By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2018 09:00AM
Midlands Interview - Deborah Haywood
Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales speaks to local filmmaker Deborah Haywood about her new film Pin Cushion, bullying and the brave decision to shoot back at the local school she grew up in.
Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Deborah. Thanks for agreeing to speak to us today. Please can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Deborah Haywood: Hiya. Well, my name is Deborah Haywood and I’m from Swadlincote. I’ve made five short films and have recently complete my first feature film, Pin Cushion.
MMM: And how long have you worked in the film industry?
DH: For ten years. I always wanted to write and I was writing scripts and wanted to read British ones and so I asked producer Sally Hibbin at Parallax (who was once Ken Loach’s producer) for a job as a script reader. To get the (unpaid) job she gave me two scripts and asked me to work out which one was on the rejection pile, and which one was in development. I had to write notes for both of them and luckily I picked the correct one that was in development and Sally liked the notes so much she asked me to become the script editor on it. The script was by the very talented actor and writer Tracy Brabin. Who is now, of course, Labour MP for Batley and Spen!
MMM: That's a great story. So what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?
DH: As a writer, I think it’s been learning how to respond to notes. How to progress the script and story so that it satisfies the reader/audience while still keeping my original intention and vision.
MMM: Your new film is Pin Cushion. Can you tell our readers a bit about it and how it came about?
DH: It’s a dark fairy tale love story between an oddball Mother and Daughter and how their moving to a new town affects their relationship. I first wrote the treatment in 2008 and it’s been through various different lives and dark alleys and at times (a lot of the time actually) I never believed it would get made. I’m really glad I persisted.
MMM: And how did you come to cast leads Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan?
DH: Kharmel Cochrane and her team found Lily and I picked her out of a massive amount of videos they sent me. They had worked with her before for a pop video. I told them I was looking for someone who seemed untouched by modern life, and Lily felt like that in both her essence and her unusual looks. She looked like a pretty prawn or a beautiful rare salmon who had never seen dry land. So I met her and I fell in love! I think Gavin got the script to Joanna? Then Kharmel fixed up a meeting? I’m not exactly sure!
There was so much happening and often these things just magically happen and I’m not always privy to the ins and outs! All I know is we went up to Manchester to meet Joanna on her day off because she was shooting No Offence. And we talked and talked and I instinctively knew that if Joanna said yes then she would take such good care of Lyn. And she did. They both did. I think both Lily and Joanna cared for Iona and Lyn a great deal and that shows on screen and in their wonderfully sensitive performances.
MMM: That sounds great that such a bond was made between the cast. But how did you make the decision to film in the Midlands?
DH: Yes, I’m from Swad! (Swadlincote). When I’m writing I somehow always picture everything set there because I know it all so well. I was a bit nervous about shooting a film in my home town in case everyone thought I thought I was ‘it.’ But everyone was really welcoming and we actually shot in my old school, Pingle, which turned out to be amazing. I’m so glad we shot it there because it felt more authentic for me and I think I’d have felt insecure shooting such a personal story in a place that I didn’t know like the back of my hand.
MMM: That must have been like going back to the past! And how much of your other own experiences were included in Pin Cushion?
DH: Well, I was bullied at school and I suffered as an adult because of it. I still do, sometimes. It isn’t really physically autobiographical, it’s more like emotionally autobiographical. I think I definitely drew from people I’ve known when I first started writing the characters. But then they transformed into their own characters the more I developed the script.
MMM: What films or filmmakers inspire you? Did that influence any creative decisions in Pin Cushion?
DH: So many! The films that inspired Pin Cushion include Sweetie, by Jane Campion. Carrie, by Brian de Palma, Heavenly Creatures by Peter Jackson. Welcome to the Doll’s House by Todd Solondz. I also love David Lynch and the Hungarian novelist Agota Kristop inspired me. I also admire and am inspired by Lynne Ramsay and Sarah Polley and Jane Campion and Cate Shortland.
MMM: And where can people see Pin Cushion?
DH: It’s getting a release nationwide in select cinemas from July 13th, with previews set up in some cinemas, along with a tour from Bird’s Eye View, as part of their Reclaim The Frame campaign.
MMM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?
I’m just starting to write a postnatal depression horror called SQUARK, and a kind of comedy in the tone of my short film SIS, that is also a musical!
Pin Cushion will be released in select cinemas across the UK from Friday 13th July
Check out http://pincushionfilm.co.uk/ – for more information and cinema listing details.