Matt Fifer and Sheldon D Brown on the “deeply personal” Cicada


Based on true events”. Such a familiar opening line, one that’s already perilously close to becoming a cliché but some come closer to the truth than others. And for Matt Fifer and Sheldon D Brown, their movie Cicada isn’t simply based on true events, it tells their own personal stories.

Fifer co-wrote and co-directed the film, as well as playing the lead role, while Brown was his writing partner as well as co-star, in a love story that continually crosses the line between drama and documentary, with the two actors re-living some of their own experiences. Ben (Fifer) shies away from any form of emotional commitment, preferring empty one night stands, but a chance meeting with Sam (Brown) changes that and, as they get to know each other, they discover they both have pasts which have not just left their mark but profoundly affected them. That’s especially true of Ben, who discovers he has to confront his history to be able to move forward.

In the exclusive interview below, Fifer and Brown talk about how they brought their own experiences to the film. For Brown, he was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting while he was still in discussions to be in the film. In his own words “it upended and changed my life” and he wasn’t sure if he would ever be able to perform again. Three months later, he was writing his own story into the film, and finding that Sam’s character was becoming increasingly closer to his own.

Fifer reveals that, for him, the time had come to write about his own past and “the story just came out of me” and how it was co-director Kieran Mulcare who encouraged him to appear in the film. He also explains the significance of the title, which relates to a high profile, long-running trial that forms part of the backdrop to the story.

Cicada is released in cinemas and online on 21st January | Read our review of the film.