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Steven Long Director of Global Film Exhibition in coversation with Director Charlotte Rose Ainsworth

Today, we've managed to snag some quality time with Charlotte Ainsworth, the creative genius behind the mesmerizing film, "Stevi". Dive into our conversation and discover what makes this film a must-watch. 

Steve: Hey Charlotte, thanks for joining us today! To kick things off, could you spill some details about "Stevi" and what sparked the idea?

Charlotte: Absolutely! "Stevi" follows the story of a young woman who, despite appearing completely healthy, realizes she's approaching her final days. She reconnects with two old friends, aiming to make the most of her time left while giving them a much-needed reality check. The seed for this character popped into my head during a stroll through Liverpool. It resonated with me to portray a character's transition into adulthood, and this narrative was the perfect dramatic avenue to explore that. Indie coming-of-age music fueled a lot of the film's inspiration.

Steve: That's powerful. So, what kind of themes did you weave into your movie, and why do you think they'll strike a chord with audiences everywhere?

Charlotte: "Stevi" delves deep into themes like love, especially the complexities of queer love, blurred gender roles, memories, mortality, coming-of-age, and regret. Stevi's death is left to interpretation; it can be literal or metaphorical. To the audience, it might symbolize the end of a forced heteronormative lifestyle for Ellie, or perhaps signify the transition from adolescence for Flynn, or simply the need to release the past. The relationship between Stevi and Ellie, for instance, showcases the exploration of hetero vs. queer love.

Steve: Walk me through the magic of how you brought this film to life. Any bumps along the way?

Charlotte: Being on set during production is my jam! I cherish tackling creative challenges head-on and weaving magic with the actors. I’m big on collaboration and I thoroughly enjoy getting insights from the actors on their characters. There’s this indescribable moment when everything just... clicks on set. That’s pure gold for me.

Steve: Were there any films or filmmakers that lit the fire for this project?

Charlotte: Ingmar Bergman's portrayal of dreams in his works had a significant influence, especially for the memory scenes in "Stevi". I employed Bergman's theatrical flair to depict memory, aiming to create a sense of being trapped, and haunted by those memories.

Steve: Got any juicy behind-the-scenes tales to share from the shoot?

Charlotte: There's one that stands out. During the shoot for a scene where Stevi prompts Ellie and Flynn to release their emotions atop a hill, all of us, tired from the long filming process, just screamed our hearts out together. It was genuinely cathartic.

Steve: How did you pick your cast and guide them to embody your vision?

Charlotte: Casting felt serendipitous. Each cast member embodied their character flawlessly. My directorial approach focused on emphasizing the core emotions and pivotal story beats. I encouraged improvisation in some scenes, which further intensified the characters' bond with the surroundings.

Steve: With so many movies out there, what do you think makes "Stevi" stand out?

Charlotte: "Stevi" is poetic realism at its core, making this genre accessible through its balanced dramatic elements. It's also a queer film, and I believe it uniquely tackles the ‘bury your gay trope’. I aimed to flip this trope on its head, making Stevi's death ambiguous, so that she might even survive by the film's end.

Steve: After folks watch "Stevi" at the Global Film Exhibition, what are you hoping they'll chat about?

Charlotte: I hope they see a part of themselves in the characters and feel acknowledged. The film aims to take viewers on an emotional rollercoaster, and I hope it prompts introspection about the themes we’ve explored.

Steve: How did you choose your shooting spots, and did they play a big role in shaping the story?

Charlotte: I had half the script ready before I scouted for locations. Most of the outdoor scenes were shot in Liverpool and the West Midlands. The diverse locations, I believe, added layers to the narrative, making the settings almost characters in themselves.

Steve: How does it feel to see "Stevi" shine on such a grand stage?

Charlotte: Immensely rewarding. The global exposure for "Stevi" is a testament to the hard work and talent poured into the project. The digital accessibility of the Global Film Exhibition is an extra cherry on top.

Steve: Got any pearls of wisdom for budding filmmakers dreaming of the big screen?

Charlotte: Be authentic. Focus on what you deeply care about, and let that be the soul of your projects. When it comes to showcasing your work, put it out there! Platforms like the Global Film Exhibition are fantastic avenues for exposure and feedback.

Steve: Last one, promise! Spill the beans! What's cooking in your filmmaking world next?

Charlotte: I co-direct Lights, Camera, Action! Productions Ltd with Lorna Lennon-Dalziel, and we have a lineup of fantastic projects. Our short film "Little Riots" has been selected for the Belfast Film Festival and is available on the BBC website. We've wrapped up post-production on "Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights" and a fun project titled "Bringing Up the Brontës". Currently, we’re crowdfunding for another short film penned by Lorna Lennon-Dalziel, "He Only Thinks of Me on Sundays". Check our updates on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok @lca_prod!

Thanks, Charlotte, for this riveting chat! Readers, "Stevi" is a cinematic gem you wouldn't want to miss.

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