Kate Madison is an actor/filmmaker whose first feature, ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel ‘Born of Hope’, drew huge media interest due to its professional look on a budget of just £25,000. The film, which is only available for streaming on the internet, has been viewed over one million times [update: As of April 2012, this figure had reached over 8 million views] since its release in December 2009. www.katemadison.net
What training have you received?
None, basically. Everything I have learnt has been on the job. I never went to film school, I actually did a Zoology degree before I realised that it wasn’t for me. I have skimmed a few books, which I think is useful, but in my opinion the best way to learn things like filmmaking is to watch films and have a go yourself. Some people talk about it a lot but, if you want to do it, then find some like minded people and go out and do it. Make some movies and see what happens, but make sure you finish them. It’s not a film until you’ve shown it to people.
Does budget limit what you can explore in your films?
To a certain extent, yes. I’d love to make a pirate movie about Anne Bonny and Mary Reed, but I don’t think I’d be able to do it justice until I can work my way up the budget ladder. Having said that, I made Born of Hope, a fantasy feature film, for £25,000. It was made with a lot of hard work and perseverance and the good will of over 400 people working for free. Having enough of a budget to pay people even a little and to make a movie that still looks a million dollars is my next task.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a lowbudget filmmaker?
Interestingly most advice that is given to people making low-budget films is exactly the opposite of what I did with my first feature! I broke all the rules about a small cast, modern setting, interiors, no animals, etc. It seemed to work though! Determination and a good team is the best advice I can give.
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far
Finishing Born of Hope. It was a long road, a huge learning curve and has given me many memories. It is now screening at the 2010 Cannes Independent Film Festival and has totally inspired me to start a new film as soon as possible.
You’ll die happy when…
I am making a good living doing what I want to do. Making movies, acting in some of them and avoiding a normal 9-5 at all costs.