Shakeelah Archibald, an Art Department Trainee and member of Film London's Equal Access Network (EAN), recently viewed the new festive film Boxing Day at a special screening in the heart of London. Here she shares her reflections on the film as well as her journey into the industry and creative inspirations.
Last year I joined the EAN and was overwhelmed by the amount of support and free advice accessible once you become a member from the incredible team. The Equal Access Network is filled with career opportunities, workshops, training events, masterclasses and so much more. Since joining, I have gained experience in junior/ trainee roles and the Boxing Day screening is another experience I was fortunate enough to watch along with other EAN members.
Boxing Day is inspired by the life of first-time director Aml Ameen (Yardie, I May Destroy You) and the story follows Melvin (Aml Ameen), a successful British author living in America, who returns home to London for Christmas to introduce his American fiance Lisa (Aja Naomi King) to his Caribbean family. Set against the backdrop of London’s British Caribbean community, it portrays modern family dynamics from outdated ideas from the older generation and new ideas from the younger generation.
The plot is a spin on Richard Curtis’s romantic comedy Love Actually. The opening monologue “we’ve never been more disconnected from each other,” and a scene where Melvin spells out his love for Lisa through a series of placards - with a monologue like this, it has never been more true to our audience today. The colours in the film are used to portray various meanings such as red to show love, affection and regret, and blue for unity throughout the feature. Unity is shown towards the end of the film; it also recurs for different characters.
The cinematic style of the classic opening scene draws reference to Rear Window (1954) by Alfred Hitchcock, in this scene the camera pans in on Lisa and pans out on Melvin showing the different levels of emotions from these characters. Boxing Day reminds me of something I haven’t seen before: the underlying message about family and amending relationships is executed really well. I also really enjoyed Aml Ameen's music score, with tracks that give a lot of reminisce.
Shakeelah's journey into the industry
I continue to have a very positive and rewarding relationship with the EAN, since joining last year in October. I feel a pull to work in this industry because of the power filmmaking has, how stories are being told and portrayed.
What inspires me to be creative? In 2017 I discovered contemporary video artist Bill Viola, his work focuses on the ideas behind fundamental human experiences such as birth, death and aspects of consciousness. Using earth, wind, fire and air elements throughout his work, merging his influence and the beauty in art on screen and to also be able to recreate a time-period which may have been lost or even forgotten through art direction.
Boxing Day is now out in cinemas across the UK.