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17-20 February 

Jack Lowe 

Section: Citizens of Earth

A woman cursed with foresight tries to change the course of time. 'FORESIGHT', experiments with the linear nature of film by superimposing the reverse of the film over itself to create a unique storytelling experience.


Hey Jack, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?


I’ve been good. I moved back to Norway six months ago after living in London for two years during ‘these strange times’ and I’m happier for it. I have a network of family and friends here which is good for mental stability. Who would have thought?


Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?


I didn’t find the COVID pandemic hasn’t been conducive to any creative work. Narrative film is a form of escapism, therefore the idea of seeing masks and zoom meetings on screen seems completely nonsensical to me whilst they define our daily lives. I’m more interested to see what comes next when we gain nostalgia about this time, or at least the ability to look back at it with hindsight. The only opportunity was time. Although cliche, the disruption of the usual running of modern life did give perspective on what is important in our lives and led to me turning back from one road I was going down in favour of another one.


What did it mean to you to have had Foresight screened at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?


I’ve been to the festival twice before, when I was 16 and 21, so to come back with a selected film certainly felt vindicating. It seems to be difficult for young filmmakers to get their films selected, if due to lack of connections, lack of budget or lack of experience. This constant rejection can become overwhelming in the face of the elusive industry and I imagine many young filmmakers give up because of this. So, I think, the BFI running this festival inspires a lot of hope in young filmmakers at a time they need it most. 


Foresight was in the Citizens of Earth section of the festival, did you have any nerves before of the festival?


Yes and no. I’m proud of the film. It’s definitely the most concise thing I've made. It was made with zero budget with borrowed kit and a cast and crew of five friends. Foresight was being shown with films with much larger budgets and crews so there was definitely a bit of insecurity there. But, I think, the concept held up and the people who were open to that concept liked it. Obviously, when I saw the first frame my heart was thumping. It’s very exposing for people to see your work, especially your peers. 

What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience being part of the Future Film Festival and would this be a festival you would encourage other young filmmakers to attend? 


Meeting other filmmakers, for sure. I think young filmmakers should definitely go to meet people on your level. Other film festivals are great but you need to find the people you are going to ‘come up with’. People looking to work on projects, projects to work on, collaborators etc. 


Can you tell me a little bit about how your Foresight came about, what was the inspiration behind your film?

So Foresight, for those who haven’t seen it, is a film which is superimposed over itself in reverse. So, whilst you are watching the beginning of the film you see the end in reverse. The timelines meet in the middle then diverge again. So, at the end you see the beginning. It’s a concept. This came about from a conspiracy theory my friend told me about Kubrick’s ‘The Shining’. A critic wrote ‘The Shining is a film one must watch both forwards and backwards at the same time’. Then, John Fell Ryan made it. It was spoken about in the documentary Room 237. Since I heard about it I thought about what a film would look like if it was designed to be viewed in such a way. I also set myself the constraint of 10 minutes, due to festival viability. 


How important was it for you to be flexible with your screenplay?


I mean, to me the screenplay is a draft. It’s always flexible. I write, direct, often shoot and edit my own stuff. So, It’s not like I feel cutting things out is against my will, it’s just getting closer to the final version. Foresight had a whole third scene that I cut and a fifth scene that we never even filmed… and it’s better for it. The actors also know the language better than I do so I often go with their suggestions. I can imagine it's different if the writer and director and editor are competing for different visions of the same project. 


What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Foresight to life and would there be anything you would have done differently on this film?

As mentioned, equipment sourcing was tough. I wish I had a ronin or some kind of stabiliser because the camera we used had no in-built image stabilisation and all I had was a monopod with no tripod head or base. Obviously very grateful to have had them, but yeah, I think it would have made the film better on a technical level. All of my other choices I stand by, maybe a couple minor edit choices but overall I'm content with it. 

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"Advice is all well and good but you only ever really know things when you’ve made the mistakes everyone warned you against."

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?


Yes. Started making films when I was young and haven't stopped.


Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?


Absolutely, film is still so young relative to other formats and I do think there is still so much undiscovered ground to play with. Foresight is obviously inherently experimental in the way it tells the story and plays with the format of film. It's definitely something I’m interested in. Although I do have concerns about the recent plateau of mainstream cinema consisting of superhero films, remakes and biopics. It makes me wonder if audiences want boundary pushing content, maybe it’s just not entertaining. We’ll just have to see.


For anyone out there thinking about getting into filmmaking do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 


Make a film. It’s easier said than done for sure but things are becoming more accessible. Tech is becoming cheaper and cheaper and everything is done online. You can learn everything from youtube. Learn things yourself. Advice is all well and good but you only ever really know things when you’ve made the mistakes everyone warned you against.


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


The film is about intuition, nature and fate, so I hope they think about that. I hope that that concept makes them think about the format of film even if they reject it, which I think is a fair opinion. 

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