Magazine article Screen International

"I Am Not McDonalds": Amma Asante Urges Young Directors to Make Films Only for Themselves

Magazine article Screen International

"I Am Not McDonalds": Amma Asante Urges Young Directors to Make Films Only for Themselves

Article excerpt

Belle and A United Kingdom director discussed her career during a Q&A at the Glasgow Film Festival.

UK writer-director Amma Asante, whose credits include Belle and A United Kingdom, has told an audience of rising writers and directors at the Glasgow Film Festival to make films for themselves, not a potential future audience.

“It’s about telling the stories that do for you what you hope to do for an audience, knowing that you can’t hope to please all the people all of the time. You just can’t,” said Asante.

“There is saying on social media ‘Who asked for this?’ And I am like, ‘I am not McDonalds. This is not a drive-in and you don’t get what you order’,” she said. ”As an artist, your job is to challenge yourself as well as putting something out there that is hopefully something challenging to the culture and to the society. If you are only giving people what they are asking for, it is going to be derivative to a certain extent.”

“I am not thinking about the audience [when I am writing],” she continued. ”I think that is for the marketers and the financiers and that’s for people who are professionals at that. And I am not. If I try and write something for you, I would get it wrong.”

Asante won a Bafta for best British newcomer with her debut feature A Way Of Life in 2004. She went on to direct the period romantic drama Belle, which starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the real life Black aristocrat Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and was an independent box office hit in 2013, and A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo and Rosumund Pike, about the King of Botswana, Seretse Khama, and his marriage to a white British woman, Ruth Williams in the 1950s. …

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