We caught up with Moyin Saka to talk about her experience of filmmaking and the competition. Shot on a webcam, her powerful film 'Too Wide' about the daily routine of a trans person of colour explores the urgent issue of transphobia with a refreshing authenticity. In Saka's own words, the film aims 'to focus and centre a narrative that is never told, yet clearly needs to be, whilst ensuring it is done in a way authentic and true to the lived experience.'
Was this the first film that you made? Was it scary to shoot for the first time?
Moyin Saka: Yes, this was the first film I’d ever made but it wasn’t scary at all, I think the nature of the competition took away any possibility of fear, and also the fact that I was shooting in my own house and with one of my best friends made the experience all the more stress-free.
If so, how is this competition beneficial to first time filmmakers?
Moyin Saka: Despite it not being scary for me, I think a beneficial factor of the competition for first timers is the freedom. When you’re restricted to using very basic equipment it really puts you at a creative advantage, it requires you to think beyond the parameters of the norms of let’s say ‘conventional’ filmmaking. You really are forced to delve into more experimental modes of story-telling and depicting and I think that’s really incredible if you’re made to do that at such an early point in your film-making career.
Another great factor is that it’s really accessible, you know usually when you envision ‘filmmaking’ we think of all this elaborate equipment and the perplexing software that comes alongside it and I think these images can be quite daunting initially, especially for a first timer. But with EWC it’s not like that at all because you’re using the equipment that you use every day, you know, your laptop, your phone, your tablet or whatever you have, you’re used to them, you’re familiar with them – the familiarity is so comforting and it really does help and ease you whilst you’re creating.
How did you come up with the concept?
Moyin Saka: The concept was birthed quite naturally because it was very much a reflection of Travis’s reality, and a part of their reality I was witnessing whilst living with them – In the mornings, Travis would always come into my room after they had gotten ready so they could inspect their outfit in my big mirror, and from my bed I’d just watch them as they gradually fell in love with every aspect of their look, from their clothes to their eye-shadow to their shoes, everything. I’d watch them take pictures of themselves in this comfort and happiness and then I’d watch them leave the house in that same comfort and happiness. And then a few minutes later I’d hear the door slam, I’d hear their footsteps pounding up the stairs and into their room and I knew they’d be going to change their outfit again, all because some transphobic imbecile outside had to have their say or way.
Were you surprised to win?
Moyin Saka: Yeah I genuinely was surprised, there was one other film which I was pretty convinced had the prize so when I heard ‘Too Wide’ being called out it was a pleasant surprise.
Will you continue to make films?
Moyin Saka: Oh yeah, 100%. I have so many ideas for projects that I really want to get started as soon as possible, but at the same time I’m also trying to navigate my way through my 3rd year so I’ll probably deal with that first.
What changes would you like to see in the film world and the creative industries more general?
Moyin Saka: I could answer this question forever, I think there are so many ways in which the creative industries are failing, but the changes I’d most like to see deal with issues of space and authenticity - for example, who is getting their stories told? Who is being used to tell these stories? How are these stories being told? Who really is benefiting from these stories being told? A lot of the time when we see marginalized voices being depicted on screen, or when we hear silenced narratives being told, it’s not real, or it’s been manipulated in a way that distorts the true reality of it.
Another change I’d like to see is a dismantling of this sort of elitist set-up that currently exists within the creative industries - I think there should be more of a conscious and genuine effort to be making these industry spaces more accessible.