Award-winning Walthamstow director Anthony Hett explains the inspiration behind his short films
We all feel a little lonely sometimes. Especially during unprecedented times like these, when we are all missing our family and friends.
Maybe that’s why the characters in my films are always lonely in some way? I’m not sure if I do it consciously, at least I didn’t when I first started writing scripts, but I do think it’s important to tell stories about people who are often overlooked.
I went to university in North Wales, where I grew up, before moving to London in 2009 to study for a masters degree in scriptwriting. Ever since I was a teenager, the dream had always been to become a writer and director, but it wasn’t until I moved to Walthamstow at the end of 2013 that I finally made my debut short film, Letters.
It was a case of perfect timing; moving to Walthamstow made me eligible for the Hitchcock Production Fund. I applied and was fortunate enough to be awarded a £2,000 grant. The rest, as they say, is history! If it wasn’t for that grant, as much as I wanted to be a filmmaker, I don’t know if I would have ended up ever making a short film. Yet here I am, nearly seven years later, an award-winning writer and director with a trilogy of shorts exploring the themes of loneliness, old age and dementia. All of which I filmed right here in Walthamstow.
Each film centres around older characters, but all of the characters across the three films, young and old, are lonely. So why make films about older characters? I often joke that I like children and old people because, either though naivety or by design, they tend not to hide their feelings and opinions. You might not always agree with them but at least you know where you stand!
However, it is also more than that. I feel that there are plenty of films about young people. I want to make films about real, everyday characters – people who might not be widely represented in film and television. I am also often inspired by the people I know like my nan or people I see on the street, such as the old lady who waits at the bus stop but never gets on a bus.
I am also keen for my films to have a strong moral tale or question at their core. One question that I am posing with my trilogy is: As a society, do we look after our older generation well enough?