Interview – Kenton Hall (A Dozen Summers)

Maisie and Daisy McCormack are two ordinary twelve year old girls trying to make sense of life in the 21st century. Oh, and they’ve just hijacked a movie. This, the short synopsis to actor/director Kenton Hall’s first feature A Dozen Summers, is just a taste of the film he has created. Always entertaining, A Dozen Summers is a coming of age film that is utterly charming in its low-budget approach. It is also a family affair, as Maisie and Daisy are played by Hall’s real life daughters. I was recently so lucky as to interview Kenton, and our interview follows for your viewing delights.
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How are you feeling, it being a week since the film’s official release?

Well, we’re on a roll-out release – over the next few months – so it’s a little like being on tour. It’s still odd that people are actually getting a chance to see it but, happily, audiences seem to be enjoying it so far. For a little film like ours, it’s a happy time, if stressful.

What is it like being a parent to a pair of twelve year old’s?

Well, they’ve turned thirteen now, so it’s an entirely different ball games. Some days, it’s like having daily access to the most beautiful thoughts and funniest tangents in the world. Of course there are also the days when you could stand next to Jared Leto’s Joker and they’d give him the babysitting job.

Was there a specific moment with your girls that you realised how close to adulthood they are?

Oh, those moments are plentiful. It’s primarily when they start to psychoanalyse my parenting style, based on what they know about me. And they are usually – annoyingly – right on the money.

How did you relationship with your girls outside of the film translate into the picture?

It’s a shortcut. You work hard with any actor to establish trust and an emotional short-hand to help them find their performance. I had 12 years with Scarlet and Hero, so I think the fact that we trusted each other – making a micro-budget film with kids is a fairly daunting prospect – made the fun outweigh the fear.

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Were your daughters involved in the writing of the picture or were they more like muses during that period?

There are lines that are very much drawn from real things they’ve said – and they – and their friends – consulted on the script throughout. I wanted to serve their sense of humour as much as my own. That was kind of the point. Definitely muses. Even before I’d seriously considered them playing the parts.

What was it like directing Hero and Scarlet? Were there any family disputes?

Not disputes. They both like to have a reason for everything they’re asked to do. A very detailed reason. And sometimes, in the thick of it, you can forget to provide that. They’re not shy about asking you. But I was grateful for that. It goes back to having that relationship of trust. Mostly, they just kept reminding me to breathe. Which is also good advice.

How did you find being behind the camera for you first foray with such a lengthy feature?

Terrified. Primarily by the responsibility of making something of which all of the young performers could be proud. With next to no money and limited resources. Because I wanted to show them what you can accomplish with hard work. That there are rewards to hard work and dedication.

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And are you happy with how it all came together?

Are there things I would go back and change? Of course there are. On any film, but particularly a micro-budget film, there are technical things that you’d love to fix, where time and money and the learning curve tripped you up. But an audience will either engage with the story and overlook those things or they won’t. You can’t worry about that overly. I’m so incredibly proud of the work that everyone put in and of the film itself. It was an impossible task and we did it anyway. Together. That’s not something that can ever be taken away from anyone involved. And everything we learned will go into the next film and the film after that. You never stop learning. But this film will always have my heart.


Wilson Reviews wishes Kenton and A Dozen Summers all the best for the future and suggests that we all visit www.dozensummersmovie.co.uk right this second. Seize the day.

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2 thoughts on “Interview – Kenton Hall (A Dozen Summers)

  1. Pingback: Top 5 – August Favourites | Wilson Reviews

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