Interview with Writer/Actor Tippy Elgar (TERMINUS)

TERMINUS was awarded BEST DANCE at the April 2022 EXPERIMENTAL/DANCE Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was inspired to write TERMINUS by my two boys Archie and Ray who have taught us so much about climate justice. We were shocked by the recent wild fires that damaged our local ancient woodlands and how climate change and pollution has effected our local coastline, plants and animals, of which we value so much.

We wanted to tell our story through the eyes of the four elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water. This experimental way of storytelling hopefully brings the audience closer to the characters and inspires them to put sustainability first in their own lives. We hope our film, encourages the audience to see the bigger picture. The human race is just one stop on the life journey of our beautiful planet. Ultimately by re-wilding, cleaning and nurturing our planet, we protect our own species.

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

The idea first sparked about four years ago when I went to watch my boys in their school assembly on pollution. I was amazed at how little I knew about climate change and that was when the seed was planted. My boys and I were also inspired by the work of the young climate activist Greta Thunberg and her brave ‘school strike for climate’ which started back in 2018. The film has taken many years to develop and we are all so proud that it is now out in the world.

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

This is a difficult question but I think ‘bigger picture’ sums it up. We hope TERMINUS helps the audience to see the bigger picture. The fact that all of humanity is merely a guest on our beautiful planet and if we want to stay for longer, we need to work in harmony with the elements.

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

We shot the film just before the pandemic hit our community. During the following lockdowns our brilliant editor got stuck abroad and so there was a long delay. This obstacle was actually really fortunate as it gave us some breathing space to think about the direction we wanted our film to go in. It gave us precious time to focus in on the details of our storytelling.

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

We were so touched by the audience response to TERMINUS and it really felt like the icing on the cake! To be heard and understood by the audience and for them to be so moved is a profound experience. My acting inspiration Sanford Meisner sums it up by saying “if you want to reach every person in the audience, it’s not about being bigger, it’s about going deeper”.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf7rUWfIhy8

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I have always been an actor and practitioner passionate about telling stories. However becoming a mother was what inspired me to jump into film making. It gives me the control to tell the stories that I want to tell and to give a voice to female characters. My boys have always been part of the TERMINUS journey from the very start, so it was important they took on a role in the film. Hopefully they will be inspired by this experience and go on to tell stories that are important to them in the future.

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

I recently watched ‘Boiling Point’ starring the actor Stephen Graham. The film explores one evening in the life of a busy restaurant. The whole film is shot in one take and this is something that has always intrigued me both as an actor and film maker. It was gripping to see the stakes mounting up against Stephen Graham’s character and I was rooting for him to the end. The restaurant location was just as important as any living breathing character. This is what I wanted to achieve in TERMINUS, with the ancient woodland being the fifth character.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

FilmFreeway is a brilliant festival platform as it is easy to navigate and to see which festivals best suit TERMINUS.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favourite meal is my husband’s Chili and rice with a sprinkle of cheese. We enjoy it best as a family on a cold winters night. He is a great cook and has been a huge support throughout my film making journey. Anyone in this business knows it is the support network behind us that keeps us going through this whirlwind journey of film making.

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

I have a few ideas about my next project but nothing set in stone yet. I am enjoying getting back to life after lockdown and being able to travel abroad and network with new people. My film making journey has only just begun and I am so excited about the next adventure.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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