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26th October 2021

Grimmfest 2021: Slapface – Poignant, haunting and cerebral

Mirabelle Lee and August Maturo star in Slapface and talk to us about their experiences on set
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Grimmfest 2021: Slapface – Poignant, haunting and cerebral
Photo: Slapface, courtesy of Grimmfest

Written by Frederick Crane-Robinson.

Despite starring in the film, actors Mirabelle Lee and August Maturo were too young to watch their recent film Slapface at its UK premiere.

Slapface follows Lucas (August Maturo), a young orphan struggling in school. Bullied by the unpleasant twins in the neighbourhood, Lucas retreats into his own world and plays in the forbidden woods near his home. Stumbling upon Virago (Lukas Hassel), a witch rumoured to live in the forest, Lucas begins to form a bond with this strange figure as his struggles at home increase.

Photo: Slapface actors Mirabelle Lee (left) and August Maturo (right), photo by Benjamin Klauber-Griffiths @ The Mancunion

Director Jeremiah Kipp took a very hands-on approach to work with younger actors, reports actress Mirabelle Lee when The Mancunion spoke to the two lead actors earlier this week. Backstories and plot details were often decided on set. Similarly, Maturo reported that Kipp was very receptive to going off-script.

A crucial moment towards the end of the film was apparently the lead actor’s idea, a scene that allows many of Slapface’s social criticisms to transcend the film and reach audiences. A horror lover himself, Maturo relished the chance to put his acting talents to the test alongside his now close friend, and talented performer Lee.

Kipp’s unusual directorial style certainly stands out. A cerebral and often baffling plot leaves audiences more confused than gratified. However, impressive performances from its young stars drive the story forward despite its structural flaws.

The two left us with a parting piece of advice for any wannabe actors; expect to get a lot of no’s but don’t let that affect you. “Keep turning up, going to classes, and doing what you love”. An important message for everyone.

4/5.


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