BFI Future Film Festival 2023
Country Life is a playful, tongue-in-cheek about not wanting to leave your bedroom. Drawing influence from 90s & Y2K culture, both sonically and visually, the piece sets a distinctive tone for a series of films directed by Luis Hindman, in accompaniment to Master Peace's latest EP, "Peace of Mind".
Hi Luis, it’s great to talk with you, how has everything been going?
It’s been good. Working and watching.
Congratulations on having Country Life part of the Future Film Festival 2023, how does it feel to be part of such an incredible line-up of short films?
It’s great. I’ve had a lot of memorable experiences watching movies at BFI Southbank, so to have work screened in the same cinema is really nice.
Country Life is also nominated for Best Experimental Film, what has it meant to you to get this type and level of recognition for your film?
Being selected for the festival was already cool, so to have a nomination on top of this is a really nice surprise.
You have had an amazing journey so far with Country Life winning Best Music Video at the 2022 British Short Film Awards, what do you think it is about this work that is connecting with people so much?
I guess this piece is quite in-your-face and really plays for the audience — in the sense that, the primary goal of it is to entertain... with a sort of hat-on-a-hat type structure. So, I think people seem to be engaging with the absurdity of it — but I also think a lot of it has to do with the track itself, which feels super fresh but also has a nostalgia attached to it in terms of the sounds and references it’s calling back to.
Back in 2015 at the Into Film awards you won the One To Watch, how much has/did this early industry recognition help you on your filmmaking journey?
It was cool to be recognised that early on and that young. I’m still in touch with some of the other directors I met through this, and they are all still making stuff too. I think when you’re starting out making things by yourself it can feel like quite an isolated experience, so it was really great to meet other young people making films and have that sense of community.
How important are festivals like Future Film Festival in creating a platform for short films?
Really important. Whether I have something playing at a festival or not, I’m always looking at the short film programme to see which films and director’s are knocking about.
Can you tell me how you got involved with Country Life, were did the inspiration come from to create such a unique experimental music short?
It really just came from how much I hate leaving my bedroom. It’s pro-hermit. Lol. But yeah, that feeling paired with a few Shining and Night of the Living Dead references and there you gooo.
"Looking at the things you didn’t like about the last job — both in terms of overall process and the work itself — and letting this inform your approach to the next one."
When working on a film like Country Life how flexible where you able to be once you got into production?
Because the main concept is quite solid — people trying to get into a bedroom — we were able to be quite lucid with building on the idea throughout prep. One example is the moment where the hands all punch through the door, after it’s been boarded up. We were in the middle of pre-production and I stumbled across a scene from The Simpsons where exactly that happens. So we worked that into the idea. Oh, and the land-lord pissing in the sink was a spur-of-the-moment idea that Sam, the DOP, had on set.
What where the challenges you faced making Country Life?
We only had one break-away door, which meant we had to shoot everything chronologically (based around the levels of destruction the door goes through). Once you made one adjustment the door you couldn’t go back.
The most notable moment r.e this was the ending, where the group smash through the door with the axe — we needed to get two angles of this, so were super precise with how much they could tear away of the door in the first take.
Looking back, what would you say have been the most valuable lessons you have each taken from making this short?
Every now and then it’s not a bad idea to make something which makes you laugh on set.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Yeah, ever since I watched Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl when I was a kid.
Would you consider exploring the themes of Country Life as a feature in the future?
Not in a direct sense, but it was influenced by a lot of classic zombie movie tropes. There might be something floating around in the future that ties into that.
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
It really changes from one job to the next. Looking at the things you didn’t like about the last job — both in terms of overall process and the work itself — and letting this inform your approach to the next one. One thing I do now on every project is I run a rehearsal period before the shoot. I find this pretty invaluable and don’t think I’d ever go back to not doing that.
Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films/stories they want to tell?
Of course. The more people do this, the more it encourages others too as well. Everything Everywhere All At Once is an obvious example of this, but I think as a result of that film, we’re going to see way more crazy ideas coming out of young filmmakers — because it really did just say in capital letters: you can do anything.
What top 3 tips would you offer a fellow film filmmaker?
I think it’s so specific to each individual person, what works for me might not work for someone else and vice versa... but a few things I’ve found useful for myself are: reading a lot of screenplays, watching a lot of silent films / understanding how films can work with just images and nothing else, and exploring obsessions outside of films themselves — whatever else you’re interested in will naturally have a lot of parallels, and seep into the type of work you want to make.
And finally, what massage do you hope your audiences will take away from Country Life?
That it’s okay to want to stay in your room.