Min Sett Hein has finished his BA degree in Film Practice from the University of Arts in London. He has worked on a project called ‘The Good Decision’ for his grad film and is now being previewed at film festivals. I’ve always thought he was so cool because he was laid-back and wasn’t a typical close minded Burmese dude, and was able to have open conversations about certain issues. Now let’s get to know him!
Hi Min Sett Hein, thank you for doing this interview with me. You’re currently residing in London studying filmmaking! And I know you always had an interest in cinematography, where did the passion come from and is it something you want to do for the rest of your life?
Hey Alanna, thanks for the interview. Yes, I am currently in London and I just finished my BA degree in film practice. I didn’t know I want to work with cameras until I came here actually. As a kid who got raised in a third world country with the shitty school system with no extra curriculum, I wasn’t given much chance of finding my passion. The cinematography is just one of my many loves. I also like writing/directing and producing but for now, camera and lenses are my favourite things in the world.
Why did you decide to study in London?
It’s a funny story actually. Right after I finished my high school in Yangon, my parents sent me here so that I won’t end up as a bum in Myanmar (yes I was a bad kid). So it was more of my mom’s decision than mine to be here, but I chose to study film instead of some Business bullsh*t they wanted me to study.
You’ve worked on a project called ‘The Good Decision’, for people who don’t know yet, what is it about?
Omg, how do you know? It’s the name of my grad film and basically, 80% of my grades depend on that short film. It’s a British social realism drama about this guy learning to accept his psychosis as the path he’s meant to walk instead of taking it as a mental disorder like how society would see it. It took us about 6 months to prep for the film and two weeks to shoot it. It was one of the best moments of my student life working with all those incredible people with massive talent.
Also, it’s so exciting that the film is being showcased at festivals. How do you feel about that?
We are definitely sending this to few festivals but eventually, the film will get released online. It’s always nice to see your film go to the festivals. I’ve always dreamt about sneaking into VIP parties in Cannes or Venice film festivals and mingle with all the A-list people haha.
What is the most important lesson you had to learn that has a positive effect on your film work?
Learning how to collaborate with other people is the most important lesson and probably the most difficult thing that I learnt I’d say. If you know how to work together with people properly, whatever you do is gonna look more professional than doing it by yourself. Another lesson on the film set is never late because time is money and if you are 15 mins late that means you wasted the combined salary of all the cast and crew on the set for that 15 minutes and you are never getting a job in film industry ever again. They are pretty strict about time in the film industry.
What films have been the most inspiring or influential to you?
It’s hard to say. My favourite films are always changing. It’s like I have different phases where I would really like a film or a director for like two years and then I’d move on to another director’s work. I really like realism or social realism aspect of it so I guess I could say Gummo by Harmony Korine, Trainspotting by Danny Boyle or This is England by Shane Meadows are my main inspirations. Again, I also like very stylistics/visually pleasing films such as enter the void, fear self-loathing in Las Vegas, crimson peak or even films like Scorsese’s raging bull which I find my inspirations for colours and compositions. The list would never end, seriously.
What do you want to achieve in the next year or so?
I have no idea, to be honest. I am currently looking to work with musicians to make music videos and that could be my starting point in my career. I’d like filming to be my full-time job which will support me financially in the next year or so because, in a competitive place like London, it’s hard to support yourself just by doing what you love.
Now let’s have some fun and I’ll ask you 5 random questions.
1. Do you sleep with your door open or closed? – Closed and curtains closed because I can’t sleep with lights on.
2. Favourite song of the week? – Recently, I did some shrooms and got hooked on this song called untouchable by Anathema.
3. Do you still watch cartoons? – YES! Who doesn’t? I am on Rick and Morty and Gravity Falls at the moment but Bojack Horseman is also one of my fav cartoons.
4. How many languages can you speak? – Burmese and English. I also learnt a bit of Taiwanese from my ex.
5. Are you stubborn? – I don’t like to think I am stubborn though, however, there were times that I wish I wasn’t that stubborn.
Any advice for young people who would like to fulfil their passion and dreams in cinematography?
Grab a camera, go out and shoot! Doesn’t matter how good the camera is or how expensive the lenses are, if you don’t start making anything, you won’t improve yourself. Screw the megapixels and all that crap they put in camera commercials to make you think they are good shit. Your creativity comes from you and tries to find your niche instead of following whatever other people are doing.
Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview with me, it has been a pleasure!
Thank you so much for the interview too. It’s been a pleasure.
You can check out my website http://minsaidhi.co.uk/ and follow me on Instagram and Vimeo if you are into photography and Cinema. I also write for “behind the movie” Myanmar Facebook page sometimes and draw doodles in my free time on “thoughts at Times” page on Facebook.
ALL IMAGES PROVIDED BY MIN SETT HEIN
WEBSITE: MIN SETT HEIN
VIMEO: Min Hein