Brighton film director Eva Riley delves into world of petty crime

Brighton-set 85-minute feature film Perfect 10 is now out digitally on Curzon Home Cinema and the BFI Player, plus selected London-area cinemas.

Wednesday, 9th September 2020, 7:00 am
Eva Riley (C)Jamie Simonds
Eva Riley (C)Jamie Simonds

The film is part of BBC Films and the BFI’s Microwave scheme for debut film-makers – and comes from Brighton-based director Eva Riley, a National Film & Television School graduate.

Eva’s first short film was selected for competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Now comes Perfect 10 which had its premiere at the London Film Festival.

Now might still be a difficult time to be bringing it out, but the point is that the film industry has got to find a way to carry on.

“But more people are watching films at home at the moment, and with the online part of the release, hopefully that means more people are going to be watching it.”

Perfect 10 tells the story of a young gymnast who is rocked by the discovery of a half-brother she didn’t know she had. As he leads her into dangerous territory, she has to choose between his influence or pursuing her ambitions in sport.

“I wrote the film as well, and the first idea was that I wanted to make a film about a brother and a sister. I had not really seen that relationship in film.

“And often when I am making a film, I start with an image, and I had an image of a brother and sister having fun in the countryside, and I took it from there.

“I live in Brighton and I was living in Brighton at the time, and I wanted to use some of the countryside around here.

“The sister is the main character in the film.

“She has a half-brother that she didn’t know about at all, and he arrives in her life. The sister is a gymnast and she is struggling. She loves gymnastics but doesn’t quite have the confidence she needs.

“Her brother loves motorbikes more than anything, and he is involved in petty crime around motorbikes.

“When she arrives in her life, she isn’t very happy about it, but they start to hang out and she becomes involved in some of his criminal activities. I wanted to show a non-judgemental view of young people and petty crime.

“I had heard about petty crime around motorbikes, and I felt people weren’t really interested in looking at the circumstances behind this type of crime.

“When I make a film, I can’t stand films that are judgemental about the characters. I just wanted to look at these young people and their world.”

The film was made in and around Brighton two years ago.

“I am really proud of the film. I had two young actors that had never been in a film before.

“It was their first time, and it was quite a big gamble to use them, but I am really happy with what they did.

“I have worked with first-time actors before and there is a certain naturalness about them because they are not affected and they have not become jaded, and they have really good fun.”

And they also responded well to the improvisation Eva wanted: “I really feel there is a sense of spontaneity.

“It’s my first feature film, and I really don’t know how I feel. I would hope it gets good reviews, but aside from the formal reviews, I hope I get a sense that people are enjoying the film, and I want young people to enjoy it.

“I am not 17 years old, but I really hope that 17-year-olds will enjoy watching it.”