Beneath the gloss and candy-coloured Tik Tok world of director Makez Rikweda’s FAT GIRL lies some very dark undercurrents including: binge eating disorder, social isolation and a graphic DIY lip job. The short film follows teenager Lexi whose obsession with her favourite influencer leads her down a dark path of destruction in a bid to look like her.
The idea for the story came to Makez during a family dinner in which a young Kylie Jenner-loving cousin’s lip burst, revealing just how pervasive cosmetic enhancements were among teenagers and how far they were willing to go to achieve these new beauty standards, even if they didn’t have the money. It proved to be a very popular topic among young girls, with hundreds answering the open-call audition and many more resorting to directly hounding the team on their social media to try to get an audition.
Fat Girl is the debut fiction film from London-based filmmaker Makez whose past works include the award-winning documentaries ONLY VOICE REMAINS (2019) and YOUNG AFGHANS (2013), as well as the visual art film, SOUND OF THE BIRDS (2022) which is currently being exhibited in galleries in California and Berlin. Makez is also the producer behind the 2016 Raindance ‘Best UK Series’ winner, ‘BLOOD, SWEAT & CHOKES’ and the upcoming queer comedy, LATE TO THE PARTY (2023). Alongside her film career, Makez has worked extensively in television, producing and directing for clients including Al Jazeera English, France 24, China Global Television, Associated Press, Adobe, Teen Vogue, ITN Productions, and the BBC.
The film was co-produced by Don Omope, the British-Nigerian talent behind the box office smash hits WEDDING PARTY and WEDDING PARTY 2 which are currently streaming on Netflix, as well as Sol Rikweda, a former Met Film graduate and BBC Studios producer currently working for Soho-based The Look, Emma Keeling, a New Zealand producer and director with over 25 years experience working for major international networks, and Clarissa Itschert, a German creative producer with thirteen fiction shorts and commercial work for Peloton.
The phenomenal cinematography has been created by National Film and Television graduate Rui Jiang Ong whose recent films include the BAFTA-winning ‘DO NOT FEED THE PIGEONS’ and ‘WATAMULA’, as well as work for brands including Disney, GQ, BULGARI, Universal Music and Harper’s Bazaar.
Lastly, Fat Girl’s crew was made up of more than 50% women and non-binary members, as well as a diverse cast and production team.
FAT GIRL is screening at HollyShorts on August 13th at 10 pm at the Chinese Theater.