A short film by Grace Savage and Jade Anouka, created entirely during lockdown
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
Whilst the majority of us have been busy perfecting our baking skills and binge watching everything on Netflix, real life partners Grace Savage and Jade Anouka have been busy creating a short film called Her & Her.
Commissioned by the BBC, Her & Her was shot entirely on an iPhone, written and directed by Jade Anouka, with music written and performed by Grace Savage. Oh, and they also act in it, in case that wasn’t enough on their plates already.
The story follows a couple who have been seeing each other for a few months and are very much in love. But they have just moved into a small one bedroom flat with a dog. Suddenly the realities of their differences come to full view. One uses poetry and the other music to tell their stories.
We follow them on their journey seeing just how their differences can compliment each other, what challenges they will need to overcome and how honest conversation and carefree dancing will always win in the end. Check out what the talented pair had to say to DIVA about Her & Her below.
DIVA: Where did you get the idea for your short film Her & Her?
Grace – The initial thing was we saw that there was some funding available to create a project. We’d just gone in to lockdown and as two self employed artists who’d just lost a lot of work, we thought, why not go for it.
Jade – I didn’t need to look far, I was stuck in a small flat with Grace and our dog! We’d been chatting to friends about how they were getting on with lockdown, and people at different stages of a relationship choosing wether or not to move in and do lockdown together. Also, I already had a poem in response to the old “where are you from?” question and some writings around loving the countryside but not feeling welcome there. I used these and wrote around it to create the script.
Where did you draw inspiration from?
G – A lot of Jades writing in this feels inspired by real conversations we’ve had. I’m a country girl, Jade’s a Londoner. We often talk about the differences in our upbringings and how that affects our futures.
J – Yeah. I definitely start from the truth and expand.
Tell us about the process of filming during lockdown?
J – I spent a lot of time in prep YouTubing filming techniques, camera angles, gadgets, how to light, how to do a storyboard, everything. It was a a lot!
G – You’ve been on film sets before so you had an idea of how things go, but this was you on your own doing the job of 20 people. And having to direct me on top of all that! Poor you.
How long did it take to put together?
J – I wrote it pretty quickly, within a week, then once we had the script Grace began work on creating all the original music. With the help of my good friend Lizzie Brown, (who just happens to be a film producer) we got the storyboard and shooting schedule done. We then did five days of filming and wrapped at 11.59pm on 11 June, seeing in my birthday as we packed down with a bottle of champers!
G – The last week was a manic push with a deadline pressure from the BBC, I had to finalise the music, we had to get a picture lock and we needed to send it off for mixing. Plus lots of technical requirements we had to get right.
How did you find working together on a project?
G – We’ve worked together before; Jade’s directed a couple of my music videos.
J – I had a poetry gig at the Roundhouse Last Word Festival a couple years ago and Grace performed all the music live with me.
G – This was the most collaborative thing we’ve done and being in lockdown together it could’ve been a recipe for disaster but actually it was really fun!
How do each of your different mediums compliment one another?
J – As a poet I find rhythms in words and I’m always keen to put that to Graces beatboxing. I feel her music can draw you in, and hopefully my words can keep you there.
G – I find Jade to be very intuitive when it comes to putting visuals to my sounds. They’d often be times when Jade couldn’t articulate in musical jargon what she wanted, but she’s very good at translating, the feeling or vibe of something in another way.
How much of Her & Her is based on your real life experiences?
J – The script comes from a place of truth. But I do feel like we are playing characters based on us rather than playing ourselves.
G – I remember one evening we went through and wrote down all the differences in our upbringings and then looked at how that has manifested in adult life.
Do you think it reflects your own experiences of lockdown?
J – Not particularly. The couple in the film are brand new and we are not that.
G – I mean there have been times when we’ve got pissed in the flat and danced around like idiots in the early days on lockdown.
J – Lockdown has made us have more in depth conversations around race and our place in the world.
What were your highlights / lowlights of your time in lockdown?
G – Highlight: making the film. I feel so fortunate to be able to create and have something positive to look back on to remember this time.
J – I would agree. Lowlight would be getting confirmation that my debut play, HEART wouldn’t be going ahead.
What do you hope might be a silver lining from this situation for musicians/artists/creatives, if any?
J – I hope that we will all use this opportunity to start afresh. To look at the structures in place that discriminate and work to fix them. To make art accessible for all.
G – Finding innovative ways of collaborating online. I’ve started a Patreon and have learned the value of building deeper connections with my audience.
J – I’ve done a lot of writing, I’m hoping a lot of creatives have been brewing ideas, I wanna see them get a chance to shine.
Can you see yourselves doing more projects like this together in the future?
G – Of course. It’s so nice to work with someone who understands you fully.
J – Yeah, having that shorthand is great. And with our different specialties it means we know when to let the other lead.
G – I feel the work we create is honest and raw and unique I’d love to do more of it.
J – What she said.