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netribution > features > interview with gaby dellal

Gaby Dellal was an actress for twelve years before trying her hand on the other side of the camera. After directing a segment of Tube Tales she embarked on a charming short film called Football with Helena Bonham Carter in the lead. It's gone on to feature in many festivals, including the final BBC Short Film Festival and the official selection at Sundance this year, and featured on dozens of screens in front of Bridget Jones Diary recently. Gaby wrote, produced and directed the film but on meeting her at the Capalbio Short Film Festival at the beginning of July Deidre St Dashiel just had to ask…why football?

| by deidre st dashiel |
| photos from deidre st dashiel |
| in london |

Football is a fantasy about how every little boy dreams of becoming a footballer and how important it is for them.

Gaby has three football-playing sons; "At all times it seams, I am saying, "stop playing football!" I loved the notion of a journey toward stardom. I have surprised a lot of people; they suppose it will be a male director. Once you see it, you realize that it is the female POV. I think you write best about your surroundings, my children inspire all my films".

Helena Bonham Carter gives what has to be my favorite performance since she gave up frolicking about in Tuscany. She plays a mother with Tammy Faye make-up, puffing her way through endless fags whilst keeping (what must have been a continuity nightmare) an inch of fag-ash balanced precariously at all times. Scratching her laddered stockings with the back of her shoes she is constantly shrieking at her young son to "stop playing football".

Football shows a strong visual style not often seen which reminds me of the work of Terry Gilliam, Tim Burton and the Coen bros. Heightened color in the art direction and an imaginative use of camera levels and angles help to create a beautifully layered piece.

Gaby was also an actress for twelve years but felt that she wanted more than "To be a pawn in another mans film." She says this has made her an "actor’s director" who "will never act again." When asked why, she answered "Because I’m passionate about directing, there is more that I want to give than just by acting, and no, I don’t want to act in my own films!"

Not surprisingly she lists amongst her influences the Coen bros as well as Wong Kar-Wai and Diane Kuris.

Gaby, has made several short films and a segment of Tube Tales, and feels that being a woman filmmaker has put her at something of a disadvantage. Considering the amount she has done and the integrity of her work, she believes that she should be making a feature by now. Indeed she cites male colleagues who have made one short film and (maybe not even a great film) who have been offered feature films.

She is paying her dues and feels certain that she will get the feature very soon but it has been a long hard journey.
"There is this misapprehension that it’s a male’s job. Directing is a huge all encompassing, exhausting job, a powerful job. I ‘m a writer as well so I take it through to its final form. There is a misconception that women don’t have the staying power.

Of course I think that a woman with three children couldn’t be more qualified! Combining filmmaking and motherhood is hard, but I have an awful lot of energy. I find it incredibly fulfilling. Besides I can’t wait for the boys to grow up so that they can all be runners for me!"

Football has been in the official selection at Sundance 2001, the BBC Short Film Festival 2000 and showed at many cinemas in London before Bridget Jones Diary.

Winning the Fice award means that Football will also be distributed to cinemas across Italy.

Written and Directed by Gaby Dellal,
DoP: David Johnson,
Editor: Steve Gandolfi,
Music: David Ogilvy,
Cast: Helena Bonham carter, Ewan Stewart, Sam Williams.
Produced by Stray Dog LTD.

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