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Depict ’18 Winner Aimie Willemse talks about her film Echo and the magic of Depict

We’re getting excited here at Depict HQ as there is just over a month left until this year’s submission deadline (Mon 1 July – but you knew that already, right?).

Depict is Watershed’s free competition for tiny films and each year we’re inundated with fantastic entries from around the world, all 90 seconds long or less. Submissions span every genre and style of filmmaking and come from people at all levels in their careers (or hobbies) and from all over the world. We remain immensely proud of the filmmakers who have entered and found their way onto every year’s shortlist, and subsequently go on to do amazing things – we also love staying in touch with them and finding out what they’re getting up to now.

UK director Aimie Willemse won the Depict British Special Mention Award last year with her stylish horror short Echo, impressing our Jury with the way it “reimagines a Hans Christian Andersen story in a really exciting way, and achieves what it set out to do with minimal means and wonderful attention to details.” Aimie’s prize included a package of career development opportunities from NFTSBAFTAShooting People and BFI NETWORK.

We caught up with Aimie to chat to her experience making her winning film and to hear her advice for anyone applying for this year’s competition.

Can you describe your winning Depict film for us and how you came up with the idea?

Echo focuses on a girl who goes off exploring an abandoned tunnel only to learn that there is something else down there with her. This is a dark take on Hans Christian Andersen’s tale “The Little Mermaid” about the horrors of having your voice stolen by a malicious force.

What drew you to the Depict 90 second format?

The ability to tell a simple yet compelling story in 90 seconds is a fun challenge that we managed to achieve with a fantastic cast and crew.

What challenges did you encounter making your Depict film and what advice would you give to aspiring depict filmmakers?

We filmed in the dead of winter, in an authentically abandoned location which was challenging to keep spirits up. Then when it came to the edit we had to make some tough decisions on what to cut and what to keep to streamline the narrative for 90 seconds. I recommend keeping it interesting yet simple and visual.

What was your level of experience before submitting to Depict?

I had been writing and directing short films for over 7 years but it’s a fantastic opportunity for filmmakers of any level to make something.

What have you been up to since your Depict success? Where did the competition take you?

I’ve been studying for a masters in film at Screen Academy but also enjoying the career development award as I’ve been receiving mentoring from BAFTA and BFI which has been massively beneficial to me. I’m currently a part of a female filmmaker group who are making another Scottish horror short called “Doppelparents” and the Indiegogo page is now live so please check it out. It’s a tale is about a frustrated graduate struggling to adapt to living back home, who learns the consequences of impulsively wishing her parents away over the course of a gory family dinner.

Can you sum up why Depict is important to emerging filmmakers?

In my experience, no other film competition offers such a variety of awards for emerging filmmakers. Without Depict, Echo wouldn’t have a BBFC rating or screenings in some independent cinemas across the UK – a greater prize than just winning cash.

Check out Aimie’s winning Depict film here

Depict ’19 is open for entries until Mon 1 July 2019. We accept films from people at any level in their career or education, from anywhere around the world, and in any genre. Our only rule is that it has to be 90 seconds long or less. There’s up to £2,500 in prize money to be won plus loads of development opportunities, including mentoring from industry professionals and invaluable exposure at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival. Good luck!

Posted on 24 May 2019 at 4:14 pm.

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