Before Brooke Burfitt moved to Bermuda, she had begun to carve out a career in television, radio and the news.
When her husband got the offer to work on the island, the English actress and producer said she could never be content “just sipping cocktails by the pool”.
Since February 2015, she has produced two feature films, and is about to star in her second BMDS production, The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Wife.
Her first feature By Any Means will screen at Biff this month.
The 28-year-old talked to Lifestyle about how she pulled it all off.
How did you get involved with BMDS?
When I moved to Bermuda, I didn’t know anyone apart from my husband’s work colleagues. I worked as an actress and I love live performances. I did Shakespeare in the Park last year. It was one of the best theatrical productions that I’ve done in terms of rehearsals, direction, production value, the talent. When I got an audition notice for Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Housewife in my inbox, I read the synopsis and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
You won the role of Willadean Winkler, the titular wife. Tell us about her.
She’s been married since she was 17 to J.D. and life hasn’t turned out as she would have hoped. This is a story of getting enough strength to leave a difficult marriage. It’s a very emotional play with lots of comedy. Really heavy subjects, which cover racism and domestic violence, but the script is hilarious. These dark moments are peppered with comedy dialogue. The actors are crying in certain scenes and laughing their heads off in others.
Speaking of marriage, you moved for your husband’s job. Since then, you have produced two feature-length films. How did you do it?
I have to have goals, ambitions and dreams. Once I’ve achieved something, I feel like it can’t be that great if I’ve done it, so there’s got to be more.
I have to push myself. I must get it from my parents. My father is going to be 80 on his next birthday, and is already starting his next career, so I think I’ll always be that way.
When I arrived [the Bermuda International Film Festival] was on and they had a course about starting to produce. I was so inspired that I said by September of this year, I would produce my first feature film.
I worked as hard as I possibly could and produced a feature film, which is now going to be released worldwide on June 27.
Tell us about the film, By Any Means.
A reality show star whose fame is dwindling, gets kidnapped after a nightclub appearance. I play Mimi Wyatt. She builds a relationship with her captor and when she’s released she goes to the police to report the incident, but the police have to work out the truth from what is a front-page story — how much is reality and how much has been fabricated for publicity?
Your American accent is very convincing. Did you have a dialect coach?
Mimi Wyatt’s character is based on a combination of a couple of high-profile celebrities. I studied them from interviews and their shows and created Mimi Wyatt. I was half copying their accent and also making it my own, being confident with it and trying not to worry too much.
Willadean has a southern accent. They’re in Mesquite and everyone in the production has a southern states accent. I have tried to soften mine a little because of my character. You’ll see that the stronger characters in the play have a thicker accent, which suits their role.
Was it difficult to meet your own deadline?
Shooting in New York for a month was really tough. It made me decide that I’d shoot the next film in Bermuda, because it had to be easier. I underestimated how much of a challenge it would be, but the ultimate high is the end result, which is achieving more than I expected. It grew into an expensive film by then and it was tough to do it by September, but I’m glad I did. I like pushing myself.
I have a really clear vision of what I want to achieve with my projects but it’s sometimes hard for that to translate, particularly with crew members when I have so little experience.
The hardest part of this was convincing people in the industry that I knew what I was doing and that my idea was going to work. With the second one, it’s been a lot easier — you don’t have to convince as many people.
The greatest moment has been the feedback. Everyone unanimously says they do not expect the twists in the plot and I’m pleased to say we have a story that I’m really proud of.
We had six offers for distribution within two weeks of completing the film.
Was it easier to shoot in Bermuda, as you speculated?
It was so much easier to shoot in Bermuda. The support we’ve had here has been incredible. There’s an excitement here for film and there’s enough talent to pull together to make it happen. I feel like the general mood of the crew was, yes, we can.
I’m currently deep in post-production with Mother of All Secrets, the Bermuda feature film that was under the working title Babymoon.
I’m gearing up for the America’s Cup, where I’ll be volunteering with the TV crew.
I have another project, but I never tell until it’s actually happening. I’m not a talker; I’m a doer.
• The Trials and Tribulations of a Trailer Trash Wife will run May 4-6 and 11-13 at The Daylesford Theatre.
For mature audiences 18 years or older. Tickets are $30 and available at ptix.bm.
By Any Means will have its Bermuda premiere at Biff on Friday.
For more details, visit www. byanymeans2016.com