If you’re not familiar with her work yet, you’re playing yourself, meet Danika Magdelena a.k.a Sirius Film. She’s been about, Sirius has shot London’s who’s who, from musicians and artists, to models, and the all-around creatives. Her way with film is something worth mentioning, it’s almost ethereal. You remember that construction worker? You know, the cute one… his pic went viral… became a model? Yea, that one. If you didn’t know, Sirius Film was behind that lens, that’s the power of Sirius. You never know, she might just put you on one day.
In regards to your background or childhood, can you tell me anything relevant that pushed you towards art?
“I would say my family, we’ve always taken a lot of pictures growing up and if I look through the photo albums that we have there’s so many photographs of how my Mum used to dress and my Dad, they were very fashion focused. So I think seeing their styles, […] the photos being in film as well, I loved the effect that it created, so it made me have an interest in film straight away”
Sirius Film was the evolution of Danika’s begins as a fashion blogger under the alias Sirius Mode, “I started off as a fashion blogger, so my name was actually Sirius Mode, I kinda got that from Sirius being one of the brightest stars in the sky and then mode was fashion in French, cause my Mum spoke French, so I was like oooh sounds a bit more cooler than Sirius Fashion” . After some time, Sirius slowly strayed away from fashion and fell into the world of photography, “I kinda stopped being a fashion blogger and started leaning towards photography, so it was like film and digital, and then I was like I’m not really shooting digital, so Sirius Film kinda became the name”.
Sirius Film has grown into one of London’s sought after photographers, shooting for Nike, Hunger, the cover of Pigeons & Peacocks, and some noteworthy artists, making a name for herself in photography. For many ‘photographers’, shooting on film has become a trend, but for Sirius, film photography is much more than that, “It just looks so much nicer to me, film, the effect it gives is really timeless, it’s like its own natural filter and with digital, if I have to shoot in digital I will because sometimes it’s more practical but film is just nicer, I like the surprise of going to get your negatives back from the shop”
Earlier this year, Sirius released her short film ‘Girls Don’t Cry’, inspired by her own personal experiences, Girls Don’t Cry was the conclusion to overcoming heartbreak, “It was mostly focused around my ex, it wasn’t a very good break up and then I used to write for a long time after that, […] I had all these pieces of writing and I was like I would love to do something with this one day”.
Director: Sirius Film. Cinematographer: Sabb Adams. Music and Voice-over: Nigar Kanawati.
Girls Don’t Cry is simplistic in its approach to speaking on human connection yet it effectively reminds us that heartbreak is a natural part of life, emphasising that it’s ok to feel the emotions that comes with the pain of losing love, “I feel like people do kinda look down on girls for being sad about a guy breaking your heart but it is a big thing for us, and I just wanted to show with [Girls Don’t Cry] that you’re not alone, sometimes I’ll be like ‘ahh the is the worst thing that could happen to me’ but I’ve met so many girls who’ve been in even worst situations than me, and we just gotta stick together as girls and just push through, through the heartbreak and just remember when you love yourself even more you’ll feel less effected by stuff like that, you’ll heal faster, it’s better”.
Girls Don’t Cry has become more than a short film and has evolved into a movement founded by Sirius Film, through creative art pieces Sirius wants GDC to promote female empowerment, mental health awareness and self-expression. Gender norms aren’t necessarily changing a great deal but we’re at a point where it’s becoming more apparent that gender roles no longer have strict guidelines. We’re slowly normalising a world where girls can have body hair and boys can cry. Sirius’s Girls Don’t Cry in some ways represents this, providing a space for women to demonstrate all they are without the rigid restrictions of stereo-typical norms.
There’s a lot of discussion lately about mental health, self-care and recognising unhealthy human relationships, why do you think that is?
“I feel like, before being depressed was seen as a sign of weakness and I think people are starting to open their minds a bit more and are becoming less ignorant, and seeing that depression is a real thing, sometimes it’s very uncontrollable, you don’t need to have been seriously hurt to feel it sometimes, it’s just a feeling. I think so many artists are depressed, or have anxiety, or maybe another mental health issue and […] as people are coming forward about it more, everyone feels more comfortable to admit they have issues they may think are wrong with them, […] loving yourself is really a big thing now, life is too short”
Sirius’s GDC project recently collaborated with crochet fashion brand Knots & Vibes for Hunger, which was shot between Brixton and Jamaica. The aim of the feature is to raise awareness on sexual abuse in Jamaica, an issue that has been affecting a myriad of girls and women. - “It was very important for us to talk about something that people don’t really know about Jamaica”. You can read the feature here on hungertv.com. GDC aims to continue to collaborate with different women on important issues that may have effected them.
Looking back to when you started out, how does it feel to be in the position you are in now?
“You know what, it’s funny because you can always feel like you can do better, I do feel like sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit for how far I’ve come […], I never knew I would get to this point where so many people would love and support my work, or that I would be good enough, I would be sending out emails and getting no’s from everyone for everything and I’ve always said to myself I will never ignore anyone’s email […] and now I’m at a point where I can’t even reply to people because I get so busy. I always try to remain humble and I’ll never forget my journey, I just wanna help other girls for sure, with GDC it’s not about talking to the popular girls, it’s about reaching out to all girls and maybe when I get to a bigger place, I’ll even start working on stuff with guys too, because guys get heartbroken, but for now I’ll try remain focus and keep at that”
To end it off, here’s a couple quick fire questions:
Your entrance track for the club?
“Probably GoldLink - Spectrum”
The best photo you have taken?
“I’d say my Nike BTS photos, I couldn’t really chose which one but those were my proudest set of photos”
Dream person to shoot?
“Adwoa Aboah, for sure”
The song you’ve listened to the most this week?
“Something Tells Me by Bryson Tiller”
Best artistic break through you’ve had so far?
“I’d say being able to shoot for Nike, that was cool”
With Sirius having a great start to the year, I’m sure she has a couple more surprises up her sleeve for the rest of 2017, so keep an eye out for what’s to come. You can follow Sirius Film on Insta’ @sirius.film and Twitter @MaddoLuu. You can also keep up with Girls Don’t Cry on Insta’ @thegdcproject and on thegdcproject.tumblr.com.