Interview: Elaine Constantine talks Northern Soul

Director Elaine Constantine (left) with Lisa Stansfield (right)
Director Elaine Constantine (left) with Lisa Stansfield (right)

Big dreams are always worth fighting through hardships to make them come true. But those seemingly justified hardships not always bring needed success. In Northern Soul you will get a right amount of everything in order to realize what the youth culture of the 1970s can bring in order to change generation. But more importantly, it shows the real power of black American soul music and its ability open up the horizons of those who are willing not only discover it, but live with it afterwards.

Elaine Constantine cleverly captures the Northern Soul movement showing us how important is to feel the music the way it`s been felt by two charismatic friends, whose life is about to change significantly.

This is why I am very pleased to post my interview with filmmaker, Elaine Constantine with whom I had an absolutely delightful time chatting over the phone to find out a bit more about Northern Soul.  

Note that NORTHERN SOUL will be opening at the Carlton Friday, Oct 23rd, and is available nationally on iTunes and VOD.

MOVIEMOVESME: What made you to make a film about music, like Northern Soul?

Elaine Constantine: I got into music when I was a young girl living in and around Manchester and the music I heard in music club was really unusual. And I asked someone, “What is this music?” And the answer was, “This is a Northern Soul.” And I kept thinking of the Northern Soul without knowing what it was. And when I went to the dance floor, I could not believe how amazing they looked when they were dancing. So I followed this movement all my life. And now all of my friends applause it to see it. So the question is, why it`s really happened? (laughs)

MOVIEMOVESME: Can you talk about the development of the story?

Elaine Constantine: I wanted to tell the story like a typical northern soul experience. So I didn’t want to push in a crazy idea that was not typical, if you know what I mean. I wanted to make it as real as possible to make it how it was. So I took some characters that were friends of mine and I deigned the script revolved around those characters and sort of things they were dealing those times. And so it is an ordinary experience in a way but wonderful for these kids who come from hardworking backgrounds.

MOVIEMOVESME: Can you talk about the process of selection of songs?

Elaine Constantine: So obviously they were my favorites. My favorite over the years have been “The Corrs”; they’ve always evoked a lot of emotion and feelings. I listened to their records so many times. This is a kind of record that brings a lot of atmosphere to situation. Records that me and my friends after dancing would not have any choice to sit down. With those records it was impossible not to go to dance floor and dance to them. So the music wasn’t hard to choose from, they’re just my favorite, you know.

MOVIEMOVESME: How did you manage to find your lead cast, Elliot James Langridge and Josh Whitehouse, because they seem like they belong to that era?

Elaine Constantine: Yeah, we trained a lot of young people to dance. With Elliot I`ve been working within six years. And I did not know that I`m going to work with this young actor for six years. We were trying to raise a funds within a year or two. So it took a long, long time. So in a way the reason you see the absorbed person in music is because they were living in it. Elliot and Josh really lived in it. They danced so often to so many of those records that we made to go over all the clubs. We made them understand how people lived in the time. So they had a years of training that made them to fall in love with the music themselves. So in the end, they were really prepared. They felt it the same way we discovered it. So what you see in the film is all really because they felt all those tracks.

MOVIEMOVESME: Can you talk about the production design in terms of cinematography and direction?

Elaine Constantine: We insisted that everything stay as true to life as possible. So we did not shoot anything in the studio. So everything was real, there was no false backgrounds or fake locations or anything like that. I wanted it to be very dark. I did not want it to be like a backlit sunshine. So I wanted to be all about the night. Because the eighty percent of movie story was happening at night.

MOVIEMOVESME: You have a rich history in photography, so what inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Elaine Constantine: As a photographer I’ve always worked to create a strong character and to try to achieve that in one image is quite a challenge. The reason I was successful was that I know how to bring emotion to an image, to make people believe in it. So much of moviemaking is about that. So I found it an easy process to go from one discipline to another.

MOVIEMOVESME: While making the movie was there something new you learned which you didn’t know before?

Elaine Constantine: Not about the Northern Soul thing, but I discovered lots of things about filmmaking. I kind of felt intimidated by the prospect of directing a film but having gone through that, and it’s been a success, so you feel good as a filmmaker.

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