Issy Snailham on her Award Winning Short: Lux
October 31, 2017
Everyone was shocked at the untimely passing of legendary David Bowie in 2016. It felt like something truly monumental had occurred, a wave cresting against our collective minds, almost upsetting the fabric of time and space.
He was valued worldwide - not just by those who loved his music. His mark on art, film and culture in general was truly indelible. Young filmmaker Issy Snailham was just wrapping up a Bowie-related short film when the news of his death came about. Her film, which can be seen below, serves as its own tribute, encapsulating through brilliant, heartfelt storytelling how Bowie's presence on this planet changed so many lives.
'LUX' has since been released through Random Acts and has been nominated for/won awards, so we caught up with Issy to find out a little more about her first short film and what she's up to now...
Hey Issy! Give us a little info about yourself!
Hi! I’m 19 and I live in Bristol. I’m about to study English Literature at the University of Warwick. I made LUX through Calling the Shots / Random Acts when I was 17.
Tell us about some of the inspiration and influences behind LUX...
My biggest inspiration for making the film, aside from Bowie’s music, was the 2010 film The Runaways. There’s a scene in the film where the protagonist cuts off her hair, flaunts the Bowie zig-zag and performs Lady Grinning Soul at the school talent show. The audience laugh in her face but she just doesn’t care and continues to dance – I always thought that she looked amazing. This initial image of decadence, glamour, sexuality and power was the starting point and the narrative was shaped to fit this.
During the production of your film, the world found out about the untimely passing of David Bowie. How was that for you as director, and how did it effect the process of the film?
It was incredibly surreal; we’d just finished a weekend of filming where we had been absorbed in images of Bowie and his music and we woke up the next morning to news of his death. I think everyone on the project felt spooked. When we were trying to secure the music rights, someone working on the film who had a connection to his publicist, said that David Bowie himself was told that we were making the film which is unbelievable, especially because this was only a month or so before his death.
It felt important to make sure the film didn’t seem like a response to his death. In LUX, Bowie’s music is a catalyst for the protagonist’s transformation from someone who suppresses his flamboyancy to someone who embraces it to the extreme. The film is about this idea – I didn’t want it just to seem like a tribute film for the sake of it.
Since its release, how’s LUX been received?
It’s been really fun. In February, LUX won Best 16-18 Film at BFI Future Film Festival which was really exciting in itself but has also led to some amazing opportunities. A few weeks ago myself and two other crew members took the film to The Next Film Festival in Denmark where it received a Best Script nomination. We got to experience masterclasses, seminars and screenings and met some really talented people from all around the world who have become good friends.
The film will also be screening at festivals in York and Norway in November and I've recently been selected as a Sundance Ignite finalist after entering the film into a competition for a programme run by Sundance Film Festival. I feel so lucky to have had all these experiences.
Are you working on any other projects currently? What are Issy’s plans for the foreseeable future?
Alongside studying at uni, I am working as one of the 50 content creators for VOXI, Vodafone’s new youth brand which involves making several very short films every month. I am also collaborating with two other filmmakers and we hope to make a series of shorts within the next few months – I just want to keep making films!
Do you have any snippets of wisdom to pass on to other young creatives out there?
I would say, seek and take any opportunity no matter how small – it may open many doors! If there aren’t any opportunities at the moment, then make your own. Also, don’t compare yourself to others too much. Just do your own thing and remember that everyone has to start somewhere.