[The Boy _ The Balloon] still3.jpg

15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Lucas James
The Boy & The Balloon

Section: In Someone Else’s Shoes

A supermarket employee’s mundane routine life is interrupted by an annoying child.

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

 

There’s been ups and downs but I think my attitude has very much been get on with it and use these weird times to our advantage as much as possible. Hopefully there will be a time to get back to normality but storytelling can escape for the time being.

 

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

 

Most definitely, especially the first lockdown. All I saw was an opportunity of time. Cut out the wasted time of the things that don’t matter and don’t help what you want to achieve. Use the time wisely. Get focused and you’ll get there.

 

What does it mean to be screening The Boy & The Balloon at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?

 

It makes everything worth wild, all the hard work paying off. The most important aspect of any film is to get it seen. The BFI also means a lot to me. It’s fantastic to be associated and hopefully the start of a great working relationship.

 

The Boy & The Balloon is going to be in the In Someone Else’s Shoes Section of the festival, are there any nerves ahead of the festival?

 

I don’t think there is need for any nerves. A scripts not truly finished until its ripped from your hands. Alike the film, it’s in the past now no changes can be made we just have to learn and develop. The main reason is that hopefully people enjoy it amongst the other great films in the category.

 

Can you tell me a little bit how The Boy & The Balloon came about, what was the inspiration behind your film?

 

The idea was born from what kickstarted my perusal in film. I have to take us back to my college enrolment where my options did not fit due to timetabling  causing me to be shown a vocational course focused on filmmaking, and after a five minute chat, my three year thought of taking A-levels was changed. This encounter put me on a path to where I am today, and I always look back and ask what if? 

Nearly every one of us can pin down a moment. The moment where our lives have put on course to change. Maybe a moment that decided your career path or perhaps a moment that chose your best friends. In one of these moments is where we find our film, The Boy & The Balloon.

 

When working on a short film like this how close where you able to keep to your script once you started shooting, did you allow yourself much flexibility?

 

The story itself is a very simple one and therefore just the key plot points were needed to carry the story. We allowed a lot of play between the actors on set. It kept everyone on their toes and built the relationships between the actors and therefore the characters.

[The Boy _ The Balloon] Still1.jpg

"A lot of films and filmmakers have shaped my interest along the way but I think the passion is all about emotion."

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing The Boy & The Balloon to life?

 

The obvious big challenge from the outset was working with a child actor. A lot of rules and regulations can get in the way of the normal process. But luckily our producer Scott Newman is now the expert and did a fantastic job. Keeping my job focused on the storytelling.

Since making The Boy & The Balloon what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from making this film?

 

I had been slowing developing the story for some time and eventually the occasion came where I fleshed it all out. The first time I pitched the idea it got rejected and importantly I went away and set out to improve the story and on a second attempt I got the green light. If you feel like you have a story to tell, don’t stop until you’ve told it. 

 

Where did you passion for filmmaking come from?

 

I’ve always loved telling stories from a young age and growing up I chose film as my medium. A lot of films and filmmakers have shaped my interest along the way but I think the passion is all about emotion. All art has to evoke emotion. It’s something very powerful and I want to give that back. Films have given me so much, I couldn’t live without returning the favour.

 

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

 

Isn’t that the point? Learn the rules and break them. Art can change the world and have a voice. The world will be a different place in years to come, so be a positive part of it that you believe in. Film is always evolving, new techniques and technology are always along the way. We have to continue moving forward with time. We never did, nothing would change.

 

For anyone out there thinking about making their first film do you have any tips or advice you would offer them? 

 

A few years ago I made a decision that if I wasn’t scared in what I was doing, then what was the point? You have to push your comfort zone or you’ll never do anything. It’s an addicting feeling when you accomplish a long project like this one. Every journey begins at the first step.

 

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from The Boy & The Balloon?

 

My favourite films are always those that make me think. Leave me a lasting impression. One my thoughts will always return to. That’s what I want to do with my films. Open eyes to see the world in a different way, keep your thoughts provoked and make you feel something.