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Author: Urvisha Patel

Co-Founder of Big Picture Film Club
Interviews

Tatjana Anders & Top Tarasin Discuss Gaslighting in “Your Reality” Short Film

August 21, 2019

“People who gaslight tend to use psychological manipulation to make you believe their reality.” 

Written by and starring actor Tatjana Anders and directed by Top Tarasin, the short film explores the use of gaslighting within a relationship. The film follows Alicia (played by Tatjana Anders) who meets Mark (played by Kyle James) at a coffee shop after he kindly offers to pay for her coffees. On their first date, we see a glimpse of Mark’s manipulating ways when he insists she was late. His behaviour quickly escalates to controlling her, isolating her from her friends and we begin to see how subtle the control and manipulation can be.

Tatjana Anders with guests at the “Your Reality” premiere screening

It was writer and actor, Tatjana Anders’ mission to raise awareness on the topic of gaslighting after having read an article, it clicked that a friend of hers had experienced something similar and she did not know what it was until she saw the term existed.

Tatjana explains she read books and talked to therapists about the topic which helped shaped the story. A crowdfunding campaign to raise funding became an awareness campaign when unexpectedly she began receiving messages from people who shared similar experiences. 

The short doesn’t allow us to explore the many layers to this topic but does builds the characters and is set up in a way that could very well see it as a full-length feature which is exactly what the plan is for Tatjana. 

Big Picture Film Club with Tatjana Anders

What’s the main thing she wants people to take away from this? “Sharing the message – provoke people to ask questions – what’s the cause? Do I know someone who has experienced this? Have I experienced something like this?”

When director Top Tarasin first read the script he thought it was great.

“It broke the format in that it doesn’t feel like a short film. All the elements in a short usually lead to one point like a gimmick or punchline, whereas this was atmospheric, it felt like we were in the middle of a feature, it took it’s time.”

-Top Tarasin, Director

Interpreting the topic for the big screen had its challenges, Top had to limit what he wanted to say, “there are so many angles to explore – abuser, the people around the situation. We needed to focus on one thing – the perspective of the victim, everything had to enforce that perspective and this, in turn, informed the visual language. The choices we made were made from one perspective.

Top Tarasin at the premiere screening of “Your Reality”

Not a topical director, Top is more into universal themes: humans, love, revenge. The topic of gaslighting was different to his usual work, it’s very specific and the focus was the humanity of it, which was a person suffering.

He adds his own perspective of the topic to the film: “the profound sorrow that comes with the loss of time: how did I get here? This is what I wanted to inject into the film.

Your Reality will be released online in September.

“Your Reality” (Official Trailer)

Also Read: The Internet Picks the #BestMovieLineEver

Editorials

British Brown Girls: Short Films Redefining British-Asian Women On-Screen

July 28, 2019
British Brown Girls

Lack of diversity in TV and film is a hot topic, and it wasn’t until I saw the selection of stories at the British Brown Girls screening did I realise the true lack of representation of brown women in today’s media. 

The roles for brown women we are used to seeing have become stereotypes and cliches; we are more than the submissive housewives, the strict mothers, the shy/naive/nerdy sisters. It was so refreshing to see a variety of brown women in real-life everyday scenarios that were real, touching, funny and warm. 

UNDR LNDN & Gal-Dem present #BritishBrownGirl

UNDR LNDN teamed with gal-dem to celebrate a new era British Brown girls on TV and film with a special screening and Q&A with writer/director Nida Manzoor and writer/director Myra Appannah. Both shared their experiences as brown women in the world of film: how hard the creative process can become when you consider multiple POVs in your work, the responsibility of telling the truth and avoiding selling your trauma and perpetuating stereotypes, being true to your story and your voice, and the importance of representation: you can’t be what you can’t see. 

Opening and closing with music videos from Joy Crookes: Don’t Let Me Down and Since I Left You were both beautifully shot with the singer/songwriter’s Bangladeshi and Irish heritage being highlighted in her music both lyrically and visually.

Ilford Lane

“Ilford Lane” screenshot

Director: Niki Simone

Starring: Ambreen Razia

Ambreen Razia stars as local hero Maya Clark who is blackmailed for having an affair. With an abusive husband at home and scared for her life, she takes control as Ilford Lane explores the hidden mystery behind her disappearance.

Hounslow Diaries

“Hounslow Diaries” screenshot

How refreshing to see three brown girls being girls, having fun, dreaming big and living life? 

Ambreen Razia, Mandeep Dhillon and Robyn Cara as three friends going through everyday trials and tribulations and having fun at the same time is must-watch TV. We need an entire series.

Watch “Hounslow Diaries” on BBC iPlayer.

Garfield

“Garfield” screenshot

Director: Georgi Banks-Davis

Starring: Mandeep Dhillon & Matthew Trivannon

The casting for this took 8 months. Getting the right people for the roles was so pivotal to this short drama and it shows in the chemistry between Krishna (Mandeep Dhillon) and Garfield (Matthew Trivannion).
Waking up after a wild night out there are no awkward moments of ‘shame’ between the two. Wanting to enjoy the moment you’re in, feeling something genuine whilst battling the angst of the expectations of a ‘good Indian daughter’ hit close to home. The feeling of freedom can be quite rare, to know that the choices in your life are your own. For a short while, we get to see a glimpse of what could have been in this cute, touching and brilliantly edited short drama.

Watch “Garfield” on Vimeo.

Lady Parts

“Lady Parts” screenshot

Director: Nida Mansoor

Starring: Ritu Arya, Juliette Motamed, Lucie Shorthouse, Anjana Vasan, Danielle Vitalis

A part of Channel 4’s programme for fresh comedy talent, Lady Parts follows engineering PHD student Amina (Anjana Vasan) as she juggles finding a husband and settling down with her dream of shredding a mean guitar for an all-female punk band fronted by Saira (Ritu Arya).
A brilliant ensemble cast showcasing diverse Muslim women with humour and strength. 

Watch “Lady Parts” on YouTube.

Hello, Again

“Hello, Again” screenshot

Director: Tom Ruddock

Starring: Jack Brett Anderson & Naomi Scott

Owen (Jack Brett Anderson) struggles with the loss of his mum after her funeral so he heads to the cemetery where he meets Maura (Naomi Scott). A sweet and emotional story about loss, love and life, they try to find a way to connect with the loved ones they’ve lost.

Watch “Hello, Again” on YouTube.

I hope this is the first of many screenings championing brown women in front of and behind the camera.

Also Read: The Rise Of Nigerian-British Filmmakers

Editorials

WWE On The Big Screen

April 7, 2019

This year marks the 35th edition of the biggest event of the year for wrestling fans, WWE’s Wrestlemania will be taking over the city of New Jersey and for the first time ever we will see women headline the main event.

As a lifelong wrestling fan, I can honestly say this is the best time to be a wrestling fan. The storylines have matured, the women’s division has come a LONG way and the brand itself has evolved. No more are we made to believe that it’s “real”, instead it has immersed seamlessly into our everyday lives emphasizing more on entertainment than wrestling alone. Extending the brand by developing up and coming stars through NXT programming, creating their own SVOD with original content, developing gaming, merchandise and films.

With the recent success of Fighting With My Family – the story of former Diva and Women’s champion Paige’s rise to success at the WWE, and 2008’s critically acclaimed The Wrestler, starring Mickey Rourke and follows the life and struggles of a once successful wrestler, there is definitely an audience for wrestling themed films to be made for the wider mainstream audience.

With that in mind, the following are stories based on wrestlers and storylines that I think would make for great feature length films.

The Rock Says

The Rock & Stone Cold Steve Austin (WWE.com)


Mirroring The Great One’s autobiography in parallel to his onscreen success and rise to fame, the story of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is one that is inspirational as much as it is entertaining. With memorable feuds and storylines from The Nation of Domination, to Vince McMahon and later Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock ‘s undeniable charisma led him to becoming one of the first superstars to successfully transition into Hollywood.

The Invasion

WCW & ECW wresters in the ring (WWE.com)

After years of battling for ratings in what is now known as the Monday Night Wars, WWE came out on top when they acquired WCW and ECW. In a shocking twist of events, it was revealed that yes a McMahon was now the owner of WCW but it was Shane not Vince who had signed on the dotted line. Together with Paul Heyman and new owner of ECW Stephanie McMahon, they formed the Alliance in a bid to dominate the WWE once and for all.

Pipebomb

CM Punk escapes through the crowd (bleacherreport.com)


The best storylines blur entertainment with reality, which in this day and age isn’t the easiest to do. It was a long lead but the infamous promo built the hype for one of the biggest matches in Money in The Bank history when CM Punk faced off with John Cena in what would be his ‘last match’ in the WWE.

Yes, Yes, Yes

Daniel Bryan and fans occupy RAW (WWE.com)


The story of the underdog is one that we can all resonate with and one that doesn’t get old. The rise of Daniel Bryan’s superstardom took us on an emotional rollercoaster and finally culminated after a two year long battle against The Authority, where he overcame every obstacle that was put in his way to finally win the WWE Championship at the biggest stage of them all Wrestlemania 30. In a bittersweet moment, it was shortly after this monumental win when he announced his early retirement due to a neck injury and multiple concussions.

The Man

Becky Lynch heads to the ring (WWE.com)


After a surprising heel turn at Summerslam, Becky Lynch breathed new life into the women’s evolution when she turned on her best friend Charlotte Flair. Never before had we seen such hype and support for a heel turn and overnight she became one of the biggest stars in the company. In just under a year she has built immense momentum for herself and her quest for the top, ultimately culminating in a winner takes all match when she faces Raw Women’s champion Ronda Rousey and Smackdown Women’s champion Charlotte Flair in the first ever headline main event at Wrestlemania 35.