Robert Morgan (left) is moving from animation to live action with his short film, Monsters. It's the story of 8-year-old Stan, a troubled child with a vivid imagination and a spiteful older sister. One Sunday afternoon, violent visions and sibling hostility spiral dangerously out of control. Monsters was produced through the Film Council and FilmFour's Cinema Extreme scheme, which aims to encourage filmmakers with an original vision. The 30-year-old director spoke to us after his Edinburgh screening.
How did you get into making films?
I started off studying Fine Art at college, and from there I went on to study animation. My graduation film led to two commissions, one from Channel 4 and one from S4C in Wales. This is my first full on live action film. Live action is really more the direction I want to move into now. Animation is quite a solitary process and I missed collaborating with other people. Monsters benefited from a talented team, especially cinematographer Marcus Waterloo. The editing took longer than anticipated, but working with Nicolas Chaudeurge was a great and intense creative experience, where I had to forget about my script and approach the film with a new frame of mind. It was very demanding, but also very exciting. I love all the stages of filmmaking.
What was the funding process for Monsters like?
I wrote the script and sent it to the Cinema Extreme fund. I went for an interview and they had some comments about the script, they helped me to develop it a little further, giving us a deadline for delivering more materials, about the look of the film etc. I also did a full storyboard, which helped communicate my ideas to the other members of the team. Cinema Extreme eventually gave us the go ahead. So they were quite involved in that respect.
Where did the idea for the film come from?
The original impetus came from a memory from my own childhood. My family moved near Broadmoor, and I was very young and slightly freaked out by this. The connection with Broadmoor helped me find the elements of horror I wanted to use to portray the emotions visually. I used that as the starting point for the script, and let it enrich the main idea I wanted to develop, that of a violent relationship between siblings, which was also autobiographical.
How has the film been received at the festival, and what are you doing next?
The reaction has been great, really positive. I'm very pleased - people seem to like it a lot. As soon as I get back from Edinburgh I've got to sit in my room and write - that's the plan. I am working again with producer Sylvie Bringas, from Animus Films. They are supporting the development of my next project, a horror feature film. I’m at treatment stage at present.
What advice would you have for other young film makers?
Just keep at it. A lot of people give up easily at the first sign of trouble. If you're going to go for it you have to be prepared for doing the whole struggling artist thing, and not have much money, and not care too much if people don't like what you do straight away. Just don't give up - persevere.
Interview by Jen Foley. For further details contact producer Sylvie Bringas at Animus Films, 5 Wardour Mews, London W1F 8AL.