Phoenix James is an Actor, Writer, Director, Producer, Multi-Award Winning International Performance Poet & Spoken Word Recording Artist and Filmmaker.
He recently released his self-financed mockumentary ‘Love Freely but PAY for SEX‘…we spoke to him to find out more about this ambitious project…
Tell us about your new project?
Love Freely but PAY for SEX is a feature-length character-driven mockumentary film which follows a rogue British independent film & TV production group, with no prior filmmaking or television production experience, armed with a handful of very mouthy and persuasive male and female amateur journalists & presenters who spread themselves out across London pursuing the general public, media personalities and various members of authority to open up on their views about a new impending Government led Pay for Sex Policy that will soon affect the whole of Great Britain and the EU. The film comprises interviews and character-driven dramatisations. Their overall collective aim in making and showcasing the film is not only to create awareness but to also stimulate further dialogue among those who are. Their work to uncover, document and highlight more information about the Pay for Sex Policy is ongoing.
Your film stars 70 people, it was shot over 50 locations, how did you coordinate everything?
There are 70 actors in the original episodic version of the project and close to 60 actors in this full running feature-length movie version. In condensing the film to an hour we had to look at what was most necessary to include and focus solely on those scenes for the full movie, allowing the scenes we didn’t use to have their place of exclusivity within the episodic version of the project. It was an immense task to coordinate and organise everything for all of the numerous shoot dates and cast required and took very careful and meticulous planning, research, meetings, phone calls, and paperwork. Pre-production for the film was conducted over a 3-4 month period and filming over a period of 4 months after that.
What was the significance of the size of this project?
The size of the project had no significance at all initially. It was mostly about saying everything I felt it needed to say, which in the end dictated the scale of the project, causing it to become much bigger than myself or any of us had anticipated. The more areas I observed and realized I needed and wanted to touch on and discuss, the bigger the project became and the more characters were introduced and before I realized, I had a monster of a project on my hands to complete.
How was your documentary funded?
It was all self-funded from my own pocket and additional to that a few non-sexual favors from some very good people I know.
Coming from Hackney how much has your background influenced you in your career as a filmmaker?
I think coming from Hackney has influenced me in my career as a filmmaker just as much as my time living outside of Hackney and just as much as writing, acting, music, going to school, watching movies, performing, family, travelling to other countries, meeting women, living in Barbados, living in Hampshire, going to clubs, reading books, experiencing new things and meeting new people. Filmmaking is a very creative thing; I’m a very creative being. The degree to which Hackney has influenced me in my filmmaking can be perhaps determined by the fact that it was personally very important to me that a number of the scenes were filmed in Hackney.