Using Cake and Film to bring Diverse Storytelling to Screen
I am partial to a bit of Great British Bake Off, Nailed It, and just generally consuming baked goods on a regular basis, so when director Emily Aquilar got in touch regarding her new short film Bries Bake Off Challenge I knew I had to give her a feature on the blog. If not for the amazing story and diverse cast and crew, certainly for the love of all things baked.
Starting her film career journey with the intention of becoming a Producer, an assignment at the film school she was attending soon turned that idea on its head. “The curriculum required me to direct at least one short film. I hesitantly gave it a go and ended up absolutely loving the process!” Emily said, “Seeing my vision and shots come to life was and still is the best feeling in the world, for me at least. And now, six years later, I have directed and produced three feature films with my third one being Brie’s Bake Off Challenge.”
The story for the film was inspired by Emily’s love of baking as well as the many cooking and baking shows that seem to swamp our televisions these days. “I wanted to create a film that everyone can enjoy and feel good watching, especially with all of the national and global issues happening around the world right now.” Emily explained, “When writing this story about this aspiring baker, I realised that watching someone bake and thrive for something more made me want to make something and thrive for something more as well.”
Brie’s Bake Off Challenge follows Brie, a middle-schooler accompanied by her best friend Millie, who aims to take on her arch nemesis, Vanessa, at their middle school’s Spring Bake Off and win the title of Bake-Off Champion. The film explores the daily adversities middle-schoolers traverse as well as presenting a diverse cast of characters of varying genders, sexual orientations, and cultures. “Brie’s Bake Off Challenge definitely represents minority groups in a fun and positive light.” Emily said, “It is immensely important for me to have a diverse cast and crew with all of my films. Over 60% of our cast AND crew are female, people of colour and of ethnicities from all seven continents.”
“I’ve experienced first hand what sets feel like when the cast is not diverse or inclusive, and it is not fun.” she continued, “I’ve also been cast as the stereotypical latin waitress or house keeper… I just kept thinking to myself that this does not accurately represent my ethnicity or community. It didn’t make me feel good.” Out of 100 Top Hollywood Films of 2018, 70 of them have absolutely no Latinas, 33 have no African American females, 54 of those films have no Asian females, and 89 have no LGBT females. “Experiencing the inequality first hand really pushes me to make sure that diversity and inclusion is the very first thing on my mind when casting and hiring production crew.” Emily said.
The film has already been shot and picture locked but needs a final amount of funding to get it through the end of post-production and into a final product. “Once the film is completed, we will be pitching the film to multiple companies. It’s a very exciting time because we have received a lot of interest and traction for the film already.” Emily explained, “We are still in post production, which means that we have not yet had the proper sound design, music and colour done to the film.” The Brie’s Bake Off Challenge GoFundMe page has been setup to assist finishing off this final stage. The deadline is the 15th of October and if you go to the site to donate there are even snippets of the film available to be viewed.
Emily talks about this film with so much passion and enthusiasm not only for the story, but her amazing cast and crew as well. “This film was a huge undertaking and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my amazing producing team, crew and of course, my cast. It’s an amazing feeling when everyone on set is striving for the same goal, to make the best possible film.” She said, “Our lead actress, Devyn Mitchell, who plays Brie Hayes, did an amazing job taking on the lead role and is a rising star in the film industry. She and her co-star, Delaney Disque, who plays Vanessa Weiler, Brie’s “arch nemesis’, play to each other’s strengths. Their performances were not only genuine, but fun to watch as well.”
I finished my interview by asking the most important question surrounding the film. How many baked goods do you think were consumed on set? “This is an amazing question!” Emily exclaimed, “Let’s just say there were thousands of calories consumed on this set; however, every single bite was #worthit!”
Make a contribution to Brie’s Bake Off Challenge and help complete the post production process.
The fundraiser will officially end on October 15th.