One To Watch – Chanya Button (Director) – movieScope
After studying English at Oxford and theatre directing at RADA, Chanya worked in Warner Bros LA’s creative department, for the UK Film Council and as an assistant director on various features. Through her production company Gobby and Specs she has made three shorts; her latest, Alpha:Omega is currently being developed into a feature with the support of Pinewood Studios. Chanya has another feature in development, Burn Burn Burn, due for production in 2014.
What training have you received?
The best training has been working my way up from the bottom in production. I have always believed that the best directors are those who know how everyone around them does their job so, from the moment I started in the AD department, I set out to learn about every role.
What kinds of projects attract you?
My work embraces a broad spectrum of genres: Fire is a period piece, Frog/Robot is a contemporary romantic comedy, Alpha:Omega is shaping up to be a futuristic political thriller with a sci-fi edge and Burn Burn Burn is a road trip comedy! I saw Mike Leigh speak at RADA, and he said he always asks ‘why now?’ with every script he develops. I ensure that everything I make connects with something I notice my friends are talking about.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a short filmmaker?
Take yourself seriously. When Pinewood commissioned the short Alpha:Omega, Steve Norris and Ivan Dunleavy offered the same level of support they would for any feature. That kind of professional investment inspires you with confidence, which is invaluable.
Tell us the most significant moment in your career so far.
Any shooting day! Being selected for the London and Toronto Film Festivals and the DGA’s annual New Director’s Showcase in 2012, as well as having films commissioned by Film London and Pinewood, felt pretty significant too!
You’ll die happy when…
The industry understands the intersectionality of issues around gender, sexuality and race enough to stop identifying filmmakers, actors—even characters—under a headline.