Helen had published four novels before the chance came to write and direct her debut feature. She’d always loved films, but growing up in Warrington where she felt the closest she could get to the industry was her local video shop, it was novels that offered an immediate outlet to tell stories. When Helen was 19, an independent cinema opened in Liverpool and with it came access to a new world of arthouse, European films that spoke to her and inspired her to push boundaries in her fiction.
When Helen got the idea for The Violators — the story of a young girl set amidst the hinterland of post-industrial Merseyside — she knew it was a world that could only be realised on film, so she contacted a producer at Liverpool-based Red Union Films who’d previously made promos for her novels. They were taken by Helen’s vision, but in film things move slowly. There would be a further three years of development until, over four weeks in 2014, The Violators was shot. As she prepares for her next film, Helen reflects on the importance of patience, saying “it takes time for a film to come together, so use that space to get your script in shape for when the time finally comes to shoot.”