With the pandemic wreaking havoc amongst the creative industries, we wanted to show our support by promoting some of our friends and partners in this series of interviews. Enjoy!
(All images © the person/organisation featured in the article.)
Tell us a bit about Nexus – what’s it all about?
Nexus is a monthly film and TV networking event in the Midlands and we started six years ago with the Actor’s Workshop Nottingham and it has been going ever since. Every month, we begin with the main event of the evening. This usually takes place in the form of a Q&A with an industry guest or panel, or it could be something fun like a quiz or competition, or it could be a showcase, whether it's one of our Actor Showcases featuring local actors performing monologues, duologues and improvised scenes, or a film showcase featuring local short films. It could also be a Showreel Showcase featuring reels from all kinds of industry creatives, including cinematographers, actors and directors. We even had a location showreel last time, which was great!
After the main event, we then host a 'Pitch Up' session which is an opportunity for attendees to pitch themselves or a project to the room for 60 seconds, which can be useful if they're looking for certain work or trying to find specific people to collaborate with. After that, everyone gets up to start networking and getting to know each other, mingling and having a drink. It’s quite casual and is a great vibe.
Could you take the temperature of the filmmaking scene in Nottingham and the broader East Midlands/Midlands area - what's the score?
I think we have so much talent in the Midlands as well as skilled people to fill every specialism and crew role that is needed on a film or a TV set. We also have beautiful locations, we’re very cheap to film in and we have some incredible on-camera talent, too! So with that in mind, I’d say 200 degrees! In terms of how noticed we are as a whole from the rest of the industry though- that's perhaps where we fall. Large-scale film and TV productions don't come to us as often as London and some other regions, therefore we’ve got so many wonderful talented people who’re often out of work. Don’t get me wrong, they’re always knuckling down and making their own work, which is obviously brilliant and speaks for itself, but they are not getting the kind of high-end, professional-scale opportunities they deserve. I hope that they don't all move away to find the work, because I'm so adamant that we will soon be bringing the work to us! We deserve it, we've worked hard for it and now it's just a case of luring the big boys in!
Where do you see Nexus going in the future?
Since the pandemic began, our events have been taking place on Zoom which has been a soaring success and it has enabled us to reach a much wider community of filmmakers across the Midlands. This has led us to begin planning and developing a new programme that would allow us to expand across both the East and West Midland regions once things begin returning to a bit of normality, which we're very excited for.
Once we're able to be back in the room, our live events may not just be refined to one city - we are still in early talks about this - but we also see the value of integrating our live events with our digital platforms in future to ensure we are able to continue reaching everyone and bringing the community together. We are also planning to implement some other new and exciting opportunities and activities for our filmmakers, cast and crew down the line- so watch this space!
If you could’ve made any films you’ve screened – which would it be?
That’s such a hard question! Can I choose three? The first is an independent horror-comedy feature directed by Pablo Raybould called 'The Snarling', which was a lot of fun. We had them in for a Q&A one night and then had an impromptu screening of the film afterwards, which everyone had a great time watching and laughing along to! It was a brilliant, fun-packed, low-budget indie film, excellently written and very well cast, shot and directed. I'd love for my first feature to be as good as that, with that ensemble community feel as well.
Then short film-wise I think the legendary 'Wash Club' by Simon Dymond and Lauren Parker, shot by the brilliant Karl Poyzer. I think that film captures Nottingham’s spirit and it’s just brilliantly done, it’s so tightly made, the script, the writing, the acting, the locations, the cinematography, the music, everything was so spot on. You can see why those filmmakers are doing so well and why we from the Midlands will always be so proud of that short. We always refer to it as it’s the type of quality that everyone's sort of aiming for with their short films, I think it did raise the bar in our region.
Finally, I would say 'Ariella' by Them Pesky Kids. We haven't been able to screen this one yet, but Ariella is another fantastic Midlands short! A brilliantly written, pacey thriller which stands as a solid example of spot-on filmmaking.
Check out Nexus on the links below:
Edited for clarity by Esme Johnson.