Filmmaker Interview by Chris Olson
Your film, The Massive F*cking Bender, has been selected for the BFI Future Film Festival. Why did you want to be a part of this event?
Well besides the £3 entry fee which seemed like the only festival on FilmFreeway that wasn’t trying to rob me of my lunch money, I have always looked up to the BFI as one of the leading forces of British creativity, so was very excited at the idea of being selected by such a brilliant institution. I also spent a lot of my youth on the Southbank next to the BFI Bar gawking at the trendy film buffs drinking £6 beer, that may have been a factor.
For those who don't know, how would you describe your film?
The Massive F*cking Bender is about a girl who having never had a drop of drink in her eighteen years of existence, decides to go on a bender alone in her bedroom. With her mother away for the weekend, GIRL sets about planning her evening of antics in order to gain some drinking experience before diving headfirst into University life in September.
Why did you want to tell this story?
I originally made The Massive F*cking Bender for the Indoors Project, which was an online film festival showcasing DIY short films that were made during the first nationwide lockdown back in March 2020.
My initial intention was really just to make something that would make people feel a bit of joy during a pretty scary time.
I’m not good at spelling or maths but I know how to make a tit of myself for other people’s amusement. I can remember at the time feeling that everywhere around me people seemed to be on a mission to self-improve. As the world had turned upside down, people’s response was to try and become some sort of superhuman through exercise challenges, juice cleanses, headspace meditation detoxes.
There seemed to be this urgent feeling that people had to come out of this lockdown as a renewed and improved version of themselves, as if whatever they were in this moment wasn’t good enough.
There was something both sad, but also quite hilarious about it, everyone manically charging around Richmond Park with their Huel and Harry Styles Calm podcast. This nationwide anxiety is what I wanted to put into TMFB, the comic absurdity of somebody desperately attempting to change who they are when their world has been turned upside down, when really all they need is a big hug and the knowledge that they are good enough.
What are you particularly proud of with this film?
Self-indulgently I am really proud of the reception of the film. I think people seemed to really relate to TMFB because at its heart it’s a story about isolation and loneliness, which is something everyone has had to experience this year. I’m also really proud that I managed to make something which at points is UTTERLY stupid. Like most 23-year-olds, I can spend a lot of time worrying about how I come across, what I look like, what people will think of me, so it was extremely liberating to make a film where I spend 90% of it in my pyjamas, or otherwise dressed up as a chain-smoking, bridge-playing checkout lady from suburbia. I highly recommend it.
What were the challenges getting it made and/or getting it out there?
Friends of mine kept sending me a clip from Little Britain that goes “ …lovely so they want me to be in it, write the theme tune, sing the theme tune…” which is kind of an extended metaphor for what it felt like making TMFB.
I was running around my house like a nutter trying to gather up all the desk lamps and coloured plastic folders I could get my hands on; then wrestling with my non-existent auto-focus, and in the evenings realising my Premier membership had expired, so ending up googling “how to make things not look iMovie on iMovie”.
In the end, I did receive help from my little brother after nearly burning the house down with a flaming post-it-note.
When and where can people see your film?
You can catch The Massive F*cking Bender on the BFI Player (18th-21st February), and after that on my Vimeo page (Laura Marcus)
What's next for you after the festival?
I’m looking to make a project that has a budget higher than £8.99, I feel that’s a pretty achievable goal. I’ve got some cool projects in the works and am always looking for collaborators who are happy to make stuff that is a touch on the wacky side, so watch this space!