Jack Hartley
Dave's Catch of the Day
Screening Session: BLOCK 3  
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
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Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you open the door to a world of curiosity.

Hi Jack thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

Hello! I am coping alright thank you. There are days when it dawns on me that things are not the same but then some days I find myself quite appreciative of the new pacing of life. It seems that this time out from the usual busy rush has helped many people recognise the true things that matter in life, like family and friendships. On the flip side it is kind of ironic because we cannot in fact see our loved ones that easily. I find that keeping creative has been a massive help toward combating the strangeness of our times. 

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

Definitely. I’m fortunate enough to be back working now but I remember at one point there was no choice but to stay indoors. That was a perfect opportunity for me to finally develop some scripts/ideas I’ve been sitting on/putting off for a few years.

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

THANK YOU! I am so grateful that you even took the time to sit through something I laboured on from scratch but for it to be selected to screen at your festival is truly great news for me. You’re the first festival this film has gotten in to and the first festival I’ve heard back from since I began submitting to festivals, so it is honestly very warmly appreciated.

Can you tell me a little bit about Dave's Catch of the Day, how did this film come about?

Hm…It’s a bit nuts init? I was working in Great Yarmouth for a month or so as a Runner/Driver on a feature film written and directed by Portuguese filmmaker Marco Martins. It was night shoots, 6 days a week for the duration of the shoot so it was pretty intense. I had never been to Great Yarmouth before or if I had, I was probably too young to remember. Anyway, I found it a really interesting place. Stuck in the past some what but with a ghostly charm about it and some really interesting characters looming around. I was soon inspired to write a poem one day which started as a reflection on the way I felt about the location, which later became the narration for the film. I used to take my camera to work with me and as there was quite a lot of waiting around between takes etc I used that time to take static shots of the artificially lit streets and shops which you can see in the film.

What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?

Whilst on this production in Great Yarmouth, I became friends with an actor called Kris Hitchens who recently starred in Ken Loaches’ film “Sorry We Missed You” I first asked Kris if he would be up for narrating the film/reading the poem, that soon became a request of Kris to act in the film and play the fisherman. He eventually agreed to do it as a favour. We planned to film for a couple of hours on a Sunday so I bought a fish in preparation, along with some rented costume and props (a coat and fishing rod). The day before the planned shoot, Kris told me he had a lot of dialogue to learn on his day off and had a self tape to send off, meaning it wasn’t the best day for him to film with me anymore.

This was fine of course apart from the issue of me having a dead fish sat at home and some borrowed items so I decided to get out and make the film anyway, I found some fake teeth I bought years ago and put them in, Dave was born! 


Luckily I managed to still make a short film with Kris the following weekend but it was a completely different project!

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

No, it was a good exercise for me and I think I learn something each time I make a film and somehow get a little bit closer toward the direction I want to go in with my storytelling.

Describe your film in three words?

Short, Reminiscent, Curious.

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I’ve always enjoyed fictional stories since being a kid, my imagination has offered me some form of escapism throughout my life, initially I was attracted to acting and started out in some amateur productions as a kid and when I was 18 I got signed by an agent in London and started acting professionally on television productions. Since then I have continued acting for film, tv and music videos etc, whilst naturally gaining somewhat of a good understanding of the creative process. It was an exhibition in Lille in 2017 where I first saw Ken Grants photography, this then encouraged me to start shooting photos on film when I returned to the UK and dug out my old Olympus OM10, since then I continued photographing and naturally made the progression to storytelling through moving image!

"I prefer stories that reflect ones personality and authenticity rather than a story that ticks boxes."

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been give?

I was working on a TV series in Wales back in 2014 and used to spend a lot of time in the bar with my colleague and fellow cast member on the production, Ram John Holder. Ram is a wise legend and a very talented musician who is known mainly for his portrayal of the character Porkpie in 70’s sitcom ‘Desmond’s’. I always remember we came up with a rule (after a few drinks) to put things in to perspective when discussing the “resting” periods between acting work, this was the 3 P’s. Patience, Practice and Persistence.  I still hold this rule close to my heart and think it helps my approach to many things in my life, including filmmaking. Oh and some other memorable advice I got when trying to find my way as a young lad was to go after things I enjoyed doing in life rather than getting caught up about money. As a result of this I did spend the majority of my early 20’s being skint and moving around a lot but I certainly had a good time working in some creative environments on some interesting projects and perhaps I would not be working in the film and TV industry today without taking that initial risk.

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

I think filmmakers should push boundaries should it be necessary. I believe integrity reads more when it stems from the core. I prefer stories that reflect ones personality and authenticity rather than a story that ticks boxes.

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

If you feel like you have something to say inside , no matter how intimidating the market may seem you have to rid others success as your competition and make the most of your time alive to explore your creativity. Everybody is subconsciously progressing through their own story one way or another, they should be entitled to articulate it somehow if they discover a process that works for them.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Dave's Catch of the Day?

I just hope that people become more compassionate and considerate in general, or at least aware of the difference it can make.

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