Film: Interview with Just Remember director Tianna Banton

Tianna Banton, is a black female filmmaker making her way in this male-dominated industry with a fully-fledged commitment to the drama genre and will not compromise either gender, race or her limitless creative vision. Her latest feature film Just Remember is an independent production true to this vision.

Can you tell us a little about your background. Are you now a full time filmmaker, part time, hobbyist?

I am a part time freelance filmmaker but filmmaking has always been an important part of my life and sometimes takes over and becomes a full time job. I don’t have another day job at the moment but I have in the past, I’ve worked in cinemas and retail stores since I was 19 to fund my passion of making films. I actually was full time for two years when I first started but then I’ve had to find a balance to make money and do what I love.

What are your earliest memories of your creative journey into filmmaking and what first inspired you to pick up a camera?

My earliest creative memories of my creative journey have to be from when I was seven. I begged my parents continuously for about two years for a camcorder but I always got told no I wasn’t old enough but finally they caved and got me a pocket one which I would make home movies on. Don’t know if I still have them now though, haha!

The first two films I watched that made me want to take filmmaking seriously was a short film by Bertie Gilbert called Stray Dogs and a short film by Bonnie Wright called Separate We Come, Separate We Go. They were both so intricate and possessed raw emotion. I just loved the way they made me feel and the way they made me look at things.

Is Just Remember your first feature? Tell us about your previous films.

Actually no, Just Remember isn’t my first feature it’s actually my second. My first feature was called Trial And Error and was about teens facing various pressures and how they dealt with it but Just Remember surely feels like my first proper feature because there are elements that were accessible on the first one. Some of my previous films that have such significant importance, not just to me but other people, are Last Wish and A Kind Soul. They just speak to you on a relatable note and you instantly connect with the characters and their problems.

Give us a breakdown of Just Remember and key elements of the production journey.

Just Remember is about a young woman named Jess who on the way home from her friends party in a very drunken state is hit by a speeding car as she attempts to make her way across the street to her twin brother. Due to the impact of the collision Jess is left with some serious injuries including a dislocated spine, punctured lung, broken leg and later on mild amnesia preventing her from recollecting anything that happened in the last couple of months.

Several weeks later when she’s released from hospital she comes home to her father standing on her doorstep which results in a very heated argument between him and her mother and soon realises that not only does she have to come to terms with her injuries and new life but also the fact that her parents have divorced as well.

The key elements of production for me was building the chemistry between not just the actors playing the Knox Family, but the love interests and other supporting characters as well and to do so we did an intensive six week rehearsal camp type situation. I also gave the actors homework to get to know their characters and each others which they did, so when we started filming it was like they had known each other for ages.

With the film complete what are your plans regarding screenings and festivals?

That’s a very good question and if I’m honest one I probably haven’t given much thought to. It would be amazing to do some screenings and we’ve had some talks with some venues but a lot goes into making that happen, it isn’t as simple as it seems. In terms of festivals I don’t really know because again there’s a lot that goes into making that happen but it would be great if we did. At the start of the process we wrote a list of potential festivals but we missed a lot of deadlines by the time we completed the film so we’re not sure.

It’s also difficult because for things like screenings and Q&As and even press junkets you have to have an audience willing and anticipating to watch the film and I don’t feel like we’re quite there just yet. We have some amazing supporters already, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think enough to fill an event like that.  It’s definitely something we’re looking into. We did stuff like that with the last film so it seems only right we do so with this film because its amazing, but we’ll see how it all works out. It’s really down to schedules etc.

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