NRFF interviews Alfie Barker, Director of I WAS 3


Directed by Alfie Barker


Alfie Barker is a 21 year old emerging film director. His short film I WAS 3 was chosen as a finalist from over 800 entries at this years Sundance “Ignite” Competition, his biggest project to date starring the incredibly talented KATIE JARVIS (Fish Tank) which premiered at the BFI in London. In 2013, he graduated from the National Film and Television School (NFTS) Talent Campus, director of short film BEEN A RIOT. His fictional work has also had special recognition from directors Shane Meadows, Asif Kapadia, and Danny Boyle. Interview by Massimo Barbato, Creative Director, NRFF.

1. Congratulations on being a part of the 2018 edition of the New Renaissance Film Festival in London. How does it feel to be part of this summer’s programme?

Thank you v. much!! So pleased to be part of an incredible selection of films and have a screening at the Close-Up cinema in London. The selection of films are great and it’s so nice to see that I’ve met/know some of the other filmmakers who are also nominated in the categories.

2. What is the basic premise of I WAS 3?

Inspired by a true story. One morning Laura finds herself as “Missing” in a newspaper article, it soon becomes apparent that her childhood has been a lie.

3. What inspired you to make this film?

I had the idea to make this film for a while before I decided to start writing. I did some research in missing people cases and reading stories of people reconnecting after long periods of time away from each other. I got kinda fascinated. In particular, I was inspired by this one newspaper article that I read about a woman who shared her experience after she was abducted by her father when she was 3. She went onto explain how the clues became clearer and she found out by the time she was 18. I thought it would be interesting to explore her character finding out the truth of her childhood, after being fed lies all her life.

4. How did you cast for the role of Laura? How did you prepare Katie Jarvis for this emotional role?

I wanted whoever was going to play this role to keep it raw/real as I wanted to film it like a documentary. I needed someone that was full of character and I wrote this role with Katie in mind, she was my first choice. I remember getting an email the same evening I wrote to her agent, saying she’d read it and would love to be in it, I was so pleased. To prepare – I met Katie before production to speak about the story and what we are trying to achieve but we didn’t rehearse much as I like to save performance for when we shoot. I make it a priority to set up the world of the film and make it seem as real as possible for the actors. I loved working with Katie!

5. What was the greatest challenge you faced in making I WAS 3?

It was my first project shooting in London with a crew I had never worked with before and it was all shot on-location so it was pretty new to me. Three days before shooting my original DOP pulled out, I was so grateful when Mahalia stepped in – the camera work is amazing, she did an incredible job. I think with such a shoe-string budget it gave us a lot of restrictions in terms of getting crew on board and securing locations but we managed.

6. What was the most rewarding aspect of making the film?

The most rewarding part for me was when we screened it at Sundance’s Ignite showcase at the BFI last year, we literally scrambled to finish it for the screening. It was so nice to hear people’s reaction as we had finished the sound design the day before. Normally it takes a few months to get the film screened in front of an audience so we were lucky – that moment felt good, it was the achievement of finishing it.

7. Does the film have a central message you want to share with our audience?

It is a fictional story but there are elements I feel that emulate the real world; where people don’t have family around them. So be grateful for who you have around you.

8. What are your future plans for this film and are there any others in the pipeline you can talk about?

I want to continue entering film festivals with this project as it’s made for the big screen! Expect new content soon! I have TV mini-series that I directed, produced and edited coming real soon but not going to share too much yet. I’m in development with my next short film that has been pushed back a little bit – but it is coming and I’m excited to share it.

SCREENING at NRFF London 2018 on Friday 24.08.18, at the CLOSE-UP Cinema, Shoreditch. BLOCK J: YOUNG TALENT FILMMAKERS, 4.35-5.45 PM.