Writer and filmmaker Nat Luurtsema joined Norwich Film Festival for a screening and Q&A event. Nat’s comedic experience as a stand-up comedian were obvious through her humorous yet honest answers and interactions with the audience. Both her answers in the Q&A and the three films screened had the audience laughing together, creating a comfortable, fun atmosphere at the event. Yet Nat also balanced out the humour with useful advice for filmmakers about her writing process, her experience getting films funded and the value of short films as a starting point for new and aspiring filmmakers. Nat was open about her mental health and how the desire to spark joy during those struggles inspired her to write and create her early films. Nat also discussed the development of her career, which she started without any professional filmmaking experience, and how her process and experiences making films has developed since her first short film, Island Queen. Her exploration of new genres, like horror, and the similarities between writing for horror and comedy films was incredibly insightful. Both genres are about how to build and release tension, which is done effectively in her films which we were able to watch.
Three of Nat’s films were screened, across her career as a script writer and director. Three Women Wait for Death is a dark comedy about a mother and her daughters as they wait in their grandfather’s holiday caravan as he is terminally ill in hospital. The film is about family dynamics, finding strength and the comfort the three women can being each other, even if they seem at first like total opposites. The second screening, Ouzo and Blackcurrant, is a horror. Two young women revisit their old hangout, an old scrapyard slowly sinking into the ground. They realise they were not as good as they thought they were as something watches them from afar. The final screening was Island Queen, Nat’s (BAFTA nominated) first short film, ending the screening on a comedic note. Mim tries to grow up, which has disastrous and darkly comedic results, as she tries to decide if she is ready to leave the island that has always been her home. All three films share a female centric focus, with fun yet flawed characters and a great payoff at the end, whether comedic or terrifying.
Review by Ellie Jones