NINA Buxton’s excellent short film Mwah tells the story of a young girl who is harassed on her way home from a friend’s house. Close-up Culture are delighted to welcome Nina onto the site to talk more about the film and what drives her work.
Q: Mwah is the story of an unsettling encounter that I sadly imagine many women can relate to. What impression do you want this film to leave on audiences?
A: WHEN I was growing up I saw a lot of films that showed women being attacked, or killed – but hardly any that showed a woman being harassed, or made to feel unsafe as part of her daily life. I think the films we watch growing up have a huge impact on our understanding of what is important.
Personally I think I grew up with the belief that as long as I made it home safe, anything that happened to me along the way was a story not worthy of being told. I know many women who have been cat called, followed home or sexually harassed and then don’t even tell their closest friends or family members about the experience.
I made this film because I wanted to amplify the message that these smaller, in some sense, less dramatic and more insidious moments of sexual harassment are stories worthy of being told. I also wanted to show men what it feels like, from the female perspective to be followed home, and how that fear really stays with us long after the threat has gone. Essentially it’s a film that shows people why cat calling is not a compliment.
Q: Bethany Whitmore is a tremendous actor and this is another remarkably powerful performance from her. What was she like to work with and what qualities did she bring to the project?
A: BETHANY was absolutely breathtaking to watch on set. She actually moved the crew to tears during the last take of the film. I think she brought honesty and vulnerability to the role. We were extremely fortunate to be able to work with her at such an exciting time in her acting career.
Q: With Mwah, Woof and Her Words you have worked from a female perspective. What do you feel this brings to your films and why is this important to you?
A: I AM really interested in telling stories from the female perspective, because that point of view is something that really lacked from the films and television series I watched growing up.
There is one big thing that I often find lacking in films written and directed by men – and that is shots of women thinking. Something I love about films directed by women, is the screen time that is given to female characters to sit and process, even if it’s just for a couple of seconds. I guess I love watching women think in film because it’s something that is sadly so rare to see.
Q: What can we look forward to from you in the future?
A: AT the moment I am working as a director at Australian television production company Gristmill. I will be one of the directors on their upcoming television series ‘The InBESTigators‘ which is about a detective agency run by eleven year olds. The show will premiere internationally on Netflix in 2019.
Beyond this project I hope to continue directing television, short films and feature films that inspire a new generation of fearless women.