Your new movie Eyes
and Prize - in a few words, what is it about?
It’s about a few fame hungry people who are taken in by an online
presence purporting to be a brand-new reality show. They put their lives
in the hands of this unknown person, or people, and are slowly forced to
reckon with the situation they find themselves in.
Eyes and Prize
being about a Big Brother-like reality TV show (even if mock), what
are your personal thoughts on that genre, and to what extent are they
reflected in the film?
I think Big Brother was interesting when it first came
out. But then, after a few years, once the contestants knew how the show
worked, they knew how to work the show, and it became a contest to see who
the biggest and brashest character could be. So instead of it being real
people in a place with cameras, it became more like people acting up
characters, trying to be extreme for the sake of the show. The people in
the film are aware of what a reality show can do for their potential
career as a D list celebrity, they know this as they enter, and so it
begins with the characters almost putting on an extreme version of
themselves as they try to satiate the show’s expectations of them.
Other sources of inspiration when
writing Eyes and Prize?
would say that something like Funny Games and Lars von Trier’s
documentary The Five Obstructions probably helped me with the bass
line of the idea.
a director, to what extent could you actually identify with the film's
"puppeteer" James? And which character in your movie could you
actually identify with the most and the least?
Yes, I have
had people pick up on the connection between me as the director and James
the “puppeteer”. It’s true, there is somewhat of a link there and it
works in a sort of Russian Doll type way. He appears to be there simply
watching them, keeping them in check; the fact that he has to keep them in
check means that he is more of a director than a viewer. I feel like I can
identify with all of them, despite James’ extreme methods, I could
understand how someone who is a social outsider could be fascinated to
relate in the way that he does.
and Prize is restricted to a single location - so where was it
filmed actually, and what were the challenges of keeping things
interesting being thus confined?
We built the set inside a
warehouse. All filmed in Bristol, UK. The keeping things interesting was a
very nice challenge for me. It’s a case of being in the characters’
shoes and what would they do to keep things interesting, and for how long
could they stand being in there with no messages from the outside, and
what would they do when they try to rebel and try to leave.
Do talk about your
overall directorial approach to your story at hand!
film is made up of very long takes, so I chose to prepare the actors
almost as if we were to be putting on a stage play.
can you tell us about Eyes
and Prize's key cast, and why exactly these people?
took me a long time to find the right people. They needed to be brave, to
be open and to be up for this crazy idea of conversational dialogue in
very long takes. I guess I had to feel like I could trust that they could
few words about the shoot as such, and the on-set atmosphere?
was a 23-day shoot and we generally spent one day per shot. So, daily, we
would be repeating and repeating the shot until about 17:00 when we would
then aim for the take that will be the one to be used in the final film.
$64-question of course, where can your movie be seen?
we just received our iTunes pre-order link -
you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Eyes
It’s not a normal film. Personally, I
don’t want to make film that fits easily into an already made groove.
Because of this, watching it will be in some ways challenging. And so to
some extent it is a divisive film, but generally speaking, the reception
has been good.
Any future projects you'd like to
I’m a fan of brutalist industrial settings.
Something’s cooking on that hob.
What got you into filmmaking in the first place,
and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
studied English at university and was a part-time, unpaid, writer. I
naturally gravitated to film because it’s the ultimate way to tell a
story. In what other circumstance can you get someone to just sit and
stare for 90 minutes? I did return to study film production on a further
two year course.
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Eyes
Mainly short films. I have also made a
pilot for a TV series that I’ve co-written.
How would you describe yourself as a
Try to be fair. Dictated to by the script. Always
trying to do things better than I did before.
Filmmakers who inspire you?
So, I’ll name just three contemporary inspirational filmmakers for me:
Ruben Ostlund, Ben Wheatley, Yorgos Lanthimos.
My favourite film of all time is Dr.
Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb.
... and of course, films you really
Hard to say. I’m not a fan of popcorn movies
that try to wring out sentiment from an unauthentic place.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have
merely forgotten to ask?
Thanks for the interview and for
checking out Eyes
Thanks for the interview!