Flare 2019: The Date by Emmalie El Fadli

As the title of The Date suggests, this short film shows the first date of two women who are both hoping to feel the chemistry they’ve shared whilst chatting online. Director, Emmalie El Fadli, speaks to us about making happy films and the positive parts of meeting people online.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO DIRECTING?

Emmalie: I got into directing through my need to create more positive Female LGBTQ+ films. I’m normally an editor, so as you can imagine, jumping backwards to being a Writer and Director was quite a change, though I had directed another lesbian short film back in 2016 so I wasn’t totally “new” to it. Also, coming from an editing background, it made some aspects of directing easier, such as the whole “we’ll fix it in post” thing that a lot of directors like to do. 

WHERE DID THE CONCEPT OF THE STORIES COME FROM?

Emmalie: My co writer Hansof and I spent a year or so coming up with the story we wanted to tell. I’ve always been interested in the concept of online dating, especially through apps. I grew up in the age of Yahoo Chatrooms and it’s there that I met my first ever girlfriend, so the idea of people meeting online (or through an app) and going on to have great relationships has always fascinated me. We also wanted to make sure that the story we wrote was positive regardless of all the horrible stories you hear about dating apps (even though we do hint at some things throughout our film). 

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DID YOU COME ACROSS ANY OBSTACLES DURING THE MAKING OF THE FILM? IF YES, HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?

Emmalie: My biggest fear going into production was how I was going to afford to make this film in the first place. We were running our crowdfunding campaign at the same time as filming and I just couldn’t see myself recouping the money I’d be spending, so I had a complete meltdown the day before our first day of shooting. Luckily members of my team were extremely supportive and reassured me that everything would be ok. I couldn’t have done it without them. Huge shoutout to everyone.

WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE OF MAKING THIS FILM?

Emmalie: The best part of the whole experience for me was knowing that we had created something. Something we were really proud of. That and meeting all of the amazing members of our team, crew and cast. Oh and also getting to film at SHE Bar in London.

HOW DID YOU FIND CREATING THE REALISTIC CHEMISTRY AND AWKWARDNESS OF MEETING FOR A FIRST DATE AFTER SPEAKING ONLINE?

Emmalie: I met my girlfriend on Tinder and our first time meeting (after weeks of speaking online and on the phone) was super awkward and super intense, so that helped a lot when creating that awkward tension between the two characters. As for the chemistry, I feel like there was almost nothing to direct. The actor’s chemistry, even from their audition together, was electrifying. I couldn’t have chosen a better cast. The last scene of the film was actually the very first scene we shot. The actors didn’t really know each other at that stage and the fact they were able to pull off such an amazing performance was truly beautiful. 

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE AUDIENCE TO TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR FILM? 

Emmalie: I want the audience to take away from this film that it’s ok to have happy films. Films without conflict. Films that don’t make you feel bad or sad at one stage or another. We also want people to take away that online dating can bring you truly great relationships. 

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?

Emmalie: I want to continue making positive lesbian content and directing said content. At the moment, my co-writer and I are writing our second lesbian short film, which will hopefully go into production later this year or early next year. 

ONLY 4% OF THE HIGHEST GROSSING FILMS IN THE PAST DECADE WERE DIRECTED BY WOMEN, BEING A FEMALE DIRECTOR CAN BE DISHEARTENING IN THIS ENVIRONMENT. WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR ASPIRING FEMALE DIRECTORS OUT THERE?

Emmalie: My answer is going to be extremely short and direct but just do it and just keep going. If you don't know what you're doing, you'll learn along the way. Not everyone will want to see you fail and it's those people that will keep you strong and remind you why you're doing it in the first place, so don't stop. Just move on to the next project and the project after that. And if there are no more projects, make your own! Create the content you want to see and are passionate about. 

Interview by Sophie Duncan & Caris Rianne

The Date is showing in the DANCING WITH A STRANGER shorts collection on Sat 30 March. For tickets and information please visit here. You can view the trailer below along with links to the film makers social media platforms.

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