Ilford filmmaker Robert Bertrand has written and directed Morning Glory, a coming of age story about two best friends, Tanya and Candice, who struggle to move on with their lives as they get older, due to fear of losing each other.
Tanya is waiting to hear back from her request to join the army, as she feels she has lost her purpose in life and wants to get away from the pressures and expectations of society, her family and her peers.
This seems the only viable option for her to escape from it all, however, she faces risking her friendship with her best friend Candice for good.
Rehearsals have been completed and the plan is to start shooting by the end of January in Goodmayes, near to where Robert lives.
He has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cover travel expenses for cast and crew, as well as camera rental equipment, post-production costs and sending the film to festivals.
The 29-year-old, who studied law at Thames Valley University, explains why he wanted to explore identity and heritage after feeling slightly lost after the results of the EU referendum last year…
Where did the idea for the film come from?
A lot happened in 2016 such as Brexit, which challenged my views. I was born here but my family are from St Lucia, so felt my identity was being tested and felt a sense of not knowing where I belonged.
A lot of social matters influenced this piece and the various challenges so many people still face today, such as sexuality, identity, and being a young person in this day and age, as there is often peer pressure to be something you’re not.
Did you study filmmaking at university?
Funny one that! I initially auditioned for drama school and got into a few places, but I really wanted to go to RADA. I got into the last stage and didn’t get in so I took a gap year to reflect and instead did a range of acting work, before deciding to study law at university at Thames Valley.
I think studying law has helped my filmmaking skills immensely as filmmaking is still a business as well as a creative outlet, so it gave me the grounding to take filmmaking seriously even though it’s still fun.
Where did your passion for film begin?
It was not a passion initially, as I was quite shy when I was little. However, it enabled me to build my self-confidence and it was something different compared to sitting at the table doing maths and science.
I loved PE and art, but I think what started my passion in acting and the whole theatre and film world was a school play of Oliver Twist, where I played Bill Sikes. I always admired the bad guys in stories as they were the rebels, the real go getters in life of whom everyone else envied. I love that stories can have so many different characters and be relatable to different people.
What is next for you after this film?
I have loads of different short and feature films I want to make. They are a wide range of different stories and ideas but I will want to spend enough energy on each one. I am even working on a feature film version of this short film Morning Glory, which will be like a sequel and take place after this story and what happens to the characters. It has been exciting to write.
To find out more about the kickstarter, visit: kickstarter.com/projects/181377171/morning-glory-0