Memory, joy, accusations and maybe even a little regret mingle along with lust in Cameron Lee Horace’s short The Other Woman. He tells us how he came to make it and how he fell in love with narrative film
I’ve always made short films since I was a little child, writing and directing little videos with my family or stop motion. I later got into documentary and volunteered as a citizen journalist working on local children’s radio and photographing and filming events. It was only after I went to college in 2016 to study a creative media BTEC that I found my passion for narrative cinema. My lecturer put on The Grand Budapest Hotel, he showed me the Blu-ray cover and I was like well it looks terrible. I hadn’t seen anything like that before. But as soon as I watched it, I loved it and totally fell in love with narrative cinema, especially Wes Anderson.
My love of actors and the magic of acting also came from that very moment when I watched Saoirse Ronan for the very first time and was amazed by it all. It was that very moment that I thought, that is what I want to do. I want to be a narrative filmmaker and I want to write and tell stories. I want to get to work with actors and great storytellers. But how do you do that? I am still trying to figure that out now by the way, but I am a little further along in the process now. But I made some very terrible films in college with some friends that we all thought were great. Yeah, I learnt a lot in the process. I went on to study an HND as I am a homebird and was too scared to leave home. I got the chance to do a BA at the same college, too, so I was there for around 5 years. This was during COVID so it made filmmaking a little tricky.
It was always my idea to make my first big short film at uni so I saved up my loan money. I reached out to a lovely author in my extended family and he kindly let me adapt one of his stories. I got in touch with a director from the telly and he said I should write my own script and get some proper actors in. I was just an undergraduate student so I didn’t know that was even open for me to get actors from TV in my film. So I had to get in contact with agents and send out my script, it was a scary process but I learnt a lot.
But I actually went into production on my latest short film The Other Woman then and the release got put off as I graduated and got a proper job for 9 months before I threw in the towel and went back to get my masters at Falmouth. Here I picked back up the short, when we did a shorter edit and regraded the film and we wanted to release it after the pandemic. So it’s only going out to festivals now.
It is not open for public view right now outside of festivals, we have just got back from Ireland where we screened at the Fastnet Film Festival in May 2023 and did a Q/A screening in Leicester at the Phoenix Cinema when we got back. We hope to tour more festivals over the next couple of years.
I always loved taking photos since I was around 8 years old. I always had a camera snapping away. I then went into black and white street photography in my teens and still love capturing still images. But like I say it was when I watched The Grand Budapest Hotel where I fell in love with narrative film and wanted to make my own films. I always wanted to be a documentary filmmaker before that. I went to college with the intention of that. But seeing that film changed my whole plans and career goals to become a writer and director.
Then there was my love of actors. I have always seen actors as the magic of cinema and wanted to tell my own stories and get actors to act them out. There is nothing like standing right there next to an actor when they are performing lines you have written so beautifully. I am blown away by that every time. It is such a privilege to get to witness that.
It is probably a bad move financially to want to be a filmmaker, but my parents have been very supportive and I hope to one day make my dreams a reality.
Well I am 23 now so I am still very young. When I was 19 I made the transition into more professional work. I shot a documentary with a few friends and interviewed them about their experiences being autistic. I am autistic and wanted to get my first proper short as something intrinsic to me. The film got picked up by Together TV channel and broadcast in December of 2019. The film also screened over in Perth Festival in Australia in 2021. I enjoyed it, so I wanted to make another film but this time a narrative one. I helped out assisting a local filmmaker and met a young actor, Joe Snape that I work with now. I like to bring him onto my projects as we are very good friends and we work well together. I shot two short films with him that are now just getting out into the world after finishing their edits and a slower release after COVID.
I shot Living as Leo a short coming of age with an animated CGI dog just before starting The Other Woman. It was a bit of a practice piece for me but I am also hoping it gets to go to some film festivals but I am mainly concentrating on the release of The Other Woman now. I worked with my good friend Joe again on The Other Woman where he plays a young trainee care worker. I was very privileged to get to work with Sophie Colquhoun, she’s such a talented actor and can put herself into anything. She’s mainly done comedy on shows like Plebs but The Other Woman is very heart felt and intense.
I spoke with Sophie a lot before we went to set and discussed the character development and rehearsed a lot. She’s such a great actor, she needed very little prompts from me, she hit it every time. I like to take directing with a very subtle approach. I am very fond of actors and I respect what they bring to a project. So instead of saying what I want from a scene I like to say it’s more about what the character wants and really let the actor steer the scene in the direction they want it to go. We played around with it and I think Sophie has captured such a stunning performance.
I have just finished writing my first feature film that I hope to get into development at some point. So the short film fit into my filmmaking journey as a way to learn about screenwriting. My first drafts of The Other Woman were very bad. I improved them for the casting but I can write much stronger now. I would never write like that any more. I love to write very descriptively now, I have always loved writing stories, I just never knew how to write a script in a proper format back then. I have learnt from my mistakes now.
I have always loved period drama films and the traditional way of telling stories. So my inspiration is grounded in history and bringing back the past. In terms of narrative I am also passionate about writing developed female characters for screen. There are so many talented female actors that are never given the chance to showcase their talents. Just being the pretty girl next door. I want to change that and have something they can dig their teeth into in my films. I am very actor focused as a director.
I work with the cinematographer to craft the visuals on set and the editor extensively in post-production but in rehearsals and on set the actor has my main focus. I find the process so inspiring being right up close to what’s happening. I don’t want to hide away behind the monitor. I want to see what’s going on and interact with the actors. That is what filmmaking is for me. That is what inspires me to do this. Having a strong camera and sound team allowed me to focus as much time as possible with the actors and I am greatful for the trust I had that they could capture what we needed, especially with something as important as sound.
Visually, I would say I like the traditional aesthetic. Not too striking but pleasantly appealing to look at. I have shot the short films in black and white, I think that comes from my love of still photography and images. But I do intend to film my feature in colour if I ever get to make another film. I am heavily inspired by the film Brooklyn (2015). I have watched it so many times it has totally shaped me as the filmmaker I am today. The visuals are what I am striving for in my own practice and John Crowley is a big inspiration for me because he’s so fantastic at what he does. It has become a joke now amongst my friends how much I am inspired by Saoirse Ronan. I have seen most of her films and that has inspired me on how I approach performances on screen. I am also inspired by Francis Lee. His work is groundbreaking for independent cinema and his visual style is so inspiring. Wes Anderson, too, is inspiring for me visually.
We filmed The Other Woman mostly in Cornwall. We booked an Air B&B in Looe and filmed the care home scenes there. We took over the entire outdoor space with the wardrobe, costume and supplies that the owners said that if they knew how many people were going to turn up they would have declined. It was such a small location that the wardrobe rails were outside on the path and the public had to get by around us.
There were also lots of equipment and coffee cups everywhere outside but we cleaned up before we left each day. I am so lucky they gave us permission to film there. We gave them special credits at the end. We also shot some of the care home scenes in my Nan’s house that she used to live in before she moved. And we shot the beach scene in Cornwall too. The other flash back scenes were shot in Leicester.
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