Your new movie The
Railway Carriage - in a few words, what is it about?
is a psychological horror in which the protagonist
(John) is trapped in a nightmare due to a mysterious event in his past.
were your main inspirations when dreaming up The
Inspirations. I think the main
inspiration was to for me to try and create a film with barely any
dialogue, which is told in an unconventional way and in a new genre I have
never before made a film in. For me inspirations can come from anywhere,
TV, film, games, YouTube, etc. When I get these ideas, I write them quickly
down on a scrap of paper, over time these scribbling's condense into a
solid idea, but the initial idea comes from me thinking I could use an
interesting element, and translate it to film. I have never really thought
what inspired me? I think the themes I went for can be found in Shutter
Island where Leonardo DiCaprio is frequently visited in his dreams by his
dead wife. In my film John (played by the fantastic Dean Sills [Dean
Sills interview - click here]) is haunted
by his two children for a reason I wonít disclose here.
Railway Carriage is rather labyrinthine and associative in
narrative - how easy or hard was it for you to not lose yourself in it,
and do you actually know more about John's backstory than you've let the
audience in on?
For me I had a clear idea of what the film
is about, but at the same time I wanted the ending to be ambiguous so the
audience can make up their own minds. Like I have said the initial idea
was using repetition to create a feeling of entrapment for John and the
audience. With this in mind, I knew I had to build up tension and at the
same time create elements which help convey the story to the audience.
This is done through the radio report which is played throughout the film.
Without it I donít think the film would have worked as well as it did.
There is a simple story to the film, it is just hard to pick out because
it is not told in a conventional manner.
How would you describe your directorial
approach to your story at hand?
In terms of directing, I am
very hands-on, but at the same time I want to make the shoot an upbeat and
humorous experience for my actors. The whole story and film was my vision,
and I think it would been very hard to convey my the ideas in my head to
someone else, but at the same time I am open to adapting if someone else
has any ideas how to improve the film. Indeed a lot of what is in the
script was left out on the shot on the edit, which in hindsight I think is
better, that the film is stripped back rather than overburdened. I have to
thank Callan Evans for his wonderful sound mix, the eerie sound in the
chapel and the childrenís laughter on the railway carriage was his idea.
You just have to talk
about your lead (and more or less only) actor Dean Sills [Dean
Sills interview - click here] for a bit, and what made him perfect
for the role?
My main actor Dean wasnít my first choice
for my film, he had auditioned for the role of the news reader. However
the people who were interested in playing the lead turned out to look too
young. I let him have a shot at the lead. He was very keen, and prompt in
emails and attending auditions. He kept on saying he really loved the idea
and would love working on it. He lives near me and also is a newbie to
acting. I am really very very very happy I picked Dean, he was fantastic
off and on set and did what I wanted without much direction. Also I have
to give a big thank you to Dean for getting the film reviewed and into
film festivals which, on my own, I donít think I wouldnít have done
10% of what he has done.
Also, how did you get your hands on an
actual vintage railway carriage to film in, and what were the advantages
and maybe also challenges of filming there?
For a long long
time, I was looking for a corridor, amazingly it is very hard to find one
nowadays. I asked a friend (Joseph Briggs) who is a volunteer at Elsecar
Heritage Railway if there was any chance I could film on one of their
carriages. Incredibly they said yes, so a big thank you to them and Joe.
Again I think filming on a carriage actually improved the overall film.
The carriages however where quite constricting however, also the floor
shock with movement, which you might see in some of the shots of the film.
Still it was a great experience.
What can you
tell us about audience and critical reception of your movie so far?
far the film has had a great response from critics and the public. Usually
you should be worried by critics picking over your film, but all I have
had to praise and I thank everyone who has reviewed the film so far. As
well as this and because of Deanís efforts, The
into two festivals. One Nightpiece has had over two thousand entries from
around the world. The fact that my film got selected and further selected
for the 100 films shown at the festival is just incredible and is the
highlight of my year. Then to get into another festival, Cutting Edge, is
further than I ever imagined I could ever reach. Thank you so much Dean
for helping this happen.
$64 question of course, when and where will the movie be released onto the
The plan is for the film to be released on
Vimeo, YouTube and on my website in March time, this is around the time I
will be shooting another film. If however I get enough people asking for
the film to go online, either through my website or the films Facebook
page, I will consider uploading it earlier.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
the moment I am working on a twenty minute short film which also deals
which the psychological, but in a different way. I wonít give too much
away but it is a love story set in a dystopian Britain in which the
population is kept in line through mind control. The love story is not
straight forward however because the main protagonist cannot remember the
woman he loves. If you want to be kept up to date with my new film, I will
be updating my blog on my website every week.
got you into filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal
education on the subject?
I really have only been into film
for four years now, I donít know why, but I just really enjoyed it at
school. Even though I had never made any films as a kid. I feel now, that
it is the best way for me to express my imagination. I have tried to write
short stories, but I always donít finish them because I get writers
block. This of course happens in film, but I feel I can make my
imagination run wild. I donít think a lot of people know this, but I am
only twenty one and I am currently in my third year of a Moving Image
Production Degree at University Centre Doncaster and The
was my Uni film for last year. Again I have to thank Dean for trusting I
would make a film he would be proud of. He has never done a student film
before and I think we both took a big gamble with this film. I for example
have not worked with professional actors before.
What can you tell us about
your filmwork prior to The
The only films I did before The
was Uni films. I feel that The
best film I have ever made so far.
How would you describe
yourself as a director?
Easy going, and I like to do thinks
quickly, I wonít, for example take twelve hours to shoot a two minute
Filmmakers who inspire you?
all-time favorite filmmaker is Christopher Nolan whose work has inspired
me tremendously over the years.
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
This has got to be Nolanís The Dark
Knight. I watched it at the cinema and was blown away by it. When people
talk about the power of the cinematic experience I think of this film.
Saying that I do have a secret or not so secret fondness for Arnold Schwarzenegger
films and one of my ambitions in life is to make a body building film (you
probably didnít expect that).
... and of course, films you really
Even if films donít really work, you find
redeeming elements, for me Batman and Robin has no redeeming features,
just donít watch it. Please donít for your sanity.
Your website, Facebook, whatever else?
- Facebook Page.
- my YouTube Channel.
- my website.
for the interview!