Meet Helen Surtess, a London based Nurse who had been in the medical field for 32 years finally ventures into her long desired passion, Film production. Surtees debuts a true story, her story, ‘Victims LOVE Game’ this weekend over a red carpet and fine dining event. Read our exclusive interview with her to find the driving force behind her joining the movie industry, directing and producing her own movie.
INTERVIEW WITH FILMMAKER
Hi Helen Surtees, It’s lovely to have you, can you please introduce yourself a little more?
Yes, thank you. My name is Helen Surtees. I live in London, UK. I am a nurse by calling and profession, I became a nurse from a young age of eighteen and had been in the medical field for 32 years now. I have always had this desire to work in the film industry deep down, It’s surreal, I can’t believe I did it.
We’ve learned you’re premiering your first movie this Saturday, September, 22nd, can you please tell us more about this premiere?
Yes, the premiere will be on the 22nd September 2018, at double tree Hilton hotel in Dartford, London, I just can’t believe it is happening, I mean my movie premiere, it’s going to be a night of glamour and elegance starting with red carpet interviews, photography, cocktails, nibbles and 3 course meal for movie lovers who come to see my film debut.
What made you go into film production and what do you hope to achieve?
I have always had the passion from a young age but never believe I could pull it off, I didn’t know when the right time, or perhaps how to break into the industry.
At the age of eighteen, I became a nurse which I will say was my calling, since then I have always known that career because it was dear to me too, but deep inside within me, I also love filmmaking and had a great passion for it, but never knew how to go about it.
After my 50th Birthday, I had a turning point. Watching people around me producing and making their own movie, attending movie premieres, the stories, the glitz and glamour behind it all arose that passion in me again. Secondly, after going through a breach of trust by close friends that affected me in a big way, and after carefully thinking about it, I decided to go into storytelling.
When I started the production of this movie, I was in a very bad situation. The challenges where so much that I did not know where and who to turn to. I had to put my knees down and ask the Almighty God to direct me, give me the wisdom to know how to overcome my fears and worries.
So my aim for becoming a filmmaker is to be able to voice and support women who had been victimised in different aspects of their lives.
And young people who have also become victims or confused about life and their futures. I want to be able to give them some kind of support with my new trust. Helen Daniel Trust and get them back on track.
‘Victims Love Game’ sound very interesting, what made you decide to shoot and produce this movie?
‘Victims LOVE Game’ is based on a true life story, my story, something that has affected me for a very long time and had a very big impact in my life, so I decided to share it with the world through a movie, to have a closure of the whole circumstance. I know we all have stories and it depends on how we feel and go about it. This story will touch and affect a lot of people mostly those in a similar situation who never knew how to go about it. I believe people will watch, learn either relate and feel the impact of my story.
As your debut film, how long did it take you and your team during the production of this movie, getting actors together and executing production?
It took us to write and produce the movie for about one year. With it being a true story, it was much easier to put together.
During production, we had little breaks here and then thanks to unforeseen circumstances, Finding the right actors and shooting and location. The movie was shot in three different countries, which is London, France and Cameroon, so you can imagine working with a wider team to bring a movie together.
We can see some familiar Nollywood faces on the flier, was is difficult getting these actors together?
At the beginning of production, we found it hard to speak to the right actors for the movie with most of them busy with other projects. Working with London based actress Vera B Pride, was amazing, she made it happen and we were able to film with the most likeable Uche Odoputa.
Most female film producers we know are also actors, tell us, did you star in the movie and what role did you play?
Yes, this movie was also my acting debut. I played Agnes. This character is one of the victims, she was a foreigner who fell in love with a French guy but unfortunately, she couldn’t speak French fluently. Her friends became jealous and did everything possible to destroy the relationship, which affected Agnes, but without given much away I’ll let you see the movie and see how it happened because there was a lot of manipulation from Agnes so-called good friend, Destiny.
How do you feeling, knowing that your first production will be viewed by film lovers across the UK in a matter of days?
I feel existed and confident. I also thank God because without him this would not have been possible. Like I said this ‘Victim LOVE Game’ is my first production, I didn’t know much about movie production, I had a lot of challenges with people in the industry telling me all sort and demanding a huge amount of money to produce the movie, but I’m glad I challenged myself by taking on the project and production. As you can see, the movie is finally going to be screened.
I also just want to see the end result of what I have worked for since last year, I hope I’ll be able to impact peoples lives, especially women with this movie. And for my self, it is such a pleasure that I’m able to achieve my other passion finally.
We have young stars who started very young in filmmaking and production, I have been looking after patients most of my working life and enjoy what I do, but know I’m venturing into something different, something challenging and another passion of mine.
The movie is directed by no other than Prince Okoye, why him?
The movie was directed by humble myself, Helen Surtees, with co-directors Mery Huhn and Prince Okoye, it was a real journey but I’m glad we finally made it happen.
You have chosen a unique way to premiere his movie, with cocktails receptions, and 3-course meal and more, why not the usual cinematic experience?
Yes. It is unique. I just want to show and share with my friends and family the other side of me. I like class, elegance and a great evening. I had the choice of going through the regular way of premiering at Odeon Cinema, but I decided to settle for a dinner kind of premiere instead, you know make it more personal.
What do you hope to achieve at the premiere of Victims of Love Game?
My greatest accomplishment will be my guest seeing what I can do for the first time, I want my guests to be happy and feel the wow factor with my production, I want them to network, learn and have a great time.
I also want to be able to show them how much I appreciate their support. The fact that the movie will be shown around the world after the UK premiere will also be very fulfilling too.
My Friend Mercy made everything in France to happen during production and filming. without her, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve my France scenes which is where most of the important scenes took place. As my aim was to film ‘Victims LOVE Game’ in the exact location.
Nollywood filmmaker, Prince Okoye is God sent. I say this because of how and where I met him. God sent him to help me achieve my dream. The impact and input is very much appreciated.
Where and how can one buy tickets?
For tickets call me on 07833694020
Thank you very much for your time.
African Glitz team will be there live to cover the film premiere red carpet interview with pictures and video highlight-ready after the premiere.
Congratulations once again Helen, you had come a long way and we look forward to capturing and documenting your film debut.