Beth Bayes on Sweet Like Poison / by Sian Parker

Sweet Like Poison 's promotional still.

Sweet Like Poison's promotional still.

At the beginning of 2018, we shared a post welcoming in the new year, and detailing how we would love for to become a space for our members to write for too. With this in mind, A Film Club reached out to Beth Bayes to find out more about the current project they are working on. We'll hand it over to Beth to introduce themselves and the film...

I am a third year student at Brighton Film School. This is my final project and my graduation film. I've written it and will be directing it too! I've been writing, directing and producing all through film school but decided to major in directing as it's what I enjoy the most.

So, tell us about the film! What’s the premise?
It's a short film called Sweet Like Poison. It tells the tale of a girl named Dolly who's individuality makes her an outcast. Her loneliness leads her to dream up some dark fantasies. When she is the only one not invited to a class mate's birthday party she decides enough is enough and it's time to turn her fantasies into a reality. It's a relatable yet cautionary tale about consequences and fitting in.

Beth Bayes (Center) alongside actors Lauren Cole (Left) and Louise Marguarite (Right) on the set of  Friend Request .

Beth Bayes (Center) alongside actors Lauren Cole (Left) and Louise Marguarite (Right) on the set of Friend Request.

Where did the idea come from? 
It actually came from the film that I made in my second year which was about a girl who attracted the attention of an online stalker [Friend Request]. It was mostly set in the main character's bedroom which was just our film school's set which we decorated with lots of pink and fluffy things and a lot of fairy lights.

I really liked that the background was so pretty but the story of the film was very dark. I knew I wanted to take this to the extreme so I came up with a character who appeared really innocent but had a sinister side to them. That's how I came up with Dolly. The story has changed quite a lot since then but Dolly and the overall look of the film has remained the same.

Who and what are the film’s main influences - stylistically and narrative-wise? 
I have taken influence from a lot of different places not necessarily just films. For example, Melanie Martinez is a singer who inspired the character of Dolly quite a lot. She directs all her own music videos and they have a very similar style to the one I want, with lots of girly and creepy visuals mixed together. This is also similar to an artist called Mark Ryden who I've been obsessed with for quite a while.

The Neon Demon (2016) by Nicholas Winding Refn was also a huge influence on this film. Both stylistically (the lighting in that film is phenomenal) but also narratively. The main character, Jessie, is young and innocent just like Dolly and this alienates her from the other characters.


Beth Bayes pictured with DOP Gryff Bevan (Left) and Camera Assistant Jordan Wright (Right) on the set of  Friend Request .

Beth Bayes pictured with DOP Gryff Bevan (Left) and Camera Assistant Jordan Wright (Right) on the set of Friend Request.

When will the film be released and where can we watch it? 
This is a tough one! We have to have the film completed by May but we want to submit it to film festivals and most of them don't like you to have the film up online already. So I'm not sure yet, sorry! But if you donate to our crowdfunding campaign then you will receive a special private link to the film in May!

And where can we find more about it in the meantime?
So I am posting behind the scenes videos to my youtube channel every week! This includes behind the scenes of our location recces, test shoots, updates about casting and anything to do about the film! I'm also planning to do some more general film school related ones too. My channel is just bethbayes if you want to subscribe to that. You can also follow us on facebook (Sweet Like Poison) and twitter @sweetlpfilm where we post regular updates.

You can also find out loads more information about the film, storyline and crew members on our Indiegogo page! We are trying to raise £1000 to provide everything we need for our film including a location, special effects and paying our actors which is something film school students often aren't able to do. We're nearly 50% funded with a couple more weeks to go which is very exciting! Plus if you donate you will get your name in the credits, a special link to the film before anyone else and many more cool perks. You can find our page here.

Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, Beth and we wish you all the best of luck with the film! To keep up with Sweet Like Poison, check out its TwitterFacebook pageIndiegogo campaign and Beth's YouTube channel.