Luke Frsh (Luke Fannin) sparks when he talks about his new film Space(s). In the process, he sets off some electronic fireworks during our Zoom chat. It’s unintentional, but fitting. It’s a celebration. And they reflect the twinkle in his eyes.
Space(s), to be premiered at Two Short Nights, is a short film commission from the Exeter Phoenix. But it’s a longer format directorial debut for Luke. It’s his first premiere, and the first time he’ll be sharing the film with an audience.
“I’m not sure what to expect,” says Luke. “I don’t know how that is meant to feel but it’s going to be a cool experience.”
The experience might also feel a little daunting. Space(s) is a personal film. Luke has a mixed-race heritage, and the film covers the spaces he has navigated, inhabited and created.
“It comes from me growing up in a city environment, but also I was raised by a white family,” he says. “I’ve always been exposed to camping and going to different areas of the south of Ireland and southern England – areas that are quite obviously underrepresented in many ways.”
Another space he has entered is that of the media industry. His family has no connection to it, and Luke is self-taught.
And the film takes in Luke’s visit to Jamaica. It made an impact on him, because of the way the people there interacted with their environment.
“They are people of the land,” he says. “They live with and have natural resources. It spoke more about the phrase ‘green open spaces’.”
Space(s) is a film that is about touching your roots and where you come from as a person.
For this longer short film, Luke chose to hand the cinematography to a close friend.
“I love cinematography and I also love directing,” he says. “But I knew if I wanted the best for my film, I couldn’t do everything. I knew that I needed a team of people that I trusted. Then I could hone in on getting the story across.”
Luke’s filmmaking has definitely developed, and so have those soft skills that are so important.
“I used to think I wasn’t very good at small talk,” he chuckles. That awkwardness and overthinking has slipped away. “I’ve grown up and become an adult, per se, by speaking to so many different people and being able to relate to and manage different people.”
It helped build up the confidence of his team and bring out their skills.
Luke mentions speaking to the film’s lead, Ryan. “Meeting up with him and then seeing him in his element and getting in his groove and build in confidence, that was nice to see. Watching from behind the camera, I thought this is great.” It was inhabiting a role and the way that Ryan created the body language of the character that excited the director.
That comfortable creative space was helped by the other relationships Luke had with cast and crew, some of whom had been on that creative, filmmaking journey with him.
For the whole process, Luke says: “It’s given me like a bit of a fire in my belly to write and to create something else and also play around with concepts. So I think more of the same. And to push Space(s) as far as it can and just keep moving.”
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