Lapse of Honour is the directorial debut of British actress Rayna Campbell. Set in Manchester, this gritty and realism filled film tells the story of two teenagers, Eve and Tom. The plot follows them as they struggle to overcome obstacles and problems that are thrown in their way including Eve’s distant and mentally/emotionally abusive mother and Tom’s drunk, drug dealing father. Eve has dreams of becoming a recording artist, but when she discovers she is pregnant everything changes. Things begin to spiral when Tom becomes involved in dealing drugs in order to make ends meet and support his unborn baby.
Lapse of Honour is an impressive and emotionally charged debut in a indie British flick style. Here Movie Marker’s Stu Greenfield speaks to Rayna Campbell.
Lapse of Honor is set in Manchester. Most gang related films seem to be set in London so this is a refreshing change. Oftentimes people seem to forget these kinds of issues stretch further than our capital. What made you decide to set the film in Moss Side?
I grew up in Hulme and Old Trafford and have family in Moss Side, so know it very well. It seemed like the perfect place to set the story.
The film appears to be written with a certain level of knowledge of this lifestyle. The language used etc. Is there any personal inspiration for the film? If not, where does that knowledge come from?
So many people ask this haha, they’re like how did a well-spoken young lady like yourself write such dialogue.
I am like a sponge. I absorb everything around me. I listen to grime music, I watch films, I listen to the young people around me and I have siblings much younger than me who have friends who talk and act like some of the characters and I also have an extremely vivid imagination. And yes, some of the story and characters are also taken from personal stories and incidences I heard about, which I amalgamated to create the storyline and characters. I also did some research into how things go down on the street.
So often art imitates life imitates art. Do you feel it is important to create films and art around socially relevant topics?
If it causes people to see things in a different light or make them question stereotypes or perceptions then yes. A friend of mine, Dionne Walker, produced a documentary called The Hard Stop about The Mark Duggan case. I saw it and it instantly changed my perspective of ‘hoodies’. It really moved something in me and made me think, you know I need to stop judging people by their outward appearance because it has absolutely no reflection on their character, life, thoughts, dreams or struggles.
If I am correct, Lapse of Honor is your first venture behind the camera. What prompted the move from actress to writer/director?
I still act, but initially I wanted to create more work for myself as an actress. I’ve always loved writing and because I wasn’t getting as much acting work as I wanted, I thought the only way to change that was to write my own stuff. I had initially wanted to act in Lapse of Honour but it took so long from initial idea to actual filming I’d outgrown the role I’d written for myself. I met a lady in Manchester who was working with what was North West Vision and she encouraged me to direct the film. I hadn’t thought of directing it myself before that. Once she planted the seed I started buying books and DVD’s on filmmaking and whenever I did any acting work I’d scrutinise everything carefully, taking notes. By the time I came to directing the film, I felt completely comfortable and discovered I actually loved directing.
The film is reminiscent of films by directors such as Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold and the realist, no frills style grit that they bring to their films. Who would you cite as your inspiration in terms of writing and directing?
Thank you. I’m always taken aback when anyone says that about the style of the film, it really is a massive compliment.
Inspiration in terms of writing; I love Richard Curtis, Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham and Shakespeare.
Directing; I love Andrea Arnold’s work, Paul Andrew Williams, Lenny Abrahamson and Pia Marais.
Is this the direction you will take in the future, or will you go back in front of the camera?
I’m going to continue doing both for the time being.
Thank you Rayna for taking the time to answer our questions. Be sure to check out this urban love story if you get the opportunity.