Underwire 2019: Fayde by Hannah Leigh-Prior

Things always seem worse at night, which is what is highlighted in Hannah Leigh-Prior’s film Fayde, highlighting the balancing act of family and work for a superhero. In this interview Hannah speaks to us about her un-usual form of film financing and how to survive a long night shoot.

How did you find your way into film making?

Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to work closely with many filmmakers and learn a lot about the process. I come from an acting/writing background and to be honest filmmaking was always in my sights but I didn't have the confidence to take the next step. Fortunately, I met my amazing Producer Olivia Phipps around the same time I was finishing my short film Fayde and we decided that Fayde was the right project to collaborate on.

Tell us more about Fayde….

Fayde is a film for women everywhere, just trying to do their best. Dawn is a symbol of the pressure felt by many women trying to juggle both family and work life, and the ongoing guilt of not doing either very well. It’s a comment on the ludicrous way society pressures women to have ‘super-human’ qualities. The action takes place over one, long night; a metaphor for Dawn’s isolation and darkness. Things always feel worse at night; when everyone else is asleep, our insignificance in the universe suddenly seems so much greater. But the message ultimately is promoting self-care no matter who you are or what 'roles' you play. No-one is really a superhero in the end, we're all just human and that's complex enough as it is.

Still from Fayde

Still from Fayde

How did you take the news of being accepted into the festival?

Underwire means so much to me, it was the place I first started to feel like I had a real film community. I discovered them back in 2014 when the festival was screening in Hackney Attic! It has grown and evolved so much over the years, but continues to cultivate a supportive space for the female filmmaking community. I genuinely believe it is one of the best festivals to be a part of.

Funding in this industry can always be a challenge, how did you achieve yours?

I wouldn't recommend it - but it was as a result of a car crash. I was given a sum of money on insurance and I decided to use it for something positive. An extreme way of getting a film funded...

Still from Fayde

Still from Fayde

What was the most challenging aspect of making your film and how did you overcome this?

Any filmmaker will tell you, night shoots are brutal. But we had no option and we ended up shooting over Bank Holiday weekend in May for two 12 hour shoots. Luckily the best advice I'd ever been given is to make sure you 'over-feed' your cast/crew. So... snacks. So many snacks. And a cheese board.

The house was so important as we needed to use most rooms and I had a very specific 'look' I wanted. Luckily a friend came to the rescue and gave us her beautiful house in Greenwich for the whole shoot. She literally went away for the May Bank Holiday weekend and we moved in! I still owe her a pint.

Still from Fayde

Still from Fayde

Underwire celebrates female film making talent in the industry, what female film makers do you look up to?

Honestly, I have been consistently inspired by all the female filmmakers in every year of the Festival. To hear women talk so openly about their experiences and motivations to just get their projects made, is so encouraging. Filmmaking is hard work and it takes a village - I take inspiration from all the Cinematographers, Editors, Sound Designers other Directors and Writers, I've listened to over the years talking so passionately about what they do.

Hannah on set

Hannah on set

What’s the next project for you?

Olivia and I are developing our next film, looking to shoot in early 2020. Just need to figure out how to fund it, without another near death experience.


Fayde is screening in the Everyday Warrior Queens category on Friday 13th September at Regent Street Cinema. For tickets and more information on Underwire 2019 visit their website here.

You can follow Hannah on Twitter via @hanleighprior Hannah is Represented by Julia Wyatt at Berlin Associates juliaw@berlinassociates.com | 02076325282