British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

An interview with The Cut producer, Akil Higgins

Hi Akil, congratulations on winning the Student Documentary Award at this year’s ceremony. How did it feel to win?

The Cut was the first film we made, so it felt great to win and to see my mum cry tears of happiness…and having my girlfriend, nan and university tutor there was amazing. Looking at the other films in our group it was up against some stiff competition – I would like to say well done to everyone in our group because anyone could have won.

What is your background as a filmmaker? Is it something you’ve always wanted to do?

I first got involved in filmmaking when I was in college and my teacher, who was also a filmmaker,asked if I wanted to be a runner for his film. It was a great experience as it was my first time being on a film set and made me look at filmmaking more seriously. I love making films, the journey you go from pre-production to production to post-production and then seeing the final product…it’s a great feeling!

Tell me a little bit about your film? What was the inspiration behind it?

Well, firstly I would like to say thank you to Gareth for letting us film in his shop. The Cut was made for my final year project. I’ve known Gareth, the shop owner, for years from getting my haircut there. One day when I was waiting to get my haircut I started to look around and listen to the different sounds in the shop: the clippers and the discussions, which I thought was amazing. One-minute people would be talking football; then in the blink of an eye, women; then a few seconds later, politics. The Cut is an everyday look into the black barbershop, people walk past and look inside and seem fascinated, so I thought this would be a good idea to showcase black culture. I looked at shows such as The Chicken Shop as inspiration because it was simple and well produced. The characters make the show, as the viewer gets to know them…and that’s what we wanted for the The Cut. Another show I looked at was The Desmonds. I loved watching that show when I was younger and it was one of the first programmes I remember which had an all-black cast

Why is it important for you to get recognised at the awards?

It gets your name recognised on a national level. It lets me know that I’m doing something right and that I should keep going…next stop is the BAFTAS!

What’s next for you? Anything you are working on at the moment you can tell us about..?

Making more films! I would love to make a comedy and horror movie, as I feel I could bring something new to the table in those genres. We are shooting more episodes of The Cut so look out for that, and I have another idea for a documentary but I am still in pre-production. Who knows, maybe I could be a guest speaker at the awards one day…watch this space…

Thanks Akil, best of luck in the future. I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again!