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Categories: Interviews

Kinga Phillips star of Darkness Descends chats torn ligaments and social issues with The Spread…

Tell us how you came to know about this project

I met with Frank originally and really loved the concept and the character. With a background in journalism myself I related to Chelsea and her desire to tell this fascinating story. It was a good fit.

Chelsea is a documentary filmmaker, investigating an area of society, which has been neglected. How do you see the role of film as a tool for education?

Curiosity about the world around us is the best tool for learning. It encourages experiences and adjustments to our perspectives. Through film, either fictional or documentary, is where many of us learn about subjects that interest us. That spark of curiosity often leads people on journeys of discovery. I’m also a fan of tough, intelligent female characters as role models.

Were there any fitness or training regimes you undertook for the more physical scenes?

Interestingly enough, I had torn a ligament in my knee a month before filming. I have a knee brace on under my jeans in every scene and when I run I can tell it looks a bit awkward. Sooooo, the only fitness training I did was sitting around with ice on my knee.

Chelsea interviews an array of disenfranchised characters. What effect do you think this has in developing her understanding of the world she is exploring?

Those characters are the core of that world.

What makes the underground so fascinating is that it is inhabited by people who, for various reasons, have been rejected by society or rejected society themselves.

They have created a complex world full or relationships, organizations, barter systems and both good and evil. As a journalist I prefer to work from the inside out, meaning that you start with the individual stories and create the big picture from there. That was Chelsea’s approach in befriending the characters we see in the film.

We learn that everyone has their own “darkness”. How did Chelsea’s darkside affect your portrayal of her?

Absolutely everyone has a dark side. That is the balance of life. A character without a dark side would be one dimensional and unrealistic. Chelsea has darkness and sadness in her past and vulnerability that makes her human, and a better journalist. What made her an interesting character is that she is both tenacious and fragile.

How do you see Chelsea fitting into the dynamic between Jake and Angel?

Chelsea is the catalyst for the film’s action and the battle between “good” and “evil.” Both Angel and Jake have need of her, in different ways, and she has need for them.

How does the world of Darkness Descends compares with our reality?

Hollywood is always going to differ from reality, but the fact that this story is based on real events and real people makes it a more interesting and complex narrative. Anyone who has ever spent time in the skid row of any city understands that dynamics like this exist. It’s important to those of us involved with this film that people are aware that this is not a purely fictional world. It’s our hope that people are motivated to involve themselves with organizations that help those living on the fringe of society.


As one of the producers, could you tell us about some of your insights?

The challenges were a crash course in the enlightenment of the hard work it takes to see an independent film go from script to screen. Independent films, in my opinion, are the most creative environments…but not always the most comfortable. You’re dealing with small budgets, crazy shoot schedules and lots of road blocks….but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is an invaluable experience to understand what it takes to make film from the inside out. It gives you infinitely more respect and for the process.

Finally, can you tell us about any upcoming projects for us to expect next?

I am really fortunate to have some great films coming out this year: The Mourning, 6 Ways to Sundown and Born Free. I am also a presenter for the Travel Channel where I get to travel the world doing wild and adventurous things.

For more on Kinga, check out:






Christabel Samuel is a writer, director and editor. Having graduated from University College London with a BA in English Literature and an MA in Film Studies she is now a self-taught filmmaker, writer and perpetual learner. She won funding in 2011 for Lust in Translation and has gone on to judge at the London Film Festival, been appointed Head of Film for The Book Magazine and is currently editor-in-chief for The Spread.

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