WAES student's big screen premiere
Former WAES student Nihat Seven had his third feature film, Little Happiness, premiered at Turkey’s international film festival in October, picking up awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor at the event.
WAES caught up with Nihat to quiz him about his inspiration, his influences and his filming secrets.
Tell us about your film Little Happiness
Little Happiness is about those people leading small lives, about soul-searching directed towards their loved ones, towards life in general but mainly towards themselves - only to fall into big predicaments.
This is my first Turkish film, shot in Istanbul near to where I grew up, over a 6-week period back in January 2013. We spent 12 or 13 hours a day out in the cold, often with snow – it was hard work! But I like to think we shot something beautiful. It gave me a different energy and inspiration to filming in the UK.
How does it feel to have your latest film selected for viewing at the 50th Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival?
It’s fantastic – it has been a long journey to get here. I’ve been working on some post production editing with Nigel Galt (known for his work with Stanley Kubrick) before we take the edited version over to Turkey.
In being selected for the festival and winning awards for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, the film was shown in front of over 500 people – many of them influential – as well as the jury who awarded the winners.
Little Happiness has already had some great PR over in Turkey, in various newspapers. That kind of coverage is great for us – and too expensive to buy! The festival has been great publicity for Little Happiness. Success with this film will mean that circumstances will be even better for the next one, which is a UK production set in the south west of England.
How long did you pursue your dream of being a film director? Ever since I was a child that was all I ever wanted to do! Even when I was studying for my initial degree in computer science, I spent much of my time in the video shop, hiring the latest films. I quit my course after a year and a half to retrain – I knew that directing was my true calling.
You had a 10 year gap after your first set of short films – why was that?
I learnt so much during my degree and I thought I had what it took to succeed but I just didn’t have the experience that a film-maker needs. I made my short films and was working on a feature film too, but I buckled – there was too much pressure and I didn’t cope well.
So I went back for more study. I studied a BTEC in film production as well as a film directing course with WAES. I needed to grow and I wanted to experiment - WAES allowed for that. I studied an acting course too to broaden my knowledge, to help me learn the ‘language’ of film. Colleges like WAES are crucial for film makers like me.
Who are your influencers?
I especially admire the works of Derek Jarman, Bill Douglas and of Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski – all have inspired or influenced me in one way or another, especially Jarman’s experimental work.
As in some of their work, I try to go the extra mile – to explore and portray my characters beyond convention.
Share with us your secret for smooth film production.
Well for me it’s about having my team together – I tend to work with the same group of people. That way I get the reliability from my crew - things happen quickly and they know how to interpret the vision I set out.
What is your advice to those starting out in film directing?
As almost every film maker will tell you, the main challenge is funding. Knock on doors – film companies, corporate companies. Believe in yourself and be persistent.
Work hard, learn more. Someone out there will believe in what you have.
Film trailer: Little Happiness (Warning: contains adult language)
Nihat Seven talks about his film Little Happiness
Nihat Seven profile
2013 Little Happiness (feature film)
2012 Candle to Water (feature film) 2010 Forty Broken Words (Short) 2010 Love Tales (feature film) 2000 Shadow Loves
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