Exclusive Interview with Monique Needham – “Someone told me a story about a date where the guy got up to go to the Cashpoint when the bill arrived”

Cashpoint, the short film by the incredibly talented director Monique Needham tells a story which we believe a lot of women will be able to relate to, especially in today’s society when it comes to online dating. We had the absolutely pleasure of talking to Monique and ask her about the inspiration behind the short, whether she is planning to turn Cashpoint into a feature film, the cast in Cashpoint, what she hopes people will take away from her film and a lot more!

For someone who hasn’t seen Cashpoint, please can you describe the film.

It’s about a young woman who tries online dating for the first time and is quite sceptical. Her scepticism subsides as the date goes extremely well but it ends in a way that has her extremely confused. 

What inspired you to create Cashpoint?

Someone told me a story about a date where the guy got up to go the Cashpoint when the bill arrived. When he came back he returned with no cash and the lady paid for the entire bill. It made me think, where did the guy go? Did he really go to the cashpoint? A part of me thinks he didn’t so I came up with my own theory of what happened and made a film about it. 

What would you like the audience to come away with after watching your film?

I want them to find the humour in it. Of course, the situation is not funny because if that happened to you in real life you wouldn’t be laughing. However,in hindsight it can often make you look back and laugh. Navigating the dating world can be an adventure both in real life and online, I want people to be able to relate to Camille and her experience and hope it sparks a conversation between friends about sharing their wildest dating experiences. 

What other directors, films or TV programs influenced this film?

I rewatched Baby Driver by Edgar Wright a lot, I love the grade on that film. I also watched Insecure by Issa Rae and Atlanta by Donald Glover over and over around the time of making Cashpoint. I enjoyed watching the interactions between the characters, they feel real and I believe that they have known each other for years. I also rewatched Ava Duvernay’s early film Middle of Nowhere. 

The actors in the film are outstanding, do you do use a particular directing style to bring out such brilliant performances? 

Thank you very much. I am so proud of Ani and Kadeem, they really nailed it! It helped that they already knew each other and also worked together to the chemistry and rapport was already there between them but in terms of directing style, I really wanted to give them the freedom to explore their characters. In Kadeem’s case the question is always, why did Craig do that? I asked Kadeem to come up with his own reasoning and play that out. With Ani, I have worked with her before so I know how to get the best out of her. So allowing them both to bring their vision and then giving them specific instructions to ensure it fit with the overall idea I had for the story was the goal and also made it an enjoyable experience. 

Is Cashpoint a proof of concept for a feature?

It could be, to be honest that wasn’t the intention but many people have been asking for more so maybe I’ll think about it. 

How has the film been received at screenings? 

So far it has screened at the London Independent Film Festival and everyone really enjoyed it, it was strange watching the film with people I didn’t know and with people who hadn’t seen it before. It was enjoyable to hear their reactions throughout. 

What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate?

When writing the script I had grand ideas of the restaurant we used, the street she would walk down however the small budget and limited time had changed all of that. The location we used was a coffee shop that allowed us to take over their space for the evening and night which meant our outdoor locations had to be in close proximity. It’s not easy finding quiet streets in the middle of Golden Square and Carnaby Street but we made it work. 

What is next for you?

When I was making Cashpoint I felt a little nervous initially and almost talked myself out of making it. Now my mind is in the opposite head space, I am eager and excited about my next project already started writing. I think I am on a roll now. Currently writing a TV pilot and my second short. 

How do people keep in touch with your work?

I am really active on Instagram, it’s my favourite social media platform. 

Instagram @getneeks

Twitter @getneeks

 www.getneeks.com

I make sure I keep everything up to date! 

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