Tessa Muskett is committed to telling female stories. For A Girl Alone, which is screening at the Cornwall Film Festival, that means constantly thwarted romantic expectations in Saltash. We couldn’t wait to find out how she did that and her film sensibilities
D&CFilm: A Girl Alone is described as ‘a young woman pursues a memory whilst imagining other realities’. Is there any more you can tell us about the story?
Tessa Muskett: I really wanted to tell a simple story that was more about ideas and mood than action. I wanted to capture the worldview of a young woman who always has romantic expectations that are constantly being thwarted.
Thwarted romantic expectations
With this film in particular I wanted to shoot everything within walking distance of my house, making the most of Saltash, the town I was living in at the time.
D&CFilm: Are there common themes and issues that run through your films and do you use any techniques to underline them?
Committed to telling female stories
Tessa Muskett: I am committed to telling female stories. In each film, I use all of the technical aspects together in the ways I think best for the individual project.
In A Girl Alone, I focused on juxtaposing a dreamy mood with mundane surrounds. I was my own cinematographer and was really just practicing with the equipment. The costume and overall approach are unashamedly girly.
D&CFilm: For A Girl Alone you worked with film composer Anisha Thomas, who you also worked with on The Taint. How important for you is the score?
Tessa Muskett: The score is essential in creating mood and helping guide the viewer but I’m always wary of it saying too much. Anisha is very talented and I’m so glad to have met her. She always understands what I am trying to capture.
D&CFilm: Do you have a regular team of people you work with?
We are all on our own journeys
Tessa Muskett: I have made films in so many different locations that I generally try to work with people who are local to the area we’re shooting in. Seeing the work of my former collaborators always inspires me as we are all on our own journeys and I hope to work with many of them again.
D&CFilm: What are you working on next and where can we find out more about your films?
Tessa Muskett: I’ve almost finished editing an experimental short, which was inspired by the imagery from feminine perfume ads. The video follows a young man who is filmed and presented in the way that women usually are.
You can see my early work on my vimeo: https://vimeo.com/tessamuskett and catch A Girl Alone at Cornwall Film Festival on the Saturday 10 November.
D&CFilm: Thank you Tessa!
A Girl Alone is at The Poly on November 10 as part of the Cornwall Film Festival. Get your tickets!