Filmmaker 5 with Lola Atkins: Purple Beatz
British independent feature Purple Beatz takes a trip back to the underground drum ‘n’ bass music scene of 1990s London. Music-driven and starring Izzy Jones as an aspiring singer, the coming-of-age story explores the challenges of pursuing your dreams and not losing yourself in the process.
Purple Beatz features a strong diverse, female-led cast and crew and is available on VOD in the UK and U.S. Our Classic Couple Academy interview with Purple Beatz writer and director Lola Atkins follows.
Filmmaker 5.1: How is Purple Beatz a London story?
Purple Beatz is set and shot in London, the story is also centred around London, focusing on the nightlight, architectural structures, and the vibe that makes the city special and distinct.
Filmmaker 5.2: You worked with a female-led cast and crew for this film. How is this telling of a young woman’s story strengthened by these collaborator choices?
I believe having a female-led crew subconsciously impacts a female lead performance. At times, some actresses may feel slightly uncomfortable in certain situations when carrying out a role, especially when the environment is heavily testosterone driven. So, more and more women, especially female actresses are calling out for an eclectic mix and more women present, to help balance out the set.
Filmmaker 5.3: What were the most important aspects of your relationship with Izzy Jones as you directed her to bring your lead character Sarah-Jane to life?
Trust, freedom, execution, magnetize the screen, centre herself within the character.
Filmmaker 5.4: As the film’s writer you explore the conflict of who you are with the pursuit of who you wish to be in an artist’s coming-of-age story. How much of your writing was informed by your own experience as an artistic person?
A lot of my personal experience was translated in the story. The desire to pursue my filmmaking career path is a constant challenge and a battle I face frequently, so I was able to look at the character in Purple Beatz and relay my emotions, worries, concerns, joys and hopes authentically.
Filmmaker 5.5: Purple Beatz is your first full-length feature. How would you describe this filmmaking experience compared with your as a short-film filmmaker?
Surreal, empowering, and overwhelming. The film has transcended and reached parts of the world my shorts never got to. Also seeing the words I created dancing along the screens in someone’s home is so enthralling and makes me feel more content, fulfilled and comfortable in my filmmaking path.