‘Papa’ dir. Carolina Giammetta & Schuman Hoque

Sophia goes to work with her stern emotionally distant father. Tony, a bitter factory worker, comes between them and challenges their loyalty for one another.

Country: UK
Director(s): Carolina Giammetta & Schuman Hoque
Writer: Carolina Giammetta
Producer(s): Penny Linfield & Mary Kearns
Key Cast: Vincenzo Nicoli, Lauren Carse & Perry Fitzpatrick

C8: Where did the idea for ‘Papa’ come from, is it based on a true story?

CG: Papa is based on a true story. When I was at Drama school, I went to work with my father during the Christmas holidays at Pork Farms in Nottingham. I always felt what happened that day was the first time that me and my father really got to know each other. We never spoke about it after wards.

C8: The film is dedicated to your father. Did this inform your casting decisions at all?

CG: Yes but it was hard to find the right person. Actors that were the right age did not have my fathers energy and younger actors didn’t have the right look. Then we found Vincenzo, who even though he was a little young, had the perfect temperament. We cast him 2 days before the shoot!

C8: You’ve worked with Perry Fitzpatrick (Toni) on several of your shorts. Are there several cast and crew you often work with?

CG: Yes when I find someone I love working with, I stick to them! Perry is a perfect example of someone that is not only incredibly talented but is also such a great guy to work with. I definitely look for both those things in cast and crew. In the past, I have gone with someone that may not have the CV of another but I get on with so well with and know we can create something great together. It’s so hard to get a film off the ground and when you do, you have to love every minute of it. So working with the right mix people is absolute key.

C8: The film hinges on the father-daughter relationship. How did you work with the actors to achieve the performances you wanted?

CG: I just talked about my father a lot and who he was. His beliefs and how I as a young woman saw him. I never tried to get either of them to be me or my dad, I just wanted them to understand how we were together. In the end, the dynamic they found between them was quite different to my fathers and mine and I loved that because it still worked and it belonged to them not us, they made it their own.

C8: Shooting with specialist equipment and raw meat must have been a difficult task. How did you get permission to shoot?

CG: We blagged it! We honestly couldn’t get a factory that would allow us in. So I offered to make a short viral of the factory for the CEO of the company in exchange for 18hrs of shooting time, raw meat and factory workers. We had 6hrs shooting time a day for three days and we had to wipe every bit of kit that entered the factory, everyone had to wear welly’s, overalls and hair nets all the time- the cast and crew picture is hilarious!

C8: What were the biggest challenges during production?

CG: Only having 18hrs to shoot it in, working in a fridge and the hygiene rules were so restricting. They watched us all the time and I felt I spent a lot of the time just trying to be nice so we would not be kicked out. There was a lot of laughter on set that really kept us all going and I really owe my cast and crew for that. Everywhere you turned everyone was smiling.

C8: You have directed shorts on your own but directed ‘Papa’ with Schuman Hoque. What’s different about directing as part of a duo?

CG: When you are working on personal material in such a challenging environment in very little time it great to have another set of eyes there looking at the things you can’t. The performances were so incredibly important to me and they took a lot of my focus. It was great to have someone else with an eye on the frame.

C8: If you did the whole process again is there anything you would change?

CG: More time and I would have shot it differently. I would have tried to get more time in the factory in prep so we could have been even more ambitious with the look of it. Saying that I think we did so incredible well with what we had. I would have probably set up Perry’s character slightly differently too.

C8: You often produce and direct your own work. You even appeared in this film as one of the workers. What challenges do you find in keeping the roles separate?

CG: Really hard. I’ve just completed a short for Film London and it’s the first short I have done that I’m not in it at all. It was great not to have to think about that. Even though I had a producer on Papa and on my recent short, with low budget projects you still do so much of it yourself. When you are trying to get things for nothing, people can see/hear your passion to get it made and you have to get stuck in on pre/ postproduction. However, on the shoot I now find it essential to have a producer there that takes care of everything else. After ‘ making Man Up’. I would never run a shoot without a producer on set. It’s very hard to lead and look after everyone at the same time and you really do need to give all your attention to what’s going on on that monitor.

C8: What’s the essence of a good collaboration?

CG: Listening, listening, listening. You need to share all your thoughts and give people the space to offer theirs and listen to them. I love collaboration and urge everyone to share their ideas. People are sometimes really scared of suggesting things incase they say the wrong thing or stamp on your vision but to open up the process and invite collaboration is vital. And if you are working with people you like and respect, you WILL listen.

C8: Are there any filmmakers that have inspired your work?

CG: I had my first acting job was with Mike Leigh in ‘Naked’ and he’s always inspired my work. I like to sit and watch my people move, speak and interact. I love character and human behaviour and I’m not worried about that being the focus of my films. Also, from a young age I loved John Hughes Film. They were about hope for me.

C8: What’s next for you? Any plans for the future?

CG: My new film ‘I Don’t Care’ starring Andrea Lowe, Jo Hartley, Cavan Clerkin and Billie Jo Bailey commissioned by Film London will start its life at a BFI screening in September and I’m in post on a silent comedy short with Elizabeth Berrington and Dan Fredenbergh. I’m working on my feature Pizza Face with this years SOS scheme at The Bureau and I’m taking part in Screen Yorkshire Triangle feature film programme with a film called The Cleaners by Corrigan Foley produced by James Levinson. I’ve recently been attached as Director to a feature of the London play ‘Cradle me’ by Simon Vinnicombe produced by Ben Link (who did those lovely John Lewis commercials) Also busy with numerous TV projects too. So lots of plates spinning at the moment but I wouldn’t want it any other way!