Professor Stefan Allesch-Taylor CBE is a British entrepreneur, philanthropist and executive producer. Stefan has executive produced 15 shorts and is a Judge and Partner of the Best of Fest Award for TriForce Short Film Festival 2017. We caught up with Stefan ahead of the Festival…
How did you get into the film industry?
I was always a keen film lover, however I didn’t get involved in the industry until 2008. A friend suggested I became an executive producer of Africa United, the British comedy about a group of Rwandan children who travel 3,000 miles across Africa to get to the World Cup in South Africa. After chatting with director Debs Gardner-Paterson, I felt inspired enough to get involved. Instead of going on to make more features after Africa United, I switched my attention to shorts. Once I chose to engage in film I decided I would rather support film makers and talent that are ‘on their way’ with a focus on what I hope is broadly seen as ‘quality’ film making.
What drives you to want to work in film?
For me, helping emerging filmmakers from as many backgrounds as possible (I won’t say ‘young’ because age is no barrier) is part of creating a more inclusive society. I think the need for that has never been greater than now for a host of reasons. Hence my involvement with TriForce, a short film festival that champions diversity, bringing together emerging film-makers with industry movers and shakers. This year I’m proud to be a judge and partner of TFSFF. I don’t care what ethnicity or nationality you are, if you are in the film industry in this country then we all need to be making a stand in an industry we all love but recognise is in serious need of reform across a broad spectrum.
The winning team of TFSFF 2016 had the opportunity to pitch their next project to you. Can you explain the pitching process and most importantly, what are you looking for?
It’s a good question, but to be frank the pitching process is very much in the hands of the director and actors – it’s creative so by its very nature I avoid any kind of format that may ‘box them in’ to fit any preconceived ideas I may have.
You’ve continued to work with last year’s winning team, Glow, and are funding their next short film. What stood out to you about their next project?
I’m not telling you! Spoiler alert, wait for the short to be premiered.
What makes a short film successful in your opinion?
My advice in making a short film could go on for days. If I try to simplify it I would say don’t be afraid of silence! Talking heads don’t work very well, pedestrian scene setting dialogue should be dropped for great visuals, a look can say much more than words. Embrace music and scenery and make your characters memorable. We don’t have much time to get to know the characters and care about their story. You must avoid predictability, be unpredictable in the first minute and in the last minute.This last piece of advice is controversial – and very much ‘one man’s opinion’ but try to end on an upbeat note if you can! In my experience even in the darkest places of humanity hope can be found, and leaving an audience with a sense of hopelessness isn’t for everyone!
Stefan will be presenting the Best of Fest award at TFSFF at BAFTA on 2 December. Book your tickets for the festival at tfsff.com
Follow Stefan: https://twitter.com/StefanMeansBiz