Hailing from Manchester in the UK, Scout Stuart is a 24-year-old writer/director whose work encompasses animation, short film, music video, and even the London launch of Katy Perry’s fragrance Purr in 2010. She counts filmmakers Kelly Reichardt, Gus van Sant, Harmony Korine, and John Cassavetes as influences, but “anything beautiful or strange or sad can become an inspiration, but not necessarily consciously. I just know that when I am moved, I tend to come up with ideas.”

“For my latest short film [I’m] currently writing… I’ve been looking at photographs by Sally Mann and William Eggleston, and Sofia Coppola’s Virgin Suicides (1999); the shots of the girls just hanging out doing nothing. I’ve also been going on a lot of night drives, listening to Ren Harvieu because her album feels very cinematic.”

An independent cinema near her grandmother’s house would help sow the seeds of Stuart’s passion for filmmaking, “and it was there, sitting in a darkened room experiencing new things, that I fell in love with cinema. I was very shy and imaginative and observant, and film offered fantastic escapism.”

Though Stuart was always interested in writing, it wasn’t until she met her long-time collaborator Francesca Sophia (co-writer and co-director on many of Stuart’s projects) and saw the 1999 horror mockumentary The Blair Witch Project, that filmmaking became a possibility. Stuart recalls, “it felt plausible and almost easy to make films like that. And the process of having no rules or expectations, the freedom of creating anything in our own way was so special and exciting. I found myself unconsciously taking on the directing role, setting up shots, considering cuts, and guiding the actors. It all kind of fell into place and felt natural to me. That whole experience lead me to take film studies in 6th form, and I’ve not really wanted to do anything else since.”