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BFI Future Film Festival 2015

Our Father

February 18, 2015

Unable to find peace and connect with his mother, Lawrence seeks distraction from his demons by volunteering for an emotional support helpline. A desperate phone call from a suicidal man makes him face the past and pushes the boy to the breaking point.

Already working on his next film Artur's passion and drive is infectious. Our Father, commissioned by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Our Father is set to be screened during the Fiction Category at the BFI Future Film Festival 2015.


Hey Artur thanks for talking to TNC, how have things been going?


All is good, thanks! I am currently working on my next short film – Vespers, which has been shortlisted for further development with the Scottish Film Talent Network. It’s been a very intense, yet extremely rewarding process! I am bursting with excitement about this project and can’t wait to be reunited with my crew on set!


How does it feel to be part of Fiction section of Future Film Festival 2015?


It’s a great honour to be part of this year’s edition of the Future Film Festival. The BFI is an iconic institution that does a tremendous amount of work for young filmmakers like myself. Having my voice and vision recognised by talented and experienced professionals at the heart of the film industry in the UK means a lot to me and without a doubt motivates me to work even harder to mature as a writer and director.


Are any nerves setting in ahead of your screening?


Not yet… But the first screening of Our Father in cinema was a very daunting experience. You watch your work on this massive screen in a room filled with stranger - an objective audience to be frank. There’s nowhere to hide as every single detail becomes brutally magnified… Yeah, It’s kind of terrifying! I think the nerves are setting in now - so thanks for that! (Laughs)


What have been the biggest challenges you've faced putting your film together?


The whole process was a huge challenge… It was all about getting out of my comfort zone. Taking responsibility on a scale I have never done before. Our Father has been my biggest project to date and the whole process was about stepping into the unknown, exploring my writing style, my voice as a director… Not to mention my editor being picked to cut a new BBC series at a very last minute, leaving me with no other choice but to edit the film myself. Needless to say I spent many lonely hours in edit suite… On my levels putting this film together has been the most challenging task in my life so far. But we got there at the end and I am proud of the result – it’s been a tremendous lesson about filmmaking but I also learned a great deal about myself.


Tell me a little bit about Our Father, how did the film come about?


Our Father was commissioned as a graduation film by The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in early 2014. The interesting thing is, I actually had another script ready for submission that I worked on for almost a year… but then I realised that it didn’t feel like the kind of story I really wanted to tell. I decided to scrap it and start fresh just before the final deadline. The idea of a family torn by suicide was something that was brewing in my head for quite a while – in fact I made a micro short a while ago that touched upon the theme and I was very interested in exploring it further. Suicide is still an extremely sensitive subject - it’s a tragedy that can leave whole families scarred for life. I think it’s good for films to be an impulse for further conversation and that’s what I wanted Our Father to become.

"There are also without a doubt themes that inspire me more than other subjects: questions of mortality, death, subjectivity of human perception and memory…"

What was the main inspiration behind the film?


This will sound so wanky, but… It was the fact that for the first time I really let myself go as a writer. Something just snapped in me, unleashing this completely new force and the story started coming together rapidly. It felt raw and authentic – more than I ever anticipated. The more I wrote the more determined I felt to push the boundaries and really challenge myself as a storyteller. It got to the point where I was scared of the words on page – they seemed to carry a great power that affected not only those who read the script, but even myself. The intensity of that experience was overwhelming, but the result definitely worth it.


What was the hardest scene for you to film?


Probably the scene we filmed above the motorway, when Lawrence contemplates the idea of giving up for short moment… The sun was about to set so we were working under a lot of pressure to move things quickly, yet the windstorms and rain that we had to face made it near impossible to capture the drama with due attention to detail. The jib was all over the place, the light was changing every two seconds, everyone was getting wet… It was a nightmare. But the wonderful Pierce Reid (who played Lawrence) was extremely patient and understanding throughout it all - he just delivered a great performance with every take.


When did you realise you wanted to make movies?


I became really interested in visual storytelling when I was thirteen, but my ambition was to be a music video director. I have always connected very strongly with songs through their lyrics and the idea of creating a visual version of what a particular song made me feel seemed like such a powerful concept. And I still feel like that today! But my focus started shifting towards drama some time during my second year of studies at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland… I had an amazing time there and learned a tremendous amount about why I like certain types of films and what are my ambitions as a writer and director.

Has it been difficult to manage all your roles in this production?


It was a great lesson in finding the right balance between all of my roles as a filmmaker. It took me a good while to let go of the script once I started editing the film… I said this before, but it was an extremely intense process! Looking back at it now I also probably got involved in production side of things a little bit more than I would want, but we all had to be versatile and learn as we go.


What has been the most valuable lesson you've learned so far? 


Always trust your instincts - go with what your gut feeling is telling you and own it. It’s essential you listen to your mentors, learn from their experiences and trust their knowledge, but at the end of the day it is your film and your vision should shine through your work – from the beginning till the end. You will make mistakes, some things will not work as you imagined, but that’s how you learn and become a better storyteller. You will feel much better for taking the responsibility for your vision and its execution.


Who have been your biggest inspirations?


There are a few filmmakers that inspire me… But my favourite two at the moment would have to be Ingmar Bergman and Krzysztof Kieślowski. There are also without a doubt themes that inspire me more than other subjects: questions of mortality, death, subjectivity of human perception and memory… These are matters that I feel most interested in exploring. But what inspires me on a day-to-day basis is being surrounded by likeminded aspiring filmmakers who strongly believe in what they do, get knocked down and get back up again, trying harder than ever to progress.


Do you have a favourite film quote?


Not really… There are too many, but they all sound weird outside their original context!


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


As long as they believe in it and feel something at the end – that is all I hope for.

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