TBB talks To … Filmmaker Remi Moses

Remi Moses is a writer and director who has been filmmaking for 9 years currently finishing an MA degree at The London Film School.

Not taking the conventional route, Remi has self-funded, written and directed over 30 short-films. In 2016 his film Signs Of Silence was selected for film festival wins for Best Short Film and Best Screenplay. He has also garnered support from actors Letitia Wright, Dijon Talton and Jennifer Freeman. Now in his final year of film school, for his graduation piece, Remi is asking his peers and followers to support his Kickstarter for film Saving Art.

Saving Art follows a single father is haunted by the lie he tells his terminally-ill son; that chemotherapy will give him superpowers.

We spoke to Remi about the inspiration behind Saving Art, his journey into film school and how we can help support his dream by supporting his Kickstarter campaign …

Please tell introduce yourself …

My name is Remi, I am from St. Lucia and grew up in East London. Before film school, I was making no-budget films with any actors who were willing to work for free and learnt basically every department just so I could get a film made. It was super difficult making films with one or two people on the crew but it taught me a lot about storytelling and I think it’s shaped me into a better, more compassionate director.

Describe your life right now in a word or one sentence …

Life at the moment is feeling reassuring and magical.

Tell us about your current project.

I’m currently preparing for my graduation film Saving Art which I am crowdfunding for. It’s a beautiful little film that was inspired by a true story. The film follows Brian, who instead of telling his newly diagnosed five-year-old son, Arthur, that he has Leukaemia, he tells him that chemotherapy will give him superpowers. In a battle to keep them both positive, they go on a journey to find out what power Arthur has, whilst Brian is haunted by his lie. This is a story, ultimately, about the relationship between a black single father and his son. It’s about the resilience needed in giving comfort and strength to loved ones going through cancer treatment. It’s also about how the lies we tell to protect our children, can haunt us. It’s a joyful, tender touch on children with cancer, that has a chilling and eerie undertone that speaks to the preconceptions and fears of cancer.

The cast of ‘Saving Art’ – Pierre-Laurent Vawah, Niamh Lewis, Solomon Famosa, CJ Beckford, Joseph Steyne & Oxa Hazel

What’s your role in it? 

I am the writer/director.

How did it come about?

In 2015, at five years old, my baby niece Kalaila was diagnosed with leukaemia and the doctors told her parents that the road would be difficult but not to lose hope. I remember hearing the cries and I remember how dark it became, questioning how unfair it was that this could happen to a 5-year-old. But my cousin and her family are the biggest bundles of light you could possibly imagine. In this unimaginable darkness, they came together and chose happiness at every opportunity. She received remission within 30 days of chemotherapy and eventually beat cancer. Now 7 years later, she is thriving and loving life. She continues to be an inspiration to us all. I don’t only want to tell this story because of her strength, but because I think it’s important to highlight how powerful love and light can be when dealing with cancer. Survival rates are better than ever and continuously increasing, and more children beat it now than compared to just 10 years ago. But as adults, we project our own fears and preconceptions about cancer, not realising that our joy and happiness can be just as valid a medicine as radiotherapy.

Tell us the high points, any obstacles to getting the project completed and how you resolved the obstacles…

Working with a casting director for the first time was a great high point for me. Jane Frisby is amazing and got some incredible talent for this project. My crew are some of the best filmmakers I’ve come across during my time at LFS (London Film School). And honestly, raising the money has been the biggest hurdle and is difficult to ask people for money when you’re running a crowdfund in the middle of the cost of living crisis. There’s no other support out there so unfortunately, this is the only way we can make the film. And Kickstarter is all or nothing, so if we don’t reach the target, we don’t get the money we’ve raised so far. It’s gruelling and tough but I have so much faith in this project and this crew. We are working hard at elevating this story and pushing each other to make an incredible film.

What’s your current plan B?

There is no plan B. Unfortunately making films is expensive, and if we do not raise the money, this story may be lost forever – which is scary to think. There’s just no way to make the film otherwise. We need the money for equipment, locations, actors and catering. I have faith my community will come together to support me in this journey and by God’s grace, this story will get told.

What’s made you sad, mad and glad this week?

Sad: I went to the Rum Kitchen for my birthday dinner and they didn’t have mac and cheese.

Mad: When the DJ played a Britney Spears song straight after Serani – No Games at my 30th birthday party. I have nightmares about it.

Glad: Seeing all my friends come together to dance/sing/drink for a celebration of life.

What are you watching right now?

The Midnight Club directed by Mike Flanagan.

What are you reading right now?

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake.

What are you listening to right now?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Potter Payper recently.

The last thing you saw on stage?

Dream Girls.

What’s on your bucket list? 

I want to travel and I want to learn new languages.

Remi Moses on set

Celebrate someone else – who do you rate right now?

A filmmaker called Ravenna Tran who just DP’d her first feature film. One of the best-emerging cinematographers I’ve come across and someone who I’m dying to work with. She is kind, big-hearted and a joy to be around, which (I think) are remarkable factors when working in this industry. Ravenna is so talented, as a DP, but also as a director. She has a tenderness in her approach to storytelling that inspires me. She is destined for a huge impactful career, and I have no doubts that she’s going to be a name everyone’s going to know soon.

Celebrate yourself – make us proud of you!

Before getting accepted into film school in 2020, I had made over 30 short films. For most of them, I was the only person on the crew, but the other times I had help from 2 crew members. Despite never having funding or support, I was always blessed to work with incredible actors. In 2016 my film Signs Of Silence (Read our 2017 interview with star Elijah Baker here) got accepted into film festivals around the world. I went to screenings in Los Angeles, New York, and Glasgow. I made a film with Dijon Talton and Jennifer Freeman which was such a confidence booster for me. The fact that these big actors wanted to collaborate with me just reassured me that I was on the right path and my work was good enough and didn’t have to surpass this imaginary self-constructed bar to be qualified as good. Letitia Wright & Malachi Kirby were among the attendees of some of the film premieres I had from 2016-2018 and Letitia has been very vocal about supporting me as the next emerging British filmmaker. I don’t really believe that film festival awards can be useful measuring sticks, but my films have been lucky enough to be recipients of “Best Short Film” and “Best Screenplay” awards. One of my goals for my career is to win a BAFTA and I have every confidence in myself that I can achieve it.

Where can we find you / watch your project?

My crowdfunder for Saving Art can be found on Kickstarter. I post a lot of updates and castings on social media: Instagram.

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