UKIF 5 minute interview: Mhairi Calvey

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Mhairi Calvey

Tell us about yourself, your current work, examples of your work.

I am a Scottish born actress and I started acting when I was five years old playing the ‘Young Murron’ in ‘Braveheart’ directed by Mel Gibson. My most recent role was playing the lead in the American Sci-fi, Conspiracy feature film ‘Abduct’ which has just been released. My other roles include playing the title role in ‘Eden Grey’ an action film about a female solider who becomes the target of an agency when she discovers the truth behind their clinical trials. She is a female Jason Bourne inspired character. I have also been in the T.V movie ‘Gemini’ about a bank heist and the period drama episode of ‘Horizon’ that is coming out later this year. In my spare time I train in Krav Maga martial arts and I have recently just got back into modeling.

Dealing with your current project, why did you decide to go independent with it, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

I think our biggest challenge when we filmed ‘Abduct’ was the location. The film is set in Texas and we filmed everything on location in the UK just outside of London. Luckily our director Ilyas Kaduji is also an amazing visual effects designer and has worked on films like ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lara Croft’. We used a lot of Green Screen for the car chases and outdoor shoots, then a second unit went to the States to film all the background that we needed. I think our other challenge was the month of night shoots, so much of the film is set at night so we were preparing though out the day and filming through the night. Most of the crew literally slept on the set to make sure the film was done.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a budding independent film maker, what would it be?

If I could give any advice to filmmakers it would be to just start filming! It’s very easy to come up with an idea then find reasons not to film it. So many great scripts never get shot. It is incredible what you can do when you find the right team and get creative. Amazing things can happen, so if there is a film you want to make then make it. No excuses. I’ve seen some incredible work by directors who have literally been a one-man crew and now they are directing their third film.

What film makers or films inspire you, whether independent or not?

I think the films that inspire me the most are independent because when you don’t have much budget you face huge challenges; your audience still expects to see your independent film looking the same as a Studio film. I really admire the filmmakers who achieve that. Personally my favorite director is Quentin Tarantino, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to his work.

Are the current crop of funding platforms (Kickstart etc) working for independent film, or do you believe there needs to be something specifically geared for it?

I think platforms such as kickstarter and indiegogo are brilliant for independent films if you have a very big social media network and you’re a twitter wiz. I do think it would be great to see more government funding going into the arts and I also think it would be great to set up a company that has a group of high end investors that help independent films. Much like studio investment is set up but on a smaller scale for the independent film market.

Independent film is starting to grow quickly across the world, where do you see your place in it in the future? Will you continue to make independent films or do you see it as a springboard making industry sponsored films?

As an actress it’s always about the script so I don’t mind if a production is independent of not. I would love to do everything from independent film to studio-backed productions. I feel passionate about filmmaking as a whole on whatever scale. It would be great to perhaps produce a couple of Independent films at some point in the future too.

Thank you Mhairi, please check out her work

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