«Hilda» press conference report
On October 6, 2020, the press conference dedicated to the film «Hilda» by British director Rishi Pelham took place. The film participates in the Main Competition of the 42nd Moscow International Festival. Director and screenwriter Rishi Pelham took part in the press conference.
On the eve of her school graduation party, Hilda’s aspirations hit rock bottom when she is forced to contend with the abandonment of her parents and the dependency of younger siblings. Determined to avoid the breakup of her family, she depends on dance to keep the enclosing chaos at bay.
«I've always wanted to make a film about someone whose life is music, who lives for it. I just really wanted to understand what happens to the character when this form of expression is taken away from her,» Pelham said.
The film is his debut feature, just as for the film's director of photography Joseph Hobbs. Pelham said that the film's budget was so limited that they shot with one camera only.
«We were aiming at visualizing Hilda's world view, her mentality. So we used camera's optics in an unusual way. The film starts with long focus and close-ups of Hilda, and then we change the lense to 25mm. Thus, the more she metaphorically chokes on her environment, the wider we see the life that suffocates her. For example, in the scene when Hilda stands near the window, Joseph held a rope with one hand, filmed with the other, and we had someone downstairs with a ladder, ready to catch him if needed,» Pelham said.
Megan Purvis, a young British actress, stars as the leading lady.
«We realized that Hilda glues this film together. We didn't have any money to rent a place for casting, so we arranged it at a hotel restaurant in London. Our spot was near the kitchen, and it was very noisy. Before our casting, Megan couldn't find a job for four months. We chose a very difficult scene for the casting, and despite all the noise around, Megan rose above the situation. And we were certain that we had our powerful leading lady,» Rishi Pelham said.
To prepare for the shooting, Megan Purvis, along with Yasmin Al-Khudhairi, who stars as the main character's friend, spent some six months walking in the areas of London where the events of the film take place. And the actresses tried to communicate as their characters would. The director took advice from social services to realistically show social issues in the picture.
«One of the staff members told me that she knows the exact houses where sexual abuse and domestic violence happen, where people live below the poverty line. However, the system works in such a way that she can't do anything until the person who suffers abuse calls social services, or until they are out in the streets,» Rishi Pelham added.
In his film, the character goes the way from «childhood to incredible adulthood», and very fast.
«The turning point for her doesn't happen when her parents abandon her or when she starts having problems at school; it comes when her relationship with her friend fails because of dance and music. That's when she loses her real family,» the director said.
The film's soundtrack is very remarkable; it combines electronic music and jazz, and was composed by the director's university friend Jack Elliot Barton. The film's executive producer is famous actor Tim Roth, who was one of the people to have read the script and helped make the film.