Your new movie HipBeat -
in a few words, what is it about?
is an anarchist who fights the system by day and raves by night while
searching for love in Berlin.
Is HipBeat in
any way or form based on your personal experiences, and how much of Samuel
Kay Forrest can we find in Angus?
think everything you write comes from a personal experience or based on
people in your life you meet. Some of the story is from my experiences but
most is inspired by my siblings and friends.
(Other) sources of inspiration when writing HipBeat?
the world in Berlin and experiencing the nightlife and activist world
through the writing and filming process was my biggest inspiration. But
before I set out on the journey I was
also re-watching films like Dog Day Afternoon, Midnight Cowboy,
A Place in
the Sun, Easy Rider, Shadows, Husbands, The Panic in Needle
Park, Hunger, Shame, and In The Name of the Father to name a few.
Do talk about all your Berlin locations for a bit, and what was it like
shooting in Berlin?
a beautiful canvas to work with because it's filled with so much mystery
and conflict due to it's past history but also the young people are
reshaping the culture in Berlin, which has only been unified since 1989.
We filmed in some of the most notorious and secretive clubs around Berlin
as well as hidden places dating back to the early 20th century.
What can you tell us about your overall directorial approach to
your story at hand?
come from a family of actors, so performance to me is paramount. Personally
I feel itís the directors first responsibility to capture honest
performances that serve the story. I focused mostly on capturing the
realism and counterculture in the moment.
You also play the lead in HipBeat
- so what did you draw upon to bring your character to life, and have you
written Angus with yourself in mind from the get-go?
wasnít planning on playing the role but I had trouble finding actors who
would want to play a gender fluid, non binary anarchist. As for the acting
process, we all draw on our own experiences as actors in some extent, but my
character was based on the amount of research I did on anarchy and queer
talk about the rest of your cast, and why exactly these people?
wanted to have the performances be as authentic as possible. So when
casting the film, I cast actors who identify as queer when the role called
for it. And most of the smaller roles and extras are people from the queer
community. I follow my instincts when casting, so when it comes to filming
the scenes the actors already embody the spirit of the character.
The actors I cast I found in performances around Berlin. I like to cast
actors that have theater experience.
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
energy you bring to the set is vital. Creating a safe space for the actors
is how I approach the shooting process. A place where the actors and team
can play without judgment. I approach everything with encouragement and
love. But I like to say there is no right or wrong way to shoot a film if
it comes from an honest authentic place.
$64-question of course, where can HipBeat
on Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube Rentals during the holidays. In
Janurary it will be on Amazon Prime, Dekkoo (queer platform) and Tubi TV in
the US and UK. Then Europe and the rest of the world in the spring of
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of HipBeat?
audience has responded very well to the film. The limited theatrical
release in LA, Berlin, and London art cinemas were sold out but the
release was cut short due to the pandemic. Itís an unpredictable time
for everyone. As for the critics, it has been mixed reviews and split down
the middle. Some critics love the film and praise it. Others hate it, and
go out of their way to express it. In my opinion good films can be that
future projects you'd like to share?
I have a short film Invisible Borders about refugees on Paus.tv, a great
new free or donation-based streaming service out of London. Some great
shorts and features on there to check out. My next feature film is called
Voices of My Ancestors out in fall 2022, which is about a brother and
sister returning to West Africa to reconnect with their family. And if the
pandemic gets better, I will be filming Godhead next year, which is about
artists following their dreams in Los Angeles.
What got you into
the filmworld in the first place, and did you receive any formal training
on the subject?
come from a family of artists and actors, so it certainly runs through my
veins you could say. My mother would always show me the classic films of
Brando, Clift, Kazan, Coppola, Chaplin, Cassavetees, Newman, and Streep to
name a few. She would also implore me to read Shakespeare if I was
serious. When I was in my late teens I started performing in theater in
London and then attended film school in LA - but I dropped out and started
You seem to be as comfortable in front
of the camera as behind it - so when it comes to making movies, what are
some of your favourite jobs, which could you do without?
love all of it and I am very comfortable doing both, but on my last couple
of films I was just writing and directing, which I prefer to do on my
projects. I also love acting in other peopleís projects and serving
their vision. I hopefully can do that throughout my career.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to HipBeat,
in whatever position?
I said before, I mostly did theater in the UK and Los Angeles
but also acted in some indie films like Street Survivors: The True
Story of the Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash and Groove about musicians in New York. As a filmmaker before
HipBeat I had made some short films and directed theater.
How would you describe yourself as
a director, and how as an actor?
growing, learning, and following my curiosity as an actor or director. I am always striving to be the best version of myself in all aspects
of my life, but as a filmmaker and artist I am never satisfied or
fulfilled. There is always somewhere else you can go and a new experience
you can be challenged by. I hope to inspire people the way that they
whoever else who inspire you?
I have named some of the actors and filmmakers that inspired me already but
there are definitely some writers like Thomas Woolfe, Jack Keroac, Hunter
Thompson, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, John Donne, and George Orwell to
name a few. Musicians would be Tom Waits, David Bowie, Howling Wolf,
Lightning Hopkins, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Alex Scriban, Gaudi, Basquiat,
and Banksy. I am inspired by artists of all mediums and it's an endless
list, but I will leave it there. And of course my mother.
Your favourite movies?
Here to Eternity, The Search, Chimes of Midnight, The
Trial, Citizen Kane,
In the Heat of the Night, Yankee Doodle Dandy, My Left
Foot, Sophie's Choice, One True Thing, Apocalypse
Now, The Conversation, Hurricane,
Cincinnati Kid, Malcom X, The Dictator, Modern
Times, Mean Streets, Raging Bull, The King of
Comedy, Serpico, Network, On the Waterfront, A
Gentleman's Agreement, Giant, East of Eden, Guess Who's Coming to
Dinner, A Women Under the Influence, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,
Cool Hand Luke, Somebody up There Likes Me, Elmer Gantry,
Who's Afraid of
Virginia Woolfe, All that Jazz, Wit, Kes, Songs My Brother Taught
Whale Rider, The Piano, Vagabond, Ratcatcher, Persona,
Ikiru, Amores Perros, Biutiful, Selma, Small
Axe, Ray, La Vie en Rose, Diving Bell and
the Butterfly, Last Tango in Paris, Rain Man, Gandhi,
and Forrest Gump. These are all films worth checking out if you have any
curiosity about being creative or in the film industry.
and of course, films you really deplore?
try not to be negative or critical of films because all art is subjective
and I understand the huge undertaking every project is. But I will
say Birth of a Nation, Gone With the Wind, and Triumph of the Will I
absolutely deplore. I think they are shameful.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
@motherearthfilms.hipbeat and @indierightsmovies
HipBeat2020 and Indie Rights Movies
Mother Earth Films and Indie Rights Movies for Free
@motherearthfilm and @indierights
else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
stay safe, keep creating and be compassionate with one another. We only
get through these tough times together.
for the interview!