Safekeeping is a story about a relationship between a young brother and sister. We caught up with writer director David Yorke ahead of the film’s screening at the English Riviera Film Festival to talk about inspiration, location, and passion for film
D&CFilm: Tell us about Safekeeping. What’s the story and what attracted you to turn it into a short?
David Yorke: Safekeeping is a story about a girl (Jessica) trying to protect her younger brother (Charlie) and the only way she can do that is for them to runaway from home, but all is not as it seems. As they embark on this new journey it becomes clear that she has another agenda.
I had written a version of this script about 5 years ago for a competition, but I was unsuccessful, so I left it. But one day I was talking to my friend and DOP and we were both creatively unfulfilled and wanted to make a short film. So I dug the script out and gave it a rewrite and here we are.
D&CFilm: How did the Safekeeping come together – finding cast, locations and how long did the shoot take?
David Yorke: As with almost all of my projects I funded this myself, so the process was very challenging. Everyone that came on board worked for expenses only. I was also lucky because most of the crew I had worked with before and they were happy to help.
Finding the cast was very difficult, but a friend of mine who also works in the film industry is part of a company called ‘Act 2 Cam‘ and she shared my idea with her group and I began auditioning. I owe a lot to her as we managed to secure a really strong cast.
The first location in Cheltenham was easy. My DOP lives in that area and we took a day to scout and we found exactly what we were looking for. I also changed parts of my script to fit the location we found, which made the scenes even stronger. The other location was tricky as I originally wanted a tower block, but it was too expensive, so I pulled in another favour and my friend kindly lent me his house to shoot in. The shoot in total was 3 days, 2 days in Cheltenham and 1 day in Birmingham.
D&CFilm: You’ve spoken about a need and desire to film things – what drives your filmmaking zeal?
David Yorke: Ever since I was 11 years of age I was making films using my old camera so I’m lucky to have known what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a child. I’m still on this long journey and have no intention of giving up.
D&CFilm: This may be a bit similar, but as a creative powerhouse, how do you keep the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to short film? And although your shorts are very different is there a certain style, or themes that are consistent?
David Yorke: Making films is hard, making films with no budget is even harder, but I love it. I think as long as I have stories to tell I will continue to tell them, so I would say my passion gives me the energy and drive I need to create.
I’m often drawn to character driven pieces and I tend to use experiences from my own life or the people I know. I tend to focus on relationships in my films, whether that be romantic, friendship or about family. I also like letting my films breath, so they are usually slow paced and shot on tight lenses to make the audience feel part of their journey.
D&CFilm: What inspires your creative process: songs, words, images – is it different for each project?
David Yorke: Everyday life inspires me, so people watching, listening to music, socializing, running etc, I rarely switch off. Every project is different so if it’s a horror for example, I will watch scary movies, listen to horror soundtracks and play horror themed computer games.
D&CFilm: There’s one question we always tend to ask, and that’s what do you see the role of the artist / filmmaker in society?
David Yorke: This is hard to answer as I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I always made my films to entertain people, they were personal, but I keep seeing more and more shorts/features with strong messages and that have a real focus on current topics, which is obviously very important because film can make a difference and make you aware of subjects and issues you knew little about.
But I’m happy at the moment making small intimate pieces that I have written, having said that I’m also open to explore new ideas and shine a light on more current social issues.
D&CFilm: What’s your background and what drew you to film?
David Yorke: My mom and I would watch a lot of film and TV shows growing up and I just became obsessed. I started making films from the age of 11 and then eventually studied media and film at college and university.
D&CFilm: One of the nuts we’re trying to crack is finding and keeping an audience. How difficult is that and what’s your experience of film festivals or other channels?
David Yorke: To be honest I don’t have the answer, there are so many film festivals, websites and platforms where your work can find an audience, but It’s very competitive. I have spent a lot of money submitting to festivals and many festivals reject your film and do not offer feedback, so that can leave you a little disappointed and it doesn’t really help you going forward on the next project. Having said that, I have attended some really nice festivals, met great people and received very kind words about my films and that part is very rewarding.
D&CFilm: Cheers David!
You can follow more of David Yorke’s work and see his showreel on his site.
The Monthly Film Festival gave Safekeeping a film of the month award, saying: “‘Safekeeping’ is an intense and problematic, cruel and touching, poetic and visceral short film, which offers us the paradoxical x-ray of the human soul for which love and devotion break the conventional boundaries between good and evil.”
Safekeeping is at the English Riviera Film Festival on
Saturday, October 12 as part of the Finalist Screening.
For times and tickets, go to the ERFF site.