Interview with Filmmaker Jess Moore (TO HAVE AND TO HOLD)

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD, 15min., UK, Drama
Directed by Jess Moore
Why doesn’t she just leave? Left alone in her house in the aftermath of a brutal attack, one woman attempts to leave the home she is trapped in before her husband returns. This short is based on the critically-acclaimed stage play called NEXT TIME.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My short film is based on a play I wrote for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2018. Sara Putt, the Executive Producer read the script and suggested that it should be a short film and that I should direct it. Candida Julian-Jones, the producer, came to see the play and came on board to produce the film. Axel Caballero from Warner. Bros Discovery’s OneFifty Artist Studio read the script and awarded me an Artist grant to make it. Creatively, I wanted to give an insight into one woman’s experience of domestic abuse in an attempt to address the question so often asked of victims and survivors, “Why didn’t she just leave?”. There is a lack of understanding of the obstacles to leaving an abusive relationship.

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

Four years!

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

Powerful. Beautiful.

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

Like so many other filmmakers, we were held up by the Covid-19 pandemic. Otherwise we were very lucky, people found the script compelling and were keen to get involved.

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

I was so moved and grateful that people gave their time and were so thoughtful and insightful about our film.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I started out as a playwright, but some stories lend themselves to film and can have the potential to reach more people – that’s a big part of why I initially wanted to make films. Now, I have just fallen in love with film directing.

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

I think I probably wore out my VHS tapes of Dead Poets Society and The English Patient!

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I’m based in London, UK , but even from afar the support TFFFF has given me has been fantastic. It’d always be great to get more of an insight into programming decisions.

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

It makes applying to multiple festivals and keeping track of applications SO much easier than it would be otherwise.

10. What is your favorite meal?

There’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal by a friend accompanied by a good natter.

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

A few exciting things are in the works: I’m working on a musical, I have some TV show ideas in development, and I’m focused on the dream of directing my first feature.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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