Sundance Film Festival 2022
Brian & Charles
After a particularly harsh winter Brian goes into a deep depression; completely isolated and with no one to talk to, Brian does what any sane person would do when faced with such a melancholic situation. He builds a robot.
Hi Jim thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?
Hello. Yeah all good thanks, all things considered. I’ve been very lucky to have been kept busy during most of this whole thing, so I can’t complain. As much as I’d like to.
Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?
Honestly, I’ve just been focussed on making the film and then a TV series straight afterwards. Both of which were lined up before the pandemic, so it is only now that I’m focussing on anything new!
Congratulations on having Brian and Charles selected in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at Sundance 2022, what does it mean to be part of such an amazing line-up of films?
It’s incredible. A dream come true sounds a little cheesy but it’s honestly been the festival I was always wanted to get into. Even just for a short. But to have a feature there is incredible.
You won Gold at the Young Director Awards in Cannes for the short version of Brian and Charles was it always your intention to turn your short into a feature?
I think we only really started thinking about it when we were shooting the short. We were holed up in this little Airbnb in the middle of nowhere and we thought… we could just stay here for a few weeks and have a feature! Though it wasn’t until the short was released and we saw the reaction to it that we actually started any work on it.
"It wasn’t until my twenties when I thought I might be ok at it that the spark was really lit."
Can you tell me a little bit about how Brian and Charles feature came about?
Once the short came out Ollie Madden at Film4 got in touch pretty swiftly and asked us if we considered it as a feature. We said yes, sure… definitely. How do we make a feature? Then it was a few months of batting some ideas around of what a film might look like, some pretty mad ones now we look back on it. Once we settled on a plot then David and Chris went away and wrote it.
What was it about David Earl & Chris Hayward screenplay that connected with you as a director and did you have any apprehensions about directing your writers?
What surprised me about the script for the short was how emotional it was, I knew it would be funny but there was also a lot of darkness there. That’s what really attracted me to it, and by extension the feature. I like doing comedy but I always want to be able to do something different with it and this felt different.
In terms of directing the them as writers, it was honestly a breeze. They are very collaborative and were very trusting of me and the direction I wanted to take it.
What was the biggest difference to your approach to the Brian and Charles feature compared to your short and what was the most challenging scene for you to film?
When we made the short, I was reacting to a lot of short documentary films at the time and trying to make narrative comedy in that style. I’d not seen it done before and was bored of all the classic mockumentary styles. So with the feature I started looking instead at modern feature docs, as well as a lot of old ones. But really the approach was very similar, trying to be true to the style but also elevating it for the big screen.
Most challenging scene? Doing a car chase scene in the driving rain with a 7ft robot.
Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films/stories they want to tell?
No. All the boundaries are pushed, lets settle in the middle.
But, yes, I do agree. What’s the point in making something if you feel like it’s been done before? Even with this film which is a heart-warming comedy, we are still always trying to do something new.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
I don’t actually think I have. I always made little films as a kid and through school, sketches and the like. But I also did a lot of other stuff. It wasn’t until my twenties when I thought I might be ok at it that the spark was really lit.
Is there any advice you would offer someone wanting to get into filmmaking?
The age old boring one. Just make stuff. On anything. Over and over again. Don’t wait till you’ve raised £5k for your short. Go and make something else in the meantime.
And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Brian and Charles?
I hope they leave happy. That would be nice.