TNC Archive 2014 
Interview

Joanna Coates 
WINNER: The Michael Powell Award for Best British Feature Film
Originally published During its World Premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival 2014

Set in an isolated cottage, four young people from London move in together, seeking to challenge social conventions and their own tolerances by engaging in scheduled partner-swapping. The durability of their new living arrangements is tested by the arrival of an outsider who fails to get in tune with the foursome's radical spirit. An inventive and engaging film that uses an elegant, delicate style to gently probe both the protagonists' ideals and our own convictions about love and sex.

Hi Joanna, thanks for talking to The New Current, how's things been?

Thank you so much for taking the time to ask me some questions. Things are great, I’m really excited.

You all set for your World Premier at the EIFF next week?

I hope so!  Finally the world at large is going to see it, which is great. And I get to go to Edinburgh too, which is really fun.

What did it feel like to be told that Hide & Seek had been selected for the festival?

The best news! I was standing in Sainsbury’s and my producer told me. I got so excited the rest of the shopping trip was a blur. I can’t even remember paying for my Lucozade.

You're also going to compete for the Michael Powell Award, Student Critics Jury Award and AWFJ Best Female Directed Narrative, what has it been like to find your debut film get this level of attention?

Obviously it’s very gratifying. My writing partner and I made the film because we wanted people to respond to and debate the ideas in it. I’m excited that the film has a chance, that there’s a chance for this to happen.  It’s not every day that a film like ours, which takes so many risks and was made so independently, gets much attention - so it’s really thrilling that we’re getting this opportunity.

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Have any nerves remained?

A million. 

Tell me a little but about Hide & Seek, how did the film come about?

Wow, where to begin? I met my producer Daniel Metz (who is now my husband) at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012 (he’s American but please don’t hold that against him). We hit it off really well and decided to try to work together. So I invited him to London and we started throwing some ideas around.

I really wanted to make a feature, and the ideas behind Hide and Seek really sprung from these concepts that kept coming up in our conversations: young people feeling powerless and disenfranchised, polyamory, the urban/rural divide, performance, play, retreat, etc. These things were our artistic preoccupations and we figured out a way to make that into the film we wanted, in a way that is really beautiful and very cinematic and exciting. 

What have been the biggest challenges you've faced bringing the film to life?

I sometimes find that in England there’s less interest in sexy, modern filmmaking that explores ideas than there should be. There has to be a middle ground between Realism and Downton Abbey and there’s room to explore a whole load of things in-between about being alive. 

And obviously money was the big problem as well.


Would there be anything you would do differently?

No. We learned so much, I just want to do more. That’s all.

Have you always been interested in filmmaking?

Since I was about 12, yes.

"The audience was so excited, people were shouting things at the screen and clapping and reacting and it felt like being together on this ride."

What was the first film you saw that made you want to make films?

As odd as it sounds, it was Pulp Fiction. I had managed to get tickets to see it in the cinema, even though I was way too young. The audience was so excited, people were shouting things at the screen and clapping and reacting and it felt like being together on this ride.  I liked Carry On films before that, and Alan Clarke, anything British or old black and white films I saw on TV, but I never made the connection to how you can make an audience feel. 

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Matthew McConaughey in 10 years.

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

Don’t worry. 

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

I’d like to get people thinking about their place in the world and that more things might be possible than they expected.