Carys Watford is an award-winning Writer/Director/Producer of comedy and drama live-action short films. She is passionate about making comedic, female-led films packed with personality and heart. Her films have competed internationally at Oscar & BAFTA-qualifying festivals worldwide.
Carys’ latest short film, ‘Space Girls’, is a fun adventure film centered around four space-obsessed 9-year-old girls who embark on a secret mission in their cardboard rocket. It won the Grand Prize Children’s Live Action Short Film Award at the Oscar-qualifying Flickers’ Rhode Island International Film Festival, was selected in the final 10 ‘Best of Shorts’ at the Oscar-qualifying Cinequest Film & VR Festival & won both ‘Best Drama’ & the ‘Audience Favourite’ Awards at Sunderland Shorts Film Festival in 2018. It launched online on Gunpowder & Sky’s DUST channel where it has amassed over half a million views.
Q & A
If the world you created in your film became a reality, is that a world you would want to live in? Is there a Sci-Fi world you’d buy a one-way ticket to?
My short ‘Space Girls’ centres around four 9-year-old girls who want to be astronauts. During a sleepover they embark on a secret mission in their cardboard rocket. It’s a film that celebrates the power of the imagination, STEM education and girl power. The film is set in the world we live in now but ventures into the fantasy-filled, space-obsessed minds of four 9-year-old girls. I think it’s important for all of us to tap into and remember our childhood hope and enthusiasm where our dreams feel so real, we can almost touch them. Where we feel invincible. That can get lost a bit over time. So yes, I’d want to revisit that again. But buy a one-way ticket? No, thank you. Don’t want to have to experience the debilitating teenage awkwardness of the years that follow again(!)
Name a Sci-Fi character you relate to on a spiritual level?
I will always have a spiritual love for Bill Murray. So I’d have to say Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters.
Friend or Foe: humanoid robots with advanced artificial intelligence? What if robots start making their own Sci-Fi films? Will you support them in their endeavors?
A.I. really does freak me out. I won’t even allow Alexa anywhere near my home. So I think I’m going to have to say no. I hate saying no to anyone though. Does that make me a bad person?
In 1996, Bugs Bunny recruited Michael Jordan and Bill Murray to form the greatest basketball squad of all-time, the Tune Squad; you’re Bugs, who’s on your Sci-Fi Tune Squad?
I’m gonna have to bring in Bill Murray again. Princess Leia, Dana Scully. David Bowie from The Man Who Fell To Earth. And Robin Williams from Mork & Mindy for the laughs.
You’ve gotta go through some bad ideas to get to the good ones. Tell us one of your bad ideas. How do you get past the bad ones to find your spark?
God, I come up with a million bad ideas every day. Don’t even want to think about some of the scripts I wrote when I was twenty which I never made! There was one about a woman in a psychiatric home channeling Boadicea, I think. Just embarrassingly written. I’m squirming in my seat even thinking about it. But I think you know, there’s a gut feeling, when it’s an idea you want to pursue. ‘Space Girls’ actually happened really quickly without me stopping to think about it. I originally made the film to submit to NASA’s Short Film Competition (though it didn’t end up getting selected) and I only found out about it 6 weeks before the deadline. I wrote the script in a matter of days, started assembling crew and actors, storyboarding, and redecorating my parents’ spare bedroom all within two weeks so we’d shoot it & have three weeks in post. Doing everything on instinct can either blow up in your face or it can bring out the best in you. I’d like to think the latter happened with ‘Space Girls’. Not that there’s not a whole load of little things I’d change slightly. But there’s a purity and purpose to the film that captures the wide-eyed wonder of being young. And I think that riding the wave of bringing it all together quickly had a part to play in that.
When you’re creating the props and sets that make a new world, where do you look for inspiration?
I was actually the set designer for ‘Space Girls’ as well as directing it. And decorating the set and making the props was one of my favourite parts of making the film. Something I enjoy most about directing is creating the world that the characters move in in the most imaginative way I can think of. For ‘Space Girls’ I basically created my version of the ideal bedroom for a space-obsessed 9-year-old girl. Stenciling stars on the walls, pinning up posters of vintage Apollo missions & scattering twinkling fairy lights. With the rocket, I wanted it to look the best it could while also keeping in mind that it needed to look like it could’ve feasibly been made by a 9-year-old. We brought down dozens of cardboard boxes from the attic & through trial & error assembled it into as sturdy a rocket as we could. Then got very messy covering the 8-foot rocket in papier-mâché! I wasn’t interested in CGI and wanted the aesthetic of the authentic, tangible DIY rocket & handmade astronaut helmets.
Lightning round: Star Wars or Star Trek? Philip K. Dick or William S. Burroughs? Practical or CGI? Dystopia or Utopia? Post Apocalypse or Pre Apocalypse?
Star Wars, William S. Burroughs, Practical, Utopia, Pre Apocalypse