Interview with Filmmaker Marnie Baxter & Nicola Stuart-Hill (BAD MOTHER)

BAD MOTHER played to rave reviews at the May 2020 Female Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Nicola: Well Marnie told me a story of a woman she met on a beach a few years a back. This film is based on that true story. which we then dramatised. In the real life story nothing actually happened, but we were both drawn to the psychological thinking that Marnie was left feeling when she did actually leave her kids on the beach with a stranger. That drove us on this journey.
Marnie: I had this experience that was niggling away at me and, as Nicky said, it felt like it would be really interesting to explore. We both loved the process of working out why the story was so chilling, so memorable. Finding the nuances that made it believable and worth watching, and creepy.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Nicola: To be honest my memory is terrible, so over to Marnie, but just looked back at my first rough notes on BM and its says Feb 2017. So two years from idea to locked off picture?

Marnie: Ha ha! I think it was longer – more like 3 years from concept to final picture. But until we had the finance in place, we were working around our schedules – grabbing evenings here and there and e mailing each other drafts.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Nicola: Judgement. Friendship.

Marnie: This gives us the chance to have 4 words! So – Trust, Motherhood.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Nicola: Filming with kids due to their maximum legal hours on set/ Public walking into shot as open beach with lots of doggie walkers.

Marnie: Agreed – that was tricky. But to be honest for me the biggest challenge was probably getting the script right, and getting the finance in place.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Nicola: Chuffed. As all the detail we worked hard on, had the right range of effects on the audience.

Marnie: Seeing that people really understood all the nuances of what we’d tried to create was actually quite moving! So encouraging – especially at this time when creating work is even more challenging than ever.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Nicola: As mentioned, Marnie had the idea based on a real life experince she had of leaving her kids with a stranger on the beach.

Marnie: As above.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Nicola: Several – The Color Purple. Empire of the Sun. Schindler’s List. The Piano. Bridesmaids.

Marnie: The Philadelphia Story.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Nicola: Great, very organised. Easy to use.

Marnie: I second that – it’s a great resource.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Nicola: Hard to answer, as life has gone on. Bob Marleys one love.

Marnie: Oooh. Good choice Nicky.. I think I’d have to go for Stevie Wonder’s Misstra Know-it-All.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Nicola: A claustrophobic drama /thriller feature length idea i’m currently writing and TV series idea.

Marnie: I’m working on my second short film, which has been written for me by Matthew Hurt, called ‘Hello, Muscles’. It is a female empowerment piece, challenging the bias we hold in society towards girls and women, and exploring what it means to be strong, especially when you have to care for someone you love. It’s beautifully written, with a really encouraging message, reminding us never to underestimate the strength of girls. Watch this space..!

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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