‘Screwball’ is a hilarious short film on TrueTube where a young couple, Ryan (Alhaji Fofana) and Natalie (Savannah Baker) are faced with the pressures of ‘fulfilling’ their relationship by having sex! Will they do it, or will they ‘chicken out’?
The 12 minute film can be viewed on True Tube, a website for schools that provides videos, lesson plans and assembly scripts to help teachers use films in the classroom to generate discussion in a comfortable and fun way: https://www.truetube.co.uk/film/screwball
Anam Alam, a media volunteer with Shine, Newham’s Sexual Health Service for young people under the age of 24, interviewed the actors about the film along with reactions to it.
How did you find out about Screwball?
AF - My agent told me about the role and I went down and auditioned for it.
SB - I am an actress who has been working professionally in the industry for about 6 years; but acting has been a passion of mine from the age of 3. Q Management is the agency that I am signed to who represent me to casting directors. Adam (the director) saw interest in me and from that he invited me to an audition where I got the part.
Why did you choose to do this short film?
AF - It is my job to act and when I read the script, I thought that it was a good script and I was enthusiastic to do it.
SB - When I read the script for the first time I fell in love with it because of the strong message and impact that I knew this was going to have on younger people. I was very excited to work with an award winning director Adam Caliber; he is a very forward thinking man who had a fresh approach to sex education.
Are your opinions the same as the characters that you played in the film?
AF - Maybe, not 100%, maybe I’m not as honest as Ryan is because Ryan is very honest by the end of the film. But ideally yes, for the most part.
SB - Yes I do think that my character Natalie's opinions and mine are very similar. Natalie believes that the educational system has failed in teaching sexual education effectively and that's how she comes to realise that this is something that needs to change! I agree 100%. This is a natural part of life that needs to be discussed to educate the younger generation!
Who do you think this film would benefit and in what way?
AF - Young people I think, for people getting towards the end of secondary school like 13 towards 15, to let them be able to understand that it is okay to admit that you’re a virgin, you haven’t done ‘it’ before. It is okay to not know exactly what you’re doing and just being honest to your partner. Also, being very clear on consent.
SB - I believe this film will benefit not only children at school but also anyone who needs advice on the topic! One thing I love is that this film plays on Comedy, which we can all relate too! Who doesn't like to laugh? Hopefully with this film any questions unanswered will be answered.
Do you think it was useful to have facts about the law in the film?
AF - Yes, because a lot of kids don’t know that. I mean I did a coaching qualification when I was 17 and one of the things that were said there were ‘even though you might be 17 or 16, and if you have a girlfriend who is sending you nude pictures, that’s child pornography and you can’t have that’. So things like that are important for kids to know.
SB - I thought it was very clever having facts about the law in the film because that's information that most people don't know. Personally I had no clue that those laws even existed. It is definitely a subject that we need to be talking about so people know boundaries and what is right and wrong in the eyes of the law!
How do you think society has reacted to the video?
AF - Positively I think.
SB - Hopefully society will love Screwball as much as I do! This is cutting-edge new material for pupils to learn about this issue. It’s entertaining and witty, a modern film that hooks any audience! I think society has been waiting for a short film like this for too long.
How much of an impact do you think you have made in the short film?
AF - I really don’t know, I guess it depends on the people that watch it.
SB - Not so much me, but I'm a character, as you meet Natalie not Savannah in the film. She is very relatable and that's why I think she has made a massive impact! I hold the same emotions and opinions as she does so when being able to do an interview that's the impact I have on society.
Would you add in/change something to ‘Screwball’ and if so, what would it be?
AF - I have no idea. I really don’t know if I could change anything. The storyline is good.
SB - I wouldn't change a thing about Screwball as I think it's already well thought out and executed perfectly! Everyone involved did an amazing job and it was such a big film to be part off. I'm so delighted to be a part of the team.
What have the responses been like so far?
AF - I got a response from all of the teachers and they loved it of course and we’ve got some responses from the kids and they seem to be all positive. Maybe there were others that weren’t but I’m not too sure about that. But from what I know, they were positive.
SB - The responses have been out of this world! The targeted audience love it and also teachers are overjoyed with new material to educate their pupils. I’m so pleased with the responses so far.
Does the character’s experience reflect those of real young men and women?
AF - Oh yeah definitely. Guys love to lie and so they fake it until they make it (laughs) ‘oh I’ll fit right in’. I think a lot of people have done that.
SB - I do believe that Natalie does reflect on experiences of real young women. This is a nerve wrecking event with emotions running high but it's also a new exciting chapter in life. Young women can connect to Natalie easily and see themselves in her, that's what makes her so loveable!
Shine Sexual Health Service
We at Shine absolutely love the film as it not only reinforces the idea of not having to be pressured into having sex right away, but also because it provides an outlet for young people to be informally educated about sex.
We strongly believe that young people should watch ‘Screwball’ at least once to get a clear idea of what the message is behind the comedy as well as to watch something that is truly entertaining.
Find out more about Shine here