UK artist Sam Taylor-Wood has had her share of art-world accolades but was humbled by the chance to screen her first short film in Competition at Cannes.
'It's beyond exciting, it's such an honour and a privilege,' she says. The Film4-backed short Love You More also happened to be the only UK film in Competition this year.
The project started when someone she had met through friends, the late Oscar-winner Anthony Minghella, called her to say he had read a book that reminded him of her art work.
She says the call was great timing. 'I'd been thinking about making a film,' recalls Taylor-Wood, a Turner Prize nominee and a former winner of the Most Promising Young Artist at the Venice Biennale.
She and Minghella ended up working on a different book adaptation - The Story Of You by Julie Myerson - but she tried her hand at a short while it was in development.
Adapted by Patrick Marber from one of his own short stories, Love You More is about two teenagers (played by Andrea Riseborough and Harry Treadaway) who lose their virginity to a 1978 single by English punk band Buzzcocks. 'I know that music and I know that era,' Taylor-Wood says. The project, shot over five days in November 2007, had a budget of around $100,000 (£50,000).
'Shorts are often seen as a testing and training ground, but for me it was about seeing if I could tell a story,' she says. 'It's quite a challenge trying to condense a story for 15 minutes and getting people to care about characters.'
Love You More taught her that film-making was indeed a calling. 'I felt like I was in the right place doing the right thing,' she says. 'It made me realise I wanted to generate as fast as possible the next film.'
Despite Minghella's sudden death in March, The Story Of You is still very much going ahead, backed by Fil^m4. 'I had to put it aside for the past few months and come through all that stuff (after Minghella's death),' Taylor-Wood notes. 'We've just started to pick it up again.'
Abi Morgan is adapting the story about a middle-aged wife and mother who loses her child and cannot trust her own memories and visions. Minghella's Mirage Entertainment is still attached, and the film-making team is deciding who will now produce.
'The sad thing to me is that I keep wanting to e-mail or call (Minghella),' says Taylor-Wood. 'That's been really hard. But one of the last e-mails he sent me said, 'You've made a great film but keep at it, don't rest on your laurels.' Now it feels like a responsibility.'