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Challenging the Stigma with British Filmmaker Ella Greenwood

MICAELA: Tell me about Faulty Roots and the moment inspiration struck for that script.

Where were you? What were you doing? What was the process of creating

the film like? What is your reaction to the response the film has received? Do

you think the film accomplished what you intended it to within your audience?

ELLA: Faulty Roots is about a teenage girl with depression who is made to re-

connect with an overly positive childhood friend. I wanted to make a short film

that focused on mental health and so came up with the title Faulty Roots first.

The title represents the way the character thinks about herself, as her

depression isn’t caused by any external factor as a such, there was nothing

that led to her being depressed, it’s just down to who she is and her ‘roots’. I

honestly can’t remember where I was or what I was doing at all, it’s a bit of a

blur! I really enjoyed working on different aspects of the film, from hiring crew,

doing the production design, shooting, through to working with the composer

on the score, I loved it all. It was of course stressful at times, but definitely

worth it. I’m so happy with the response it’s received, for even one person to

have enjoyed it and to have related to it would be amazing, so to have many

people do so, is an incredible feeling. I’d like to think it accomplished what I

intended, and also with getting to develop it into a feature, we’ll get to really

focus on reaching a bigger audience with the best message possible.

MICAELA: What made you decide to dedicate your work to mental health awareness and

breaking the mental health stigma? Why do you think this work is particularly

important within your community?

ELLA: I struggled with my mental health as a young teen and had no clue what I was

going through and so it took me a while to reach out for help and get support.

I want to raise awareness so that more people understand what they’re going

through if they are struggling, and breaking the stigma means more people

will be likely to speak up and reach out for help. It’s so important for young

people to be taught how to take care of their mental health, and film is an

incredible way to impact people.

MICAELA: How does it feel to have been deemed the Positive Female Role Model Of

The Year at the Darkus Magazine Awards?

ELLA: It’s a wonderful feeling and I didn’t expect it at all! I hope that I can reach

people with my work and to really make a difference with what I do.

MICAELA: What can you tell me about Smudged Smile? How has it been creating a film

during a global pandemic? Do you have any behind-the-scenes photos you

can share with us?

ELLA: Smudged Smile is about Zoe, a teenage girl who is about to celebrate her 16th

birthday, when she starts struggling with her mental health. It focuses on how

you can be in certain situations where people expect you to be happy, even

when you don’t feel that way. Film shoots are still able to go ahead, but

everyone has to wear masks and social distance and there are a lot of

guidelines in place. It’s definitely strange being on set during a pandemic, but

everyone follows the guidelines carefully and we’re lucky that we are still able

to work and tell these stories that I feel really need to be told right now.

We’re shooting Smudged Smile this month so there are no BTS photos yet,

but I’ve shared some ones from my recent film shoot for ‘Self-Charm’.

MICAELA: What is your advice to amateur filmmakers and screenwriters? Basically, what

do you wish you would have known before creating your very first film?

ELLA: My advice would be just to stick to it and make sure you get the film made! It

will be overwhelming and stressful at times, but just try your best and keep

going, even if it doesn’t go perfectly, it’s better to make something and learn

from it then to not do anything at all!


At only 19 years of age, Ella Greenwood is the director of the vastly expanding London-based production company Broken Flames Productions. Her work has been selected for BAFTA accredited festivals and featured by Deadline, Huffington Post, Variety, BBC, Yahoo and Film Stories Magazine. 

We are sure her work will continue to make an impact on those who have the privilege to view it.

Follow Ella Greenwood on Instagram here.

Interview by Micaela Merryman

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