BAFTA Nominated Director and JMC Tutor talks winning the Mardi Gras Film Festival

JMC Film and TV Production lecturer and BAFTA Nominated Director Brendon McDonall, recently won two prestigious awards at the Mardi Gras Film Festival!brendonmcdonnal.jpg

We caught up with him to find out more about his film, career and teaching. 

The film ‘Spoilers’ won Best Film Critics and Best Film Audience which he believed was ‘really validating. It is a film I have struggled with.”

In 2013, one of Brendons earlier films ‘All Gods Creatures” won the My Queer Career Prize in the Mardi Gras Film Festival, which gives you automatic entry to the BAFTA recognised Festival, Iris. The biggest LGBT festival in the world, in 2014 Brendons film, out of all of the international entries won the 30,000 pound prize money. 

All God's Creatures from Brendon McDonall on Vimeo.

From here, he spent 6 months in England, Wales filming ‘Spoilers’, which has now, ironically, won the festival that really gave it life, the opportunity to be made in the first place. 

“Spoilers” is a magical, realistic romantic comedy.  “At the time, I was trying to work out what to make, and in a time where internet spoilers where a big phenomenon, especially around the end of the Game of Thrones series, I became very aware of people protecting their right to experience a story on their own terms. I thought that was an interesting idea and then thought, I wonder if you could see into your future and if someone spoilt your ending, would you change things?”

“In the last 4 or 5 years, I, myself have experienced terrible heartbreak, losing the person I believed I would spend the rest of my life with, and taking me years to recover. Somewhere along the lines, I heard the expression ‘I am looking for someone whose baggage matches mine’, so I took this literally and applied it to an idea I had going, creating a film that begins with two people meeting at a baggage carousel. The film depicts the romance of the characters as they embark on adventures around Wales, but face roadblocks as their self-doubt and fear of beginning a new relationship gets in the way.”

Brendon has been teaching throughout his career, originally working as a theatre director and actor. “I love teaching and consider it totally integrated with my practice. Teaching keeps me in contact with my skillset every day. You learn a lot from the students responses and I love it when you can see when the penny drops from the students and they are moved by something.”

Brendon’s Advice for Students

Make your own work. Now. Everyday. Set aside an hour everyday where you just write. Whatever your particular entry point is, be disciplined with yourself, make, make, make work. See work, devour films, devour art and eventually you will put something out that someone will notice and all it takes is one good prize at one good film festival or one good video that goes viral and you are on your way.

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