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Filmmaker Interview with Amy Brandis and Nadia Lamin

Updated: May 7, 2021

Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson

We recently reviewed Screw the Pooch, a short film written and directed by Amy Brandis (read our review here).

Synopsis: When Kay's mother dies, Death sticks around for some unfinished business, and the two become unlikely roommates.

I caught up with Brandis and lead actor Nadia Lamin...

Amy Landis and Nadia Lamin

How did your short film, Screw the Pooch, come about?

Amy: "Screw the Pooch" was made in the midst of a challenging period for the film industry. It is a reaction and an attempt at some form of respite from the pandemic that changed our lives forever. A time of tragedy, fleeting comedy and loss.

Nadia: Well this short was solely birthed by Amy, I'm just so honoured she thought of me and asked me to be part of it.

Why did you want to tell this story?

Amy: Kay’s journey is one of tragedy and comedy, all mixed up in the mundane. I was drawn to wanting to tell a story that to me felt both bizarrely specific and strange, but somehow universal at the same time. I’m in my twenties, and it’s a time when you experience loss more than you have before, and our relationship to it is complicated and varied and head-bangingly chaotic. I wanted to put that relationship in a strange little story.

Nadia: The minute I read this script, I knew it was being told from the heart. Anything that holds a lot of heart and soul will be a project I want to tell and be part of.

Over the past year, the whole world has lost someone or experienced the ‘fear to lose’ someone close to them. It’s the dance with death that we all hope to not come across although it is certainly inevitable. This story is most certainly a dance.

What drew you to the role Nadia?

Nadia: I think the relationship that Kay had with ‘Death’. The script was incredibly poignant and it made me laugh, as well as feel deep sorrow. I loved how it went from her being confused and scornful towards death being there, but when she needs him the most or accepts that she needs him, she searches for him. I loved that contrast and was very eager to play with that.

Nadia Lamin on set
Nadia Lamin on set

What were your influences (if any) when making this film?

Amy: Martin McDonagh and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are two of my favourite writers. Not only do they know how to weave a wonderful plot, but they balance the tragedy and comedy of ordinary people’s lives on their knife edge. I love that.

What have been the challenges getting this film made and out there to audiences?

Amy: A fairly major global pandemic was just a tad disruptive to production (!) Our crew was small because we wanted to create a bubble for the duration of the shoot. Our funds were very limited anyway, this being a part crowd-funded and part self-financed production. But with the support of the local Oxfordshire community who pulled together to create a raffle to help our fundraising, and the tireless commitment of the production team, we pulled it off.

Nadia: I think with any independent short film there are always challenges with funding and also time, not to mentioned we filmed in the middle of the pandemic! So there were a lot of safety measures to adhere to. But the challenges make it, add to the journey and also make you think outside the box!

Why do you both make films?

Amy: Pure joy. Frustrating labour-intensive joy. I’m a screenwriter first and foremost, and it’s an agonizing but addictive process telling stories in a visual format. As the writer, and even the director, you can only contribute a certain amount to the storytelling, because there are so many other contributors. The actors, the DOP, the composers, the editors, the list goes on. It is intensely collaborative storytelling, like sitting around a campfire.

Nadia: I make films because I love to tell stories, I love to read & watch stories and I think it's an integral part of living, we do it every day. It's as simple as that, ha!

What are you both working on next?

Amy: I have just finished a feature film script which I’m looking forward to shopping around. It’s the story of an older woman reclaiming her power once more by searching for her lost identity. I’m excited to share it. I’m also looking forward to shooting another short with my brother later this year.

Nadia: I'm currently working on a few little projects that I am co-producing, nothing finalised yet but they're both short films.

I am also working on another project, scheduled to shoot in summer time which is exciting.

And I have a film coming out this year called Giddy Stratospheres which is a feature film set around the indie music scene in the 2000s, so, very excited for the world to see it.

What would you say if you were a dolphin?

Amy: Bit sombre, but, please stop chucking so much plastic in the sea, I’m choking.

Nadia: Because I live in the sea, does that mean I can't go to bed?


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