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TNC Archive 2018

Film / Art / Festivals

"I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from is just how important collaboration is."

Chris Pugh 

The String
January 24, 2018
Originally published for BFI Future Film Festival 2018
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A man follows a piece of string that guides him through his life.

Hey Chris, thank you for talking to The New Current, how's everything going?

Very well, thank you.

You're currently studying filmmaking at UWE Bristol, how is this preparing you for the film industry?

It’s quite a practically geared course so what we are learning is encouraging us to get used to a professional way of working. Specifically, I think getting a high level of technical expertise and having had the space to experiment will be very useful in the future. We have a great loans system to take out camera and sound equipment that really helps you get comfortable with the equipment. We also have regular guest lectures from people in the industry and being on a course with other people interested in film makes it easier to find collaborators for future projects.


What does it mean to you to be screening String at this year’s BFI Future Film Festival?


I’m honoured to have the film shown in the festival, to have an audience for the film is great and it’s always special to see your work on the big screen. To have my film exhibited at the BFI is something is amazing and I’m looking forward to meeting other young filmmakers and seeing other new work at the festival.


String is going to be screened in the Modern Life section, are there any nerves ahead of the festival?


I’m mostly exited to be taking part in the festival although I think I’ll probably always be a little bit nervous watching my own work with an audience.


String was original commissioned for Random Acts, how did that come about?


The film was commissioned as part of First Acts, the strand of Random Acts for 16-24-year olds funded by the Arts Council England. They have 5 network centres across the country in my case, Calling the Shots who run First Acts in the South West. They had open submissions, I applied for it and they accepted my proposal.


What was it like to see your short broadcast on Channel 4 in September?

It was amazing, especially as it’s so easy to think of TV in the abstract as something we just receive media from; to have something I created broadcast was exiting, the feeling of contributing to culture, even in a small way is wonderful.


Can you tell me a little bit about String, how did the film come about?

After being accepted I was sent on a residential weekend with the other filmmakers from my round of Random Acts where we explained our ideas, watched art films and developed our films. After this I was partnered up with a mentor-producer and we worked on the script as well as sorting out the practical elements of the film such as casting, locations and crew. After this we had a two-and-a-half-day shoot for the film. Post production involved working closely with my editor/composer, colour grading the film and supervising the sound mix. Overall it was about 6 months beginning to end.

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What was the inspiration behind this film?


It started when the image of people following the string just came into my head, the plot of the film gradually came to me over the next few weeks as I thought about the implications of following the string and the types of situations that that world would present.


What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing this all to life?

That’s a difficult one as each aspect has its own challenges. I would say the actual shoot is probably the most challenging time as you are required to make lots of decisions in a very short space of time and involves a lot multitasking.


Since making this film what would you say has been the biggest lesson you are taking from it?


That’s a difficult one, I learned so much from making the film. I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken away from is just how important collaboration is. Creating a film is largely about communicating your ideas effectively to your team and being prepared to listen as well.


Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?


I guess so, I’ve always either been making films or thinking about them, I think the process of making something and then showing it to an audience is something that appeals to me.


What has been the best advice you've been given?

Make the most of your opportunities.


For anyone out there thinking about making their first film what advice would you offer them? 


Find good collaborators to work with. Film is a collaborative medium and if you have good people to work with it will make your work more enjoyable and ultimately better. If you don’t know anyone, look for schemes such as Random Acts and training events to attend, you’ll learn a lot and meet people if you network.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?


I hope the film makes people think and that people relate to it. I think the film is very open to interpretation from the audience.

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