Q&A: Monique Needham on short film CASHPOINT

By Josh Muchly

The short film CASHPOINT follows Camille (Ani Nelson), who decides to go on a date with a guy (Kadeem Pearse) she met on a dating app. Cautious at first, she is eventually won over by his looks and charm. That is until the bill arrives and he is unable to pay however what happens next she could never have predicted. This revealing comedy screened in competition at the London Independent Film Festival.

Writer and director Monique Needham started working in television production working on shows such as Big Brother and Come Dine With Me.  After years working in the advertising industry, she has returned to her passion for filmmaking. In 2013, she wrote and directed the web series Housemates which was picked up by Teen Vogue and Essence magazine.

Informer Media Group: This is directorial debut, correct? How does it feel??

Monique Needham: That’s right. It was initially nerve-wracking as it is my first major project which I am sharing with the world. My mind was so focused on “what if people hate it” and over time I realized some people will love it, some won’t and that’s OK. I put my all into this project and I am extremely proud of and proud of the whole team who helped me bring my vision to life. It is now doing its thing through the festival circuit so patiently waiting to see who accepts it.

Informer Media Group: You also wrote CASHPOINT; why is the time right for this film?

Monique Needham: I wrote CASHPOINT about 5 years ago, back then it had the working title of Dates. The timing wasn’t right then on a personal level. I wasn’t ready to make it, I was so stuck on not having the money to do it that I buried the script somewhere in a folder on my laptop. Last year I had reached a point where I had to stop making excuses, I want to break this industry and sitting at home writing scripts was not going to make that happen, so I pulled together some money and got a team together and we made the film. The time was right for me for this project, I was ready to share it with everyone.

Informer Media Group: What inspired this story and these characters?

Monique Needham: This is loosely based on a true story, the true date ended with the guy saying he needed to get cash, he left and the woman was not sure if he would return. When she told me this story I wondered did he really go to the cashpoint or was that just a way to get out of paying. I took that scenario and elaborated a little bit and that’s how CASHPOINT was born.

Informer Media Group: What are you hoping people will take away from this film?

Monique Needham: Two things. Firstly: even the most serious scenarios have humor to it. If this happened to me in real life in the moment I would probably be mad as hell but looking back I would have to laugh when telling the story back to people. Secondly: Not everyone is who they seem, both in the online dating world and if you meet people in real life. Take time before you jump in with two feet sometimes.

Informer Media Group: What’s your take in online dating? Net positive? Or not?

Monique Needham: I don’t think it works for everyone, I have tried it and quite quickly realized it wasn’t for me however I know people who met their life partners on there and now married with children. It doesn’t work for me because a photo of someone is not enough to decide whether or not I want to meet someone. It’s not just about how someone looks, it’s about their energy and how they interact with me that will enable me to decide on whether I am interested in someone.

Informer Media Group: What does this film say about the role of technology in our lives?

Monique Needham: I don’t want people watching this with a negative outlook on technology and dating apps. It has given us the ability to connect with people, friends and family quickly. The dating apps have allowed us to meet new people even if those people turn out Craig from my film. But you can also meet such amazing people whether it be for your personal life, networking for your professional career or connecting with a family member that lives on the other side of the world.

Informer Media Group: What’s next for you?

Monique Needham: Create more. I am currently working on my next short, it is different from CASHPOINT, but will give me a chance to experiment and tell a different story. Hope to have it complete by the end of the year. Fingers crossed. Will keep you posted.

Informer Media Group: Where can folks learn more about you / your projects?

Monique Needham: Check out my website or follow me on Instagram and Twitter.

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