Tag Archives: film

Journey to divorce


Getting married is oft romanticised as the ultimate goal of a relationship/dating. Films, TV series often end with the couple getting hitched, especially animated films of the disney variety tend to end with marriage and a promise of happily ever after and we rarely ever see this magical ‘ever after’.
Back in 2003, I remember watching a film titled ‘Chalte Chalte’, the first half revolves around the usual tropes of boy meets girl, they get off to a rocky start but gradually become friends and fall in love, there’s a love triangle and family resistance but they surmount those obstacles and get married. I thought it was romantic, the songs were good and the humour spot on. I also though the film was over but turns out we were only halfway through and it surprised me as I was thinking well they’re married so they’re gonna be happy, all good, all sorted but when I realised they were going to show ‘marital problems’, I distinctly remember feeling my heart sink because subconsciously I didn’t want to have this idyllic picture ruined but was also morbidly curious as to which direction they would take this in.
The main characters go through financial problems, family relationship breakdown and slowly drift apart. This crushed me, I couldn’t comprehend what was happening.
Bear in mind that I hadn’t exactly been around healthy examples of marriage while growing up, my parents got close to divorce multiple times and were unhappy, other wedded couples in my immediate family had more than their fair share of trials. So why was I so surprised at seeing Shah Rukh Khan and Rani Mukherjee going through the same issues?
In spite of all the bad that I had seen in real life, romantic comedies gave me hope and built this idea that if you found the right person, you’d be alright, you’d always be smiling and happy and you’d sing and dance around the house together. Until you had kids that is…THEN your kids would sing and dance with you and repeat the cycle!
That film gave me pause, I related it back to my parents’ situation then brushed it aside. Fast forward a year, I watched Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam(which actually came out 2 years earlier but I was a poor student in London so I only caught it when a friend lent me the DVD, or was it VCD still then?!)

 Now this plot started with a similar premise, the couple get married but the husband doubts whether his wife is just being a dutiful wife rather than actually being in love with him and her friendship with a male friend adds to the drama and self doubt. Those feelings of lack of self worth, doubt, needing constant reassurance really hit home for me. Having had an ‘unstable’ childhood due to a traumatic event at age 8/9 and having a controlling father as my primary male role model hadn’t actually turned me into him but instead made me feel unvalidated and unworthy on many occasions, the surrounding patriarchal society also had a lot to do with that. I related more to the women around me who were at the whim of their partners and has to ask for permission to go outside than I did to the men, who had money, resources, flash cars, seemingly owning the world and the women in it.
I examined my own life and relationships and noted a disturbing truth, as much as I rejected the controlling behaviour that I had seen, my lack of self worth made me seek validation in others and that constant need turned into somewhat demanding behaviour towards people I was in a relationship with, I would need a text or a call regularly, I would ask for reassurance, confirmation of their feelings regularly. I saw it as something that was essential in the relationship, that need to be told and reminded that I meant something to someone, that I mattered.
It took me nearly a decade to work through this(I’ll probably delve into that decade in another post, should there be an apetite for it), counselling, breakups, health scares, depression, a lot happened on my way to discovering who I was when I didn’t have anyone with me. Who am I without my friends, partners, family? I remember the moments where I felt whole for the first time since childhood. I was in the pre-production phase of a short film, was still refining the script and getting a crew/cast together, work was especially heavy during that period, lots of unpaid overtime. I had just saved up enough to help my parents buy a house and get out of the rental market. I got home after a production meeting, having found my crew, met a huge deadline at work and made the bank transfer which brought me back to zero savings and I remember feeling…good. It was alien to me at first, I had so many responsibilities, people counting on me, goals I wanted to achieve, classes I had signed up but for the first time, I didn’t feel overwhelmed, I looked at it all and thought to myself ‘I’ll only do this if I want to, not because I have to, I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do or be anyone I don’t want to be’. I allowed myself to stop feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders and to just let it all go, to care less about what was expected of me by others but more about what was healthy for me.
I met someone creative, active, kind and joyful. I did not seek her validation, she just gave me her support and was my biggest fan as I was her’s. We dated, were in a relationship, moved in together and were married not long after. Armed with the knowledge of what we’d seen around us growing up and not wanting to repeat the mistakes we had witnessed, We talked at length about what we each wanted from a life partner and dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s, agreed the no no’s and we compromised. 2 years later we got separated while expecting our first child, no amount of reading or relationship counselling could repair the rift between us. I was the first to say it out loud, its over, I cried. It seemed like life itself was ending, we wouldn’t get a house together, build a tree house for our children, get a scooter and go for picnics at the park on sundays, have quickies before going out on fridays, travel the world hand in hand while we grow old.
Now I could say that it was the upcoming birth of my child that got me through it but it would only be partially true. What got me through was the memory of that moment where I felt…good. Knowing that I felt that way once without anyone, and as dependant as I’d become on my life partner during our time together, I would be ok without her and she would also still thrive without me. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an instant feeling of ‘yay i’m gonna be alright’, it took time, self reflection and mindfullness, we each had to work through our feelings of anger, abandonment, betrayal and pain, we mourned the relationship but we continued living for our own sakes and our child’s.
Divorce does leave you dissapointed and struggling to reconcile things for a while. Thinking of a life beyond the next 24 hours was impossible for a long time. But slowly that feeling of hope came back, armed with more life experience, I refused to be brought down and made even more cynical, I choose to love life again with all its wrinkles.

Unnecessary metaphor: Two people sow a seed in the Soil, both must water the plant and keep it protected from outside conditions for it to grow and blossom. If it gets too much water but not enough sun, it may well wither…

Hoo boy! Its been a while.


_20160816_114806.JPGWhere to begin? Its been practically two years since my last post. I’ve clearly been busy with personal and professional ‘things’. I joined a meetup group called lets make a scene last year and participated in a number of fun short films, I even got to act in a couple of them, granted I was typecast as ‘Thug #1’ but I liked it and made plenty of friends along the way. Some have gone on to make some amazing shorts, others realised that filmmaking wasn’t for them. We all got something out of it. Thank you Mandana for running a tight ship!

Set1The group was on hiatus for a short while but has now started back up with a new leader at the helm, I haven’t attended any sessions yet but I hope to do so soon. You can check out the group here: http://www.meetup.com/LetsMakeASceneLondon/


Or have a look at our past films on vimeo: https://vimeo.com/groups/266496/videos/136675324

I also had a small part in a Tinder related short from the West London Film Group, it felt good to act again. I produced a short comedy written by Chris Waller: Counsellor(s) a few weeks back which is now in the editing stage (set photos embedded). I cannot wait to share that one with the world, Chris is very talented and I look forward to reading his future scripts. The team got along very well and we all hope to work together again soon. Thank you Chris, Richard, Ranmal, Tugba, Ed & Ed for a great shoot!

A la prochaine, les amies…

Not a film review: Hitchcock


OdinthumbI wouldn’t call this a film review, rather a random collection of  thoughts on a film I saw over two months ago. I hope to write more of these though, if I feel they’re any good.

I haven’t seen silence of the Lambs, in fact the only film I’ve seen Anthony Hopkins in is Thor. I’d heard of his legendary acting chops but hadn’t seen him in action. As for Helen Mirren, I’d seen RED, National Treasure, heard samples of her voice work but nothing of substance. I’d like to think that my being unfamiliar with the actors’ past performances gave me the ability to enjoy the film without thinking of them as actors but rather as the characters they portrayed.

Come to think of it, I haven’t actually seen Psycho, which is the backdrop on which this story is played out. We’re introduced to Hitchcock unceremoniously as he is coming down from the high of his latest release North by Northwest. He seems in equal parts a bumbling fool, an intellectual and a mischievous child.

I found myself distracted by the details put into the sets and costumes of the golden era of film. Studios were at the forefront of the economy, raking in the cash and creating jobs but film was still a risky business and studios rarely took chances even back then.

Hitchcock and Vera appear to live a nice cushty life in their mansion but we get a sense of unease in the marriage as Vera appears to be quietly suffering in the background but of what? The film misdirects us constantly when it comes to Vera, showing her as alternating between the stand that hitchcock constantly leans on to keep him going and as an adventurous free spirit who is always only a moment away from packing her bags and leaving for good.

Helen Mirren manages to convince us that Vera was as multi-faceted as her husband, and in a way, she was much Hitchcock-Helen-Mirren-Alma-Revillemore ‘real’ than the larger than life Hitchcock character. Vera was unwavering in her support for her husband but he was always too busy fussing over his leading ladies, fighting the censors, bargaining with studio execs to ever notice how essential Vera was to his accomplishments.

Hitchcock, ever stubborn, takes on the studio system when they refuse to finance psycho, he uses his mansion (re-mortgage or some other term that I don’t understand) to finance the film and he still manages to spend time ogling at buxom blondes. All the while noticing that his wife is drifting but he still chooses to focus on his film.

This is a biophical story after all therefore the audience wouldn’t be faulted for expecting a dull tale but the filmmaker manages to make the private side of the protagonist’s life just as exciting and thrilling as the bombastic scenes set on a film set (pun not intended) or within production/censorship offices. There are a few wink & nod moments but they’re done amusingly enough so as not to induce cringing.

Watching this made me want to go and purchase a Hitchcock boxset to see what all the fuss is about when it comes to his films.

Verdict: Watch it in cinemas if you’re into any aspect of filmmaking (acting/directing/writing/producing), otherwise rent it.


I’ve got mail!



          A month ago I posted yet another ad on Mandy.com for a 2d animator, I didn’t have much hope as previous ads hadn’t generated any replies at all. You can imagine my surprise when I received 20+ replies to this ad. 20+ Applications to become PhatFyterz’s(?) 2D animator, that’s what I call a result. This weekend I will be going through the various showreels on vimeo and youtube and selecting a few for an informal chat.

Although I am pleased by the popularity of the ad, it is also concerning that so many of the applicants have around a decade of experience in the industry and are still struggling to find work. I suppose with the pervasiveness of visual media these days, a lot more people are interested in getting into that industry, demand for animators is short but supply is very high. I will be ’employing’ one of the guys/gals at no fee as it is a not for profit project at this point.

However, after seeing so many experienced artists out of work, it has renewed my interest in turning this project into a commercially viable one in the near future so that I can actually employ one of these people without the air quotes. What’s also cool is that the artists are from all over the place, some in London, Birmingham, Ireland, Spain and even Georgia! I didn’t realise mandy.com was so commonly used.

I look forward to watching your work and speaking to you all very soon!


Creative Collaboration?


I recently sat down with Goolshun Belut, one of the founders of the Old Mauritia facebook community page. We were shooting ideas back and forth regarding the variety of posts on the Old Mauritia page.

I felt that it needed more multimedia content to compound the amount of news links that were being posted. My favorite idea to come out of this discussion was that of producing short videos to hype up the community page. Creating a bunch of memes inspired by mauritian culture was also a strong contender.

Incidentally, two, as yet, unnamed members of Old Mauritia produced a short vidéo titled ‘Bus Beaters’. The latter is a transliteration of the ‘Battere Bis’ expression used in Mauritian Creole to signify ‘scroungers’.

They had unintentionally amalgamated the video and meme idea. Here it is:

Right,  so how do you follow that up? I suppose you could attend a Sega Festival and then sing (shout) at the top of your lungs: http://en-gb.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10152679912785385&set=vb.349501278499910&type=3&theater


Helloooo Nuuuurrrrssse,
We are very close to a working cut of the pilot episode, with cutaways being worked in for good measure. While we’re dying to show you the episode, there is still the not so small matter of color correction.

With that in mind, we have placed an ad on gumtree to find an intrepid video editor who would be willing to join our team and grade the footage.


Fingers & toes crossed, watch this space!


Color Grading, anyone?

Guest Post – Samantha Sheratt as Allie


Hey all, editing is still in full swing and going rather well, I must say. Here is a little post that our lead actress wrote during filming, enjoy! – Zaeem

“So. Phat Fyterz. I had the phone call last week from Zaeem being told I had just been cast as the lead character of Allie in the Pilot of Phat Fyterz, the new TV series.

My auditions were filmed by my friend on her iphone in some rather interesting locations (a secret door through the disabled toilets that leads into the pipe and storage room) so I was quite impressed my acting managed to be good enough to overcome the weird location and iphone camera.

After a colder than it looked rehearsal in front of the London Eye last Sunday, today we went to London Bridge to hang about in front of a shop and look like we were generally up to no good (again, definitely colder than expected).

I got to tell a man off for eating too many bananas (in the short time we were there I saw him eating 3 – that’s just too many bananas for anyone and who knows how many more he’d eaten before I saw him) Allie stole booze from a poor bespectacled man and also had a piggy back race and won, and I generally ran around trying not to freeze.

After a warming drink in a pub afterwards we sorted out all the shoot dates and watched the Wakefield Wildcats (my home town team) lose a rugby match really badly and also introduced Mo who plays Toby to the wonderful warming drink that is Baileys.

My fingers are really crossed that we get some of that beautiful sunshine back into our lives for the next outside shoot dates. Can you tell I don’t like being cold?!

Bring on the next scenes!-Sam”

And CUT!


Hurrah! Celebrate good times Cmon!! We have finishing our main shoot! YAAY!

It was a great fun, however I personally was very close to killing Z as it was VERY cold on some of those days, just as London got used to the glorious warmth and sunshine! Have you ever been so cold you just wanted to cry?? lol

I have to give it to our amazing cast, regardless of the weather, powered through the wind and rolled with the punches! (punches being the random bouts of gust which were swiftly met with a collective oooh… or oooww…) One of our actresses even had to jog around the block a few times just to keep herself warm! That’s definitely the spirit right there! Despite the very uncomfortable weather conditions and lack of layers – they were all extremely professional and got on with the job.

We had a couple of dodgy stares from passers by, to be expected though right? One curious cyclist even shouted ‘What are you doing!’ either in a concerned tone, or baffled one, could not quite tell, but after an explanation eventually got bored and wandered off into the wilderness that is London Bridge.

Don’t go away, more blog posts to come 🙂


PFZ Guest Post – Julia Lacey as Jeanny Abbot


This is the first of half a dozen guest posts by members of our cast. We were looking for an actress to play the main character’s mum. It had to be someone who could display the strength required to bring up a child as a lone parent and also the nurturing and affectionate side that reminds us all of our own mum. We found Julia’s showreel on youtube and proceeded to invite her for an audition, the rest, as they say, is history – Zaeem

“I have always enjoyed acting and in my younger days was involved with Desborough Players an amateur dramatics society and was in productions for them.
Later in life when my children were older I again started to do amdram at Farnworth Little Theatre and played Sue in Abigail’s Party , the woman in Elegy for a Lady and Stella in House Guest.  At the same time I was doing extras work and an evening course in acting at college.  I decided I wanted to make acting my profession and to this end I did a BA (Hons) degree in Performing Arts at the University of Salford gaining a 2:1.  Of the 200 students on the Performing arts courses we auditioned and 20 were chosen to perform in the showcase at The Royal Exchange Theatre.  I played the role of The Sex Worker from The Vagina monologues and also the mother in a duologue in Looking After Tom.

I finished my degree course in 2009 and have since acted in corporate films, music videos, short independent films and performed in a fringe production of The Importance of Being Earnest playing Miss Prism.

I am very much enjoying filming the pilot for PhatFyterz.  I love the idea of exploring the subjects of mental health/parenthood/coming of age in the world we live in today.  Mental Health is an area that isn’t often portrayed accurately in the media and I believe Zaeem has an important message to put across.  I am proud to be one of the actors involved in this project and hope it does well.”


Z’s Journey to Kingston


So today I took Zaeem to visit one of the locations PFZ will be using for a scene, in the lovely Kingston upon Thames!

To be honest we could not have asked for a better day! It was just perfect – birds were singing, it was warm and sunny! With England you never know when it will be Sunny again so you have to lap it all up while you can!! And it is in this type of weather that you can really experience the beauty that Kingston has to offer

Our shoot location is at my very own beloved Kingston University (Wahey!) My campus have been very kind in allowing the team to shoot in the Nursing school at Kingston Hill campus where there is a ‘Skills room’ that has been built to look like an actual hospital ward, beds, curtains, flooring, equipment, sinks the full Monty! It is actually quite a weird sensation when you walk in through the door. You are immediately overwhelmed with that uncomfortable feeling that seems to wash over you when your in an actual hospital. The room has everything down to a T! The immaculate levels of hygiene, the decor!

The room is designed to allow student Nurses to role play emergency situations. Ideally, any mistakes would be made in this room, as the safety net is that its not real! No one suffers at the consequence of your mistakes. So when these amazing Nurses to be do face any medical emergency, they can face it head on having been prepared before hand.

A massive thank you is needed for Susan Rush, a Principal Lecturer at the Nursing school who has given us a lot of advice and guidance and of course permission to film in the building! Can you imagine trying to ask permission to film in a real hospital? it would be MADNESS lol

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon. Mika is over and out!