Imagination can be wonderful but it can also make things harder for us in the real world. That statement might contradict what most of us think about imagination. Escapism can be a beneficial tool, right? Most of the time it is, but consider the predicament of Writer/Director Joe Beverly, a celebrated filmmaker who had written a deep and intense character driven piece called No Place (the film would go on to be screened at the Forum Film Festival and win ‘Best Short’ and ‘Best Screenplay’). The central character, William Aims, would need to communicate his inner turmoil without words as often as with. Aims is such a strong force in the story that casting anyone less charismatic or “alpha male” as the character would cause the story to “lose its teeth.” Luckily for Beverly, young British actor Sebastian Sacco was seeking an intensely dramatic role. Joe Beverly declares, “I needed to cast an exceptionally strong actor to successfully execute what I had written in the script. I was extremely lucky to find Sebastian and, when he auditioned, I knew almost instantly that he was the absolute perfect choice to essay the role of William. He has an uncanny ability to communicate without speaking or even moving much, a gift which only the very best actors possess, and which he put on full display in No Place. His performance went beyond what I had even hoped for and truly made the film a special tour de force about the cult of money and how it can topple lives. There is no way the film would have been possible without Sebastian’s stunning performance and everyone who has seen it has been floored by his portrayal of William.” The film’s star states that the reason for his being cast is likely due to a combination of acting and inherent character traits as he sates, “I’m an extremely moral person and will speak up if I think something is wrong. I think it was this trait which Joe saw in me. In my opinion, a strong actor is someone who isn’t scared to go there, to look ridiculous, to fail in front of people and to keep trying. That’s a strong actor. I think what Joe meant was that I was capable of holding the audience’s attention. I take it as quite a compliment that Joe saw that in me.”
No Place is unsettling in how contemporary and possible it seems. The plot depicts a scenario in which England has seen a political, economic, and social change. The government has fallen, the banks have crashed, and the old system has fallen into the hands of three remaining corporations. These three corporations are now ruled by the Bank of Britain, posing as three separate organizations that still give the public an opportunity to vote. Young economist Will Aim’s (Sebastian Sacco) works his way to the top of the system, eventually working alongside Tony Darwin (Paul Dewdney) who is the final over seer of Britain’s future. Will’s moral compass and girlfriend, Skylar (Danielle Norman) rejects the new system, seeing the bigger picture, she tries to open Will’s eyes. He slowly begins to uncover the truth that Skylar saw all along and, with Skylar by his side, Will has a life changing decision to make; one which is harder than he ever expected. As inspiration for Aims, Sebastian reverted back to an earlier time and emotional state of mind which he had experienced. He remarks, “I went back to my private school days. Trying to impress people in that world. It’s all about how you talk, dress, posture eat; everything is judged and weighed up. If you can do it all the ‘right way’ then you’re part of the club. That sense of constant self-awareness and trying to look and act a certain way but never above your station was important to me. Will was very straight edged. He rose to his position so quickly because he was smart, not because he was imposing or a risk taker. In my own private school days, I thought some people were rich because they were smatter and harder working than others. I believed in these ridicules lies. The truth is most people are stuck and trapped by their circumstances. I’ve been as ignorant and blind as Will was and I’ve come out the other side. So I understood his journey.
The film was well received by critics, the film community, and the public; no doubt due to the intense performances which Sacco and his supporting cast delivered as well as the timely subject matter. Sebastian reveals that he is somewhat conflicted about these recognitions as he remarks, “It was amazing to hear it won awards. Joe called me straight away to let me know. I’m always very hard on my performance and wasn’t happy with it, so to hear that it had won two awards…I couldn’t have been too bad. I think awards are pointless in many ways. Arts are about expression. Not all expression is nice. A lot of awards are like a popularity contest. I think as long as you don’t make films with awards in mind, staying true to the original idea and express it in the strongest way possible to that truth…then if someone wants to give you an award for that, I feel that is good. The best reward is just making the film. When that happens, my entire life just stops. It is fulfilling and draining simultaneously. When you finish, you have this piece of art that you have all worked together to create. You have this thing that existed in your collective minds and you made it materialize, then you send it out for others to experience. Now that is an award!”