Shykodah-Khi McGrath is an Australian filmmaker who was born and raised on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Her educational route led her to major in Creative Media, Photography, Digital Media, Film, Screen, and Media.
Would you like to share some information about yourself with our readers? such as your educational history, birth city and country, and so forth.
Absolutely. I’m Shykodah-Khi McGrath, born and raised in the vibrant city of the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. My academic journey led me to pursue studies in Creative Media, Photography, Digital Media, and Film, Screen, and Media, providing me with a rounded understanding of the filmmaking process. I opened my own Film Production Company in 2017 called Vyxenah Studios. Besides directing and producing films, I’ve honed my skills in writing, editing, lighting, sound engineering, costume design, and prop building. My love for storytelling doesn’t stop at films; I have written over 150 scripts and conceptualized over 200 book ideas. After some epic back-to-back house renovations over the past few years, I’m finally ready to publish at least two of those books at the end of this year.
Congratulations on winning Best Short Film and Best Women Filmmaker at the Boden International Film Festival for your film Nana’s Footsteps. How does it feel to be a winner in such prestigious categories?
Winning the Best Short Film and Best Women Filmmaker awards at the Boden International Film Festival for Nana’s Footsteps was an affirmation of our team’s creativity, dedication, and passion. It’s a remarkable feeling to be recognized on such a platform. Each person involved in the project brought their unique talents to the table, contributing to this incredible achievement. Our success is a testament to our shared commitment to storytelling and cinematic excellence. It truly encourages me to continue pushing the boundaries and making compelling, out-of-the-box films.
How has your film Nana’s Footsteps been received at other festivals and competitions?
Nana’s Footsteps has garnered positive responses at numerous film festivals, reflecting the power of its narrative. The film has sparked lively discussions, affirming our belief in the story’s potential. It is encouraged by the reception; we’re exploring opportunities to develop it into a series, and we are confident that there’s more to the narrative that audiences will resonate with. It is early days, but the future looks bright.
Can you tell us about your filmmaking inspiration?
My inspiration stems from the world around me—everyday experiences, the depth of human emotions, and the beauty of ordinary moments. I believe every encounter holds a story waiting to be told. Filmmaking provides me with the tools to unravel these narratives. I’ve always been drawn to the power of storytelling and the magic of cinema. The idea of creating a narrative, characters, and an entire world that can touch people’s hearts, make them think, or even change their perspective on life is incredibly inspiring to me. I’m also inspired by the many voices and tales that have yet to be told. The most popular genres right now are fantasy, horror, cyberpunk, and action.
When and how did you start making movies?
My journey into filmmaking commenced during my early life when I received a video camera at the age of seven and began a YouTube channel doing short, animated stories with small toys and shoe boxes, glued together, with a torch for lighting variances. Then, over the years, I made several films and learned quickly how to edit and score. Making larger films was a formative experience where I juggled multiple roles, from writing to directing, sound engineering, and editing. It was a challenging endeavor that provided me with a comprehensive understanding of filmmaking, fueling my passion for this creative form. It was a challenging but enriching experience that affirmed my enthusiasm for filmmaking.
How many films have you directed, and which is your personal favorite?
I’ve directed a host of films, each with its own unique narrative and learning curve. Nana’s Footsteps, however, holds a special place in my heart. Despite being brought on board late in the project, the team collaborated effectively to bring this heartfelt story to life.
As an avid gamer, my personal favorite of all my films would be Bringing Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn to Life, based on her journey from her early years.
Can you tell us about your pre- and post-production experiences for your film, Nana’s Footsteps?
Joining Nana’s Footsteps in its eleventh hour presented a unique set of challenges. From intensive pre-production planning to careful post-production editing, each step was handled with diligence and creativity to ensure the story resonated with audiences. I’ve had the privilege of discussing “Nana’s Footsteps” with renowned Australian actors and directors, whose enthusiasm and insights have been invaluable. Their positive reception and feedback have reinforced my belief that this project holds immense potential.
As an independent filmmaker, I am thrilled to be part of this shift within the industry and this growing interest in the supernatural genre. I believe that projects like “Nana’s Footsteps” will continue to redefine storytelling in film, and I look forward to contributing to this evolution.
How would you characterize your work as an independent filmmaker? Isn’t it more difficult?
Absolutely. Being an independent filmmaker is like navigating an adventure. Yes, it has its share of challenges, and it often tests your resilience, but that’s what makes the journey intriguing. With each film, I gather a cast and crew whose values align with mine and whose skills complement the project at hand. In many ways, this is one of the most fulfilling aspects of my work: building this dynamic community of creatives who come together to breathe life into a concept. Being an independent filmmaker does come with its challenges, but it also offers unparalleled creative freedom. I enjoy the autonomy and the opportunity to tell authentic stories that defy conventions.
What excites you the most about filmmaking?
The most exciting aspect of filmmaking for me is the ability to share stories that provoke thought, evoke emotions, and spark conversations. Each project allows me to explore new narratives and bring them to life on screen, which is truly rewarding. This exploration broadens my perspective, introduces me to new places and people, and enriches the narratives I weave. Being independent also affords me a degree of creative control that’s hard to find in larger productions. I am deeply involved in every aspect of my films, from the initial concept and writing through directing and post-production. This comprehensive involvement ensures my vision remains intact throughout, and the end product is something I’m genuinely proud of.
Each project brings with it new learnings and experiences, shaping me both as a filmmaker and a storyteller. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction and achievement in overcoming these challenges, and they fuel my commitment to continue creating and sharing stories through my films. The difficulty is part of the journey, but the rewards, both tangible and intangible, are absolutely worth it.
What projects are you working on right now? And what are your plans for the future of the industry?
My creative pursuits at present are quite multifaceted and exciting. I am translating several of my written scripts into full-fledged films, leveraging my Film Production Company’s resources to breathe life into these narratives. With an extensive portfolio of over 150 screenplays, each one presents a unique storytelling opportunity. Simultaneously, I’m channeling my ideas into the realm of literature, preparing to publish a range of books from my cache of about 200 concepts. The next six months should witness the release of these creative endeavors, and I can’t wait to share them with the world.
Looking beyond the immediate future, I am excited about expanding my professional repertoire into voice acting. I’m thrilled to be able to do professional Voice acting for audiobooks, games, educational books, animations, and radio. Additionally, as a brand ambassador, I frequently partner with businesses, creating engaging content around their products for my YouTube channel. This balance of creative independence and collaboration enriches my work significantly. Furthermore, I’m gearing up for an extensive production schedule next year, with a series of films already in preproduction. We are actively seeking sponsorship and planning our entries into various film festivals, aiming to make our mark and hopefully win some awards. My journey in this industry has always been about pushing boundaries and exploring new horizons, and I am excited about the future possibilities.
Where can our readers find your cinematic work and follow you?
My work is quite diversified, and you can find different aspects of it across several platforms. The hub for all my projects is my personal website, www.shykodah-khi.com. Here, you can find the latest updates on my films, books, and various other creative ventures. I would also recommend my YouTube channel, which is under Vyxenah.
For a more informal and interactive connection, you can follow my Instagram account, also under Vyxenah. Here, I often post behind-the-scenes glimpses into my filmmaking process, updates about my upcoming projects, and snapshots of my life. I’m also on TikTok, where you can find more candid, fun content related to my work. For those interested in the cosplay aspect of my work, I regularly participate in Supanova, where I sometimes have a stall to exhibit my latest cosplays, costumes, and weapon designs and builds. I also participate in panels, sharing insights into my creative process. If you prefer a more traditional route and aren’t too keen on social media, my website also hosts my latest photos, book releases, and event updates. Please feel free to connect with me on these platforms; I would love to share my creative journey with you.
Boden International Film Festival
I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Boden International Film Festival for this platform and the opportunity to share my story. I hope my journey sparks a flame in those of you reading this to explore your own path of creativity.
In today’s world, where there’s so much uncertainty, we must hold on to our dreams and the passions that ignite our spirit. Creativity is not just a path; it’s a beacon, a light that can guide us through the most challenging times. It’s our way to interpret, understand, and ultimately transform the world around us.
Don’t be afraid to take that first step, however small it may seem. Every great journey begins with a single stride. Embrace the magic of creation, the joy of bringing something new into existence. It can be a painting, a film, a book, or even a simple idea; each creation is a testament to human potential and resilience.
So, to everyone reading this: don’t just dream; dare to create. Take those dreams, those ideas floating in your mind, and give them form. Because the world needs your voice, your vision, and your unique creative spark. Your journey might just inspire someone else to start theirs. Let’s keep the cycle of creativity and inspiration going!