Samuel Kay Forrest, the director of Queer film Hipbeat comes to YASS

Love is a revolution…Angy is a political activist fighting against the system while searching for love in the Berlin queer community. They protest by day and rave at night in the underground of the city.

Based on true events, HipBeat is a narrative film that contains moments of realism- protests in Berlin provided inspiration. The film tells the story of a political activist fighting against the system while searching for love in the Berlin queer community. Inspired by the films of Jean Luc Goddard, John Cassevetees, Sidney Lumet, Martin Scorcese and Steve Mcqueen, HipBeat incorporates real elements of LGBTQ+ lived experience into its plot.

The film stars many promising actors, including Marie Céline Yildirim (Tatort, Pencil Knife Baton), Beatrix Michelet (Pink City), Andriana Manfredi (Another Girl, Days of Our Lives) and Filip Süt Rutkowski, Judy LaDivina and Helmut Wößner all make their acting debuts. Samuel Kay Forrest, writer and director, also stars in the film.

Extraordinarily, the crew were arrested whilst making the film at anti-fascist protests, which is a testament to the threat of democracy in the modern world. Universally, there is a heightened feeling of political unrest and those involved in the film’s production wanted to encapsulate this feeling.

Samuel Kay Forrest is an English, Canadian, and Dutch filmmaker who lives and divides his time between Los Angeles and Berlin. Samuel grew up travelling around Europe and North America from a young age. This has had a huge influence on his work. His formative teenage years were spent between London, Toronto and Los Angeles.

Samuel went on to settle in London to study theatre, performing as an actor all over the UK, sparking his passion for directing. Working with actors and collaborating with film crews fulfilled him with a fierce curiosity and love for stories. This interest for stories was the catalyst for him to learn as much as he could about film and led him back to Los Angeles where he went to film school.

After attending LA film school he starred in some independent films, including The Queen of Hollywood Blvd (2017), Groove (2017) and Born Dead (2017). Dissatisfied with this level of acting, Samuel decided to write and direct his first feature film HipBeat (2021). Additionally, Samuel has directed two short films, Invisible Borders (2021) and As I Dream (2021) on Paus.TV and Everyday is Friday – two new European streaming platforms. The short films will also be playing at the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival in France. Samuel stars in HipBeat, as well as acting and directing the film.

How would you describe yourself?

It’s hard to define or describe yourself as your actions are perceived by others. I’m uncomfortable talking about myself but I understand why your asking this question. I hope it doesn’t come off as ego or being arrogant but I would say I’m a risk taker, tenacious, compassionate, and non judgemental. 

How were your child years and when did you decide you wanted to be a director?

My childhood was filled travelling and moving constantly. My parents were always on a journey searching for something, perhaps a dream they were chasing. Travelling around the world had a huge influence on me. This was the first moments I remember wanting to tell stories. I would make short films with my siblings and friends. Traveling as kid and growing up in a bohemian family showed me the possibilities you could do with hard work, kindness and a curiosity. It taught me to be open, accepting, and loyal. 

What do you enjoy the most? Being a writer, an actor or a director?

I would say I enjoy them all equally. I’m inspired by each process differently. Each process teaches me something new and different. Although there is a freedom in showing up as an actor and deliver your lines and leave.

The film tells the story of a political activist fighting against the system while searching for love in the Berlin queer community. How did you come with the story? Is it based on real events?

Yes the film is based on true events, which was inspired by my journey, family, and friends. I also am inspired as a writer by the current events of the world and hopefully have pulse on the times.

Where did you get your inspiration from?

My younger siblings and my activist friends who inspire everyday to be proactive for change.

Did you have a clear idea of how you were imagining the movie from the beginning?

Yes but in the process of making the film things change and evolve. It’s always a surprise when the heart of the film reveals itself. 

Is it true that the crew were arrested whilst making the film at anti-fascist protests?

Not the crew, fortunately only me. I was at the front lines of the protest and caught in the middle of riot while filming but it was important to capture the authenticity and wasn’t thinking about my safety. I knew it was risky but truth is always worth it. 

What was the hardest part during the movie making process?

The editing and post production process, especially when you have a small budget. It’s where a film can be made or lost. 

Who are the people you admire and look up to?

Mike Nicols, Meryl Streep, Marlon Brando, Maya Angelou, Daniel Day Lewis, Sidney Poitier, James Baldwin, Monty Clift, Robert Deniro, Orson Welles, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, Sidney Lumet, Steve McQueen, and Agnes Varga to name a few. 

What are your future plans?

Im in post production of another film in Paris right now with my partners and collaborators that is a European and African co-production called Orango: Voices of My Ancestors. We are planning to release the film early next year if not before.

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