"I was actually inspired by a book called the Guerrilla Filmmaker's Handbook for people who decide they're going to make their feature on no budget whatsoever," recalls Emma. "So I started down that road with a script and had to form a company to get it made. In the beginning there was no company structure. In England you have to have a director and a secretary to start a company, so I was the director and a friend of a friend was the company secretary. Unfortunately, she didn't realize quite what hard work filmmaking is and after we'd shot the first part of the feature, she left. So then there was just me. As far as a business plan, I had gone to a business course and had constructed a plan, but it was very connected to the film we were shooting. Now the company mission is focused on long-term growth, with feature films being our goal."
Emma's features and shorts are an evocative blend of unsettling foreboding and comedy. Her twelve-minute 35-mm film Cupboard Love is a dark tale of female friendship, chocolate spread, and sharp knives. Cut close to the bone, it is guaranteed to keep you perched on the edge of your seat until the final twist in the tale. Cupboard Love received the Gold Special Jury Award at WorldFest-Houston in 2003.
Emma's ninety-second 35-mm film A Small Death depicts a young girl lying feverish in a candlelit room, reliving a devastating encounter in an idyllic garden. The story plays on biblical and folklore themes to present a journey from light into darkness through the loss of innocence.
"All of our shorts are done for the express purpose of showing the world how good we are," says Emma. "However, in addition to satisfying my creativity, they've been tremendous learning experiences. I get bored very, very easily and if I had to wait years to get a feature off the ground without doing anything else, I'd go insane. If I haven't worked on anything for a while, I'll just write another short, or shoot a silly film with friends. I have to keep working."
Emma's short films primarily get shown at film festivals and at industry screenings in London. "It's very difficult to make money from short films," Emma acknowledges, "but not impossible. The most I have known anyone to make was 7,000 UK pounds due to the fact they sold all rights to HBO. However, the contract was negotiated by a short film distributor, and the filmmaker in question has yet to see any of the money. Although I haven't made a penny from the short films, the exposure generated has been worth its weight in gold!"
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