After it’s second screening with Lift-Off in London, we interviewed Natasha Pring, writer and lead actor, of Wraps.
Hi Natasha. What was it that made you want to work in the film industry?
Well my background has been mainly in theatre, as an actor. I’ve always felt that it’s one of the highest forms of storytelling. There’s an Oscar Wilde quote I have on my desktop, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being”. If Wilde was around now I’m sure he’d include film in this sentiment. Film has now become the highest form of storytelling for me, because the reach is so wide; and with it now possible to make a film on a phone, the door is open for everyone. I find the whole process just magical. Turning an idea, a thought, a conversation into something tangible, that has so many different incarnations and can be experienced again and again.
Wraps was the first time I’d been part of the full filmmaking process; it was a real eye opener to see how a project grows and evolves with every stage; from the writing, to the actors and director making it their own, and then the edit, sound and grade. Seeing the finished piece for the first time on the big screen at Molinare was amazing.
What was the inspiration for writing Wraps?
I was living in a flatshare at the time with friends who are also actors (including Charity Wakefield, who produced the film and plays the character of Ivy), and we’d often talk about making something together. I was boxing at Left Hook in Shadwell, and before that had been working with vulnerable women with the Iceni Centre in Ipswich, doing drama workshops, an experience that profoundly impacted me. The setting of a boxing gym felt like an interesting world to explore some of the themes and feelings that had come up for me during my time in Ipswich. The film, for me, is largely about how we help (or try) to help people. How do we ACTUALLY help our society and community? It’s a big question and one we could only scratch the surface of in a short film, but definitely something to explore further in the feature!
And what was the shooting process like?
Both exciting and terrifying! When I first wrote the script I envisioned it would be done guerrilla style with a group of friends in our spare time on someone’s iPhone or a borrowed 5D. It turned into something much bigger than I could have ever imagined! I remember sitting on the edge of the ring at Islington boxing gym at 5am one morning putting my wraps on and watching a brilliant crew of 30, all busy doing their individual jobs and thinking ‘Holy crap! How the heck did this happen?’ Be careful what you wish for hey?!
Were there any obstacles to overcome during production?
I don’t think we fully realised until we got to the shoot just how ambitious the project was. Being concise has never been my strong point and what we had in effect was a condensed feature film with A LOT of location changes and set ups.
Shooting in the middle of December and fighting with lack of light, location changes and working around the boxing club’s class timetable, we lost a lot of time. Frank Tamburin, the director, had to make some tough choices and decided on set to cut a number of scenes. It was heartbreaking for me as the writer at the time, but as we also discovered during the editing process, what can be cut will be cut. The final film is perhaps something more meditative, and asks questions rather than answering them.
Finally, what’s next for you, or for the project specifically?
Charity and I are actually in the early stages of development with a feature film. I can’t say too much at this stage, but we’ll be building on the existing world and themes from the short, in particular the relationship between the dual protagonists Ivy and Francesca. Thematically I’m interested to look at the impact of childhood trauma and not speaking out – something which is currently very much in our society’s consciousness and feels like the right time to be explored.
Wraps is nominated for Best Acting Ensemble at Lift-Off’s Season Awards.