Graduate nominated for 3 awards at BFI Future Film Festival
17 February 2022
I think creating a musical that totally flipped people's expectations was when I got really excited about the idea though, which really just came from this idea of trying to create a film that really reflected being Gen Z.
BA(Hons) Television graduate Will Wightman been shortlisted at this year’s BFI Future Film Festival in the Best Film, Best Director and Best New Talent categories for his musical comedy Heart Failure.
The BFI Future Film Festival is the UK’s largest festival for young, emerging filmmakers. The festival line-up features panels, masterclasses, workshops, interviews with filmmakers and screenings of student films across the four-day event.
We were incredibly proud to hear that BA(Hons) Television graduate Will Wightman has been shortlisted for Best Film, Best Actor and Best New Talent at this year’s awards, for his musical comedy Heart Failure.
Heart Failure will have its world premiere at the festival, which begins today. The awards ceremony will close the event on February 20, with Will and his team hopeful of adding further gloss to a film that has already secured Best National Student Film and Best Editing at the Nahemi National Student Film Awards.
We recently caught up with Will, who is looking to turn his audiences’ expectations of musicals upside down with an EDM (Electronic Dance Music) soundtrack that would be just as at home in a club as it would in the cinema.
Can you give a quick synopsis of the film?
Heart Failure is the first EDM musical. It follows Frank and his relationship with Lizzie. From the one-night stand where they meet to the day she tells him she loves him; from the week she ignores his texts to the moment she says they need to talk. We’ve all been there. Breakups are the worst.
What inspired you to make Heart Failure?
As well as a filmmaker, I've always been massively into my music and I've always been really interested in the power of music in film. We've written all the soundtracks for our films up until now, so Heart Failure was initially just an extension of that. I think creating a musical that totally flipped people's expectations was when I got really excited about the idea though, which really just came from this idea of trying to create a film that really reflected being Gen Z.
What challenges did you have to overcome to make the film?
Making a film is always a rollercoaster but making a film in a pandemic is a challenge I hope I'll never have to face again. We had to shoot the whole thing socially distanced with only six of us on set at a time. The film has got a lot of intimacy in it as well, so for scenes like the sex scene we had to film with a mannequin. What can I say, strange times call for strange solutions!
How did the skills that you learnt from your Television degree help you with this project?
With the pandemic, academic learning had to shift in direction a bit, so the best things I got from my course came from some surprising places in the end. Of course, Falmouth's great technical facilities were hugely helpful, even if they were limited because of restrictions. We also had some great industry talks and mentoring that I found hugely inspiring and useful.
More than anything though, I think all the creative relationships I formed with people on my course made the biggest difference. We had a super talented, dedicated group of people on this team and I'm so grateful to all of them for all their help, as well as the University for providing a safe space for us to collaborate.
You mention that perhaps the most important thing about the film is to give your generation a voice that people will listen to and understand. How do you think people typically view millennials, and what are they missing out on?
I cannot stand ‘snowflake generation’ stereotypes that surround millennials and Gen Z. I think we live in completely ridiculous times and young people put up with a lot of stuff that just wasn't conceivable 20 years ago.
I think we probably are a sensitive generation but in a way that should be celebrated. It's so frustrating to not be listened to. Especially when so much of what is happening in the world right now disproportionality affects young people. Of course we're going to care more; this is our world now!