Interview with Lydia Rui (Director of This Perfect Day)

Hello Lydia thanks for agreeing to speak to me. Firstly, I’d like to ask where the idea for this film came from?

Thank you so much for interviewing me! It’s my honour. The idea for the film is rooted in a personal premise which I shan’t elaborate on for those who haven’t seen the film yet :).

What was the casting process for the film like?

It was frenzied — we had less than two weeks to cast! And it was one of those moments where my faith in the film gods (I truly believe them to be a thing) led me to find Michelle Keating, who plays Jules. I’d seen them on a casting website one morning — an account which they’d not been active on for a long time — and later that day, found them by chance in person at a film festival. I essentially accosted them in a public bathroom after waiting in a long queue and am fortunate they were not too frightened by my advances to give me their number! I’d seen quite a few people already but after auditioning Michelle, we knew we’d found our lead.

What has the reception to the film been like?

It’s been moving — many people have come up to me and told me it’s resonated with them, that the situation felt personal to them or even if it wasn’t, still felt familiar. I think the best litmus test is when strangers approach you — find out your email in their persistence to tell you how much it meant to them. I’ve had a number of people also tell me to hurry up and make the feature!

How important is music to you?

Music is very important to me, it’s its own character. It’s all part of the orchestration of the narrative journey.

How important was it to ensure that the people involved in the project were predominantly women or was this something that wasn’t planned but happened naturally?

It happened naturally — and it’s not that the entire crew is predominantly women, I would say it’s the department heads which were. I am keen to foster a nurturing set, one rid of alpha types. The set needs to feel safe in order to be collaborative and allow us to reach our highest potential.

Was it important that this film felt inclusive for all audiences?

That wasn’t at the forefront of my mind, but I am drawn to depicting underrepresented characters — characters who have been overshadowed.

Why do you think films like this are important, particularly now?

I think it’s important to make films with LGBTQI+ characters which don’t make sexuality the sole focus of their identity. We have interior and external worlds, past and future woes, that we grapple with beyond the struggle of sexuality. We / they are not ‘Other’.

How does this film compare to other films you’ve worked on?

I’m really just at the start of my career! This is only the second narrative film I’ve made — the first being my student film. When I made my student film, I didn’t quite understand the parameters of ‘a short’ — I was trying to tell too much in too short a time and did everything you were not meant to do. This film is much more contained, made quickly and with limited resources.

What do you hope audiences will take away from this film?

My hope is that they will feel empathy for both characters, that they will come away surprised, and moved. And that even if things don’t go as planned, if expectations don’t meet reality, it was still worth overcoming your fears anyway.

What future projects have you got planned?

I’m in development for a feature film right now, still in the research and writing phase, as it’s based on a true person — we are working closely together to make it as authentic and powerful as possible.

 With thanks to Lydia Rui 


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