Meet Darnel Smart: The Young Filmmaker Tackling a Big Issue
November 7, 2017
Self-doubt, anxiety, loneliness and depression are very real challenges facing people from all corners of society. Being able to open up about our own personal challenges is a benefit of an increasing understanding of how we, as humans, deal with these issues. Darnell Smart, a young creative from St. Paul's in Bristol, felt that his own story needed to be told in order to shed light on something that many face on a regular basis.
Darnell has made a direct and profound film, 'Battle', which is in some ways an an account of his own struggles, using the clever cinematic device of personifying an intangible feeling - literally casting depression as a human character. This conceit allows the audience into his mindset, his psyche. It's a visually stunning account that does so much to open up a channel for empathy among its audience, as well as just being a brilliantly executed and truly cinematic short film - see for yourself below.
We dropped in with Darnell to hear a little more about the film and where he's at since it's release through Random Acts earlier this year.
Hi Darnell. Give us a little info about yourself!
I'm 20 years old and currently in full time work. I grew up in St. Pauls in Bristol. I studied media in college and I've been on film courses and residentials since.
‘Battle’ is the first film you’ve worked on right? How did you find the process of working in a professional film environment?
I found it challenging because it was my first project, but I was lucky to have a great mentor, Michael Jenkins. Through storyboarding, editing, and ideas, he helped me make my short the best it can be.
I loved every part of it because it helped me understand more about the industry.
Battle’ tells a very human story of the struggle with depression. Is it a demon you’ve faced in your own life, and what made you want to translate that into ‘film?
It wasn't more of the demon I was battling, it was just feeling alone and knowing that I'm not the only one feeling like this. So I felt that if i was going to be blessed with a great platform to make a film, I was going to try and help anybody who is going through the same thing and show they are not alone and that there is a way out.
How has the film been received since it was released?
The feedback I've received about the film has been amazing. But it's touched me even more having random people tell me how much they related to it and complimenting how brave I was for making it. It's had numerous shares and a lot of appreciation, and it's also allowed me to go on numerous panels to talk about it.
Are you hoping to continue to create film work?
I am. I'm still working on releasing new projects in 2018. This year I've just been trying to explore different things; still trying to come out of my comfort zone. I've found that I really like festivals, which I never thought in a millions years I would. My last was Boomtown and I'm definitely going next year.
Finally, do you have any pieces of wisdom to pass on to other young creatives out there?
Stay true to yourself. If you feel you want to express apart of you that is hurting, or even a side you feel people in your community or peers wont understand, just do it because what one wont understand another will appreciate.
Thanks a ton Darnell!