For my first opportunity writing for Noises Off, I was tasked with interviewing Brett Chapman, a filmmaker based in Sheffield. Primarily, I’m a reviewer, so talking to an artist in advance of their new release was a nervy, but delightful, experience. Brett was more than happy to discuss his work and provide insight for the upcoming filmmaking project All The Time We Have, showcasing at NSDF ‘22.
Nathan Hardie: According to your showreel, you’ve worked as a journalist, writer, director, public relations agent, editor and associated artist with NSDF. How have you ended up in all of these different roles?
Brett Chapman: Originally, I wanted to be a forensic pathologist because of the show Quincy M.E, but my science teacher talked me out of it. I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker since acquiring my parents’ video camera and making documentaries of my mates’ parties. I was persuaded into journalism before working at an advertising agency, learning the administrative side but feeling uncreative. So, after travelling for a year vlogging each day, I bought a studio in Sheffield and began my freelance film career working with James Phillips, *CEO of NSDF.
N: How did you find being a filmmaker during the pandemic?
B: For the first time ever, it reset my work-rest balance. The pandemic forced me to stop and
think ‘Wow, I can just not do something today’, allowing some space to pore over unfinished
work and reflect. However, I did collaborate with several companies to produce something part film, part live theatre, but also encompassing online audience participation due to social
distancing. It’s quite exciting to work as a team and make something new, outside of my comfort zone.
N: You’re challenging yourself again at the upcoming NSDF festival with All The Time We Have?
B: I’ve tasked myself and a core group (around seven to ten people) with creating a short film from scratch over six days of the festival, screening it on the final day. The title, All The Time We Have, has been left purposely vague for them to come up with a theme and script in the first half, then shoot and edit it in the second half.
N: How do you feel about attempting such a feat?
B: It is one of the most exciting approaches to filmmaking. It can potentially be quite daunting
but I feel very supported by NSDF for letting us do this project. We share the passion that
people should experience working on screen as well as stage, gaining lots of transferable skills. It’s also why we’re inviting any other festival goers to get involved, as well as providing us a helping hand. There’s no weighty expectation on us, we’re making art for art’s sake, and it’s what this career is supposed to be.
N: Is this what you’re looking to accomplish with your project?
B: Essentially, I’m looking to create an environment for people to be comfortable and have fun. Sure, there will be moments where we will be stressed out but hopefully that won’t dampen our excitement. These young creatives are driving the entire project, some of them for the first time, so I want us to be proud of what we achieve.
The idea of creating a new film with an assortment of young people over six days is an extreme experiment, making All The Time We Have wholly unique, no matter the final product. How will they collaborate efficiently and without friction? Which locations and limited resources will they be able to make use of? And most importantly, what’s it going to be about? I’m looking forward to what they create, but I am also very excited for the one minute behind-the-scenes documentary that will surely accompany it.
*Festival Director James Phillips