clearly, the overarching ideas here are those of learning from one's mistakes, pursuing dreams, and the importance of reconciliation.
Although set in our own Henley-on-Thames, the market town location is apparently incidental, and revealed to the uninitialted solely by Beth's scanning of the situations Vacant page of the Henley Standard.
That being said, the cinematographer Sandra De Silva De La Torre puts her own stamp on both the town's more picturesque and humdrum locals with an astute eye, drawing us into its festive ebullience one moment and dropping us into murkier shadows the next -a side with which, perhaps, residents might not be obviously familiar.
Hardick and Pitt-Carter deliver instinctive, unselfconscious leading performances. We feel Beth's pain of rejection as she struggles to find her place in the world, and empathize with Jo's erratic behaviour caused by the so many things that are out of her control.
A large cast of confident supporting roles -literally too many to mention here- add to the impertinence line-up of accolades for this production.
All the while, Robinson's sharp understanding of characters, storytelling, pacing, and comic sensibility always leaves us wanting more. The sequence where a Beth imagines clambering on top of her love interest in the park, while her girlfriends look on bemused, is truly hilarious.
Conversely, the director's handling of weightier material in places is as mature as anything we might find on the rounds of the top film festivals.
One can only imagine what a further three or four zeros added to the budget of this film might have allowed suffice to say that Robinson should be destined for greater things.
There's a posse of talented filmmakers and performance artists rising up from Henley's substrate, and the organizer of the Henley Fringe and Film Festival, Joe Southwell -a gifted filmmaker herself- is right on top of it. We should all be eager to see where it goes.
Written by Martin Dew from the Henley Standard news paper.