People: Charlotte Daniel
A purveyor of though-provoking and immersive work, we caught up with Paisley-born, Canada-based filmmaker Charlotte Daniel to discuss her roots, ‘positive representation’ and her advice for budding local creatives.
Although you’ve relocated to Canada, have your Paisley sensibilities remained intact?
I think they have. The more I travel, the more I realise that Paisley is incredibly unique and how the experience of growing up there is ingrained in me. I’ve always been proudly Scottish and I love when I meet other Scottish people, because there’s an immediate connection and friendship. Paisley is very much the same, it’s all about mucking in together and getting on with it.
Your debut short, Carmen, is a gripping piece, tackling the omnipresence of technology and the power it wields. Why did it feel important to explore this?
That’s an interesting question as I don’t have any aversion to technology, usually the opposite. I think we know that our phones, computers and Alexas are listening to us, but we go about our days regardless. Carmen shows us what can happen when technology turns against us, examining the blind trust we put in it. The idea came from an article about Alexa’s laughing, unprompted, in people’s homes. Reactions to that happening were hilarious but also incredibly sinister.
The next project, Eyes Down, explores the pivotal issue of transphobia through the eyes of Mary, a transitioning Scottish woman in her 60s. Given the archaic attitudes that still exist at home and abroad, what would you like viewers to take from it?
For me, I’d like viewers to engage with the experience of someone they might not feel connected to. Film is an incredible vessel to create empathy as well as representation. It’s not very often that we see positive depictions of trans people in the media or existing in our incredibly judgmental shared space. This film aims to reclaim trans-narrative and shows positive representation. It also articulates how a tiny kind gesture can be so affecting to the other person, to a degree that a cis-gendered person may never know.
What would you say to anyone from Paisley that’d like to get into the world of film but worries that it’s unobtainable?
This is a great question as I remember being in this same situation. I’d say don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t. If you have an idea or a story that needs told, then do it! Filmmaking is not an individual endeavour, you need peers you can create with, so get people excited about making something with you! Finally, I would say that there’s nothing stopping you. Almost everyone has a camera in their pockets these days, you can shoot and edit on phones. Make stuff, make mistakes, learn from it. You don’t need big budgets or Hollywood blockbusters; you just need an idea.
Favourite Director? Ridley Scott
Dream Cast Member? Saoirse Ronan
Favourite Paisley pub? The Bull Inn
Best place to eat in Paisley? Zambretto Italian
Keep up with Charlotte’s work at chardfilms.com. This interview was published in Mill issue 10 September/October 2020.