📷 : Karen Scott
Having briefly made television appearances earlier in her career, Kheira Bey can be seen in the internet release of the Horatio Productions’ short drama Father written by Juan Echenique. This year, Kheira attended the Making Films 2018 event which showcased a range of film genres and got the chance to work with some of the writers on the line-up. Taking time to answer our questions, Kheira tells us about the short drama Father, attending Making Films 2018 and future projects.
Have you always been interested in acting?
I don’t think there was a specific point when I woke up and knew I wanted to become an actress – it was just something that was meant to be. If I could talk to that mystical person in the sky who pre-destined my life, I’m sure they could tell me the same thing.
I’ve always clung on to stories. Whether that would be watching a lot of them on TV, seeing them live or indeed writing them. I think it’s quite coincidental that I always excelled at writing at school because I was innately good at expressing stories via written words and spoken words. Feelings, emotions, words, energies, language, observing others, rhythms, movement, colours, tones – these are all of the things that have attracted themselves to me like a magnet. I’m just a curious and empathetic person who likes to study people at the end of the day. One day I just woke up and found that the word for that was called an ‘Actor’.
You’ve previously acted in television roles, including ITV’s Arthur & George, would you like to do more TV work?
I have briefly done some television work before and it is something I wish to explore further. Screen acting provides a visual insight into what the character is thinking and I enjoy using my eyes to invite people in. Television is also a very fast-paced world, with scripts being finalised quite late into the process. So, rehearsal times are shorter and being adaptable is key. I think I work my best when pushed for time, as you can make more creative choices instantly; as your mind is being forced to think of them on the spot. Thinking quickly and improvising is a skillset that we human beings do not always utilise, therefore I like to practice and perfect this area whenever I can.
How did the event Making Films 2018 go?
Amazingly well! I enjoyed all of the films and I really enjoyed how the group founders, Fumi Gomez and Juan Echenique, organised the whole night. The audience literally was greeted with a wide range of different film genres, such as: science fiction, kitchen sink drama, comedy and a few thrillers. There were also a few surprises, such as a Question and Answer session with the film-makers at the end. This provided the opportunity for reflection and also a greater insight into how they managed a challenging project. It’s a bit like opening a chocolate box as you really have no idea what to expect!
How were you involved?
I’m an actor and for this challenge I had writers asking me to join their teams. As part of the June Challenge, I play Joanna in Juan Echenique’s ‘Father’ and Cassie in Aidan Sheridan’s ‘Dead Pet’.
Was this the first event like this that you’ve been part of?
It was! I’m sure it won’t be the last, as I am due to be collaborating with Horatio Productions next week and I am sure I will let you know how the screening goes! I like the idea of being part of a group which facilitates what we all want to do, which is to be creative with no barriers attached to such a goal.
Do you have any more events planned currently?
As for my collaborations with ‘Making Films’, I greatly enjoyed working with the group in June and am definitely signing up to future challenges. Let’s wait and see what the talented writers can produce next time. I’m excited!
Without giving spoilers, can you tell us more about Father?
‘A letter. You couldn’t even tell me in person.’ Picture our protagonist Joanna trying to face her out of the picture father, Marcos. Is it worth Joanna trying to understand him? Where will the conversations leave? Who knows who will leave first…
What drew you to the role?
Juan Euchenique’s text. He captures the ‘anti-Hollywood’ view that films always seem to have a happy ending. It isn’t always rose-tinted, with beautiful establishing shots of American houses that seem to stretch forever, with families decorated with perfectly sincere smiles. Is this really the case for everyone? I used to watch films like this and wonder where I was, as I could not identify with what I was faced with on screen. The fact that the story also focuses on the female’s point of view is intriguing, as we never often get that perspective when watching a Hollywood piece.
How long did it take to film?
We actually filmed the whole film in one day! This is such a proud achievement for the team and we all worked very hard during the shoot, all collaborating and smiling throughout.
This was a whole new experience for myself, as with previous work I have normally had less demands placed on me for a whole day of shooting. However with ‘Father’, as the film revolves around the female perspective, I was required on set for a large proportion of the day.
Apart from airing on Vimeo, will it be shown elsewhere, such as at film festivals?
The film was screened at the Candid Arts Trust as part of the ‘Making Films: June Challenge’ screening on the 11th June. The founders of the group (and also the creative team behind ‘Father’) Fumi Gomez (Director and Director of Photography) and Juan Echenique (Writer and plays ‘Marcos’), hosted the event and facilitated a question and answer session with the filmmakers involved.
As for the future, it is a mystery and I’m just embracing the unknown. Who knows what might happen next?
What productions are you currently working on, and which have you got coming up in the future?
I will be collaborating with Horatio Productions very soon on what will definitely be a challenge – making a whole feature film in one day! Currently, I’m sure it’s going to be a huge surprise for all involved. After that, I have work booked for 2019 which I wish to keep under wraps – but think a bit crazy and comfort-zone destroying!
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