15th LICHTSPIELKLUB
SHORT FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
Interview

Bryan M. Ferguson 
Red Room 
Horror / Thriller / Animation / Mystery / Dark Comedy
Sat 22.1. 24:00 / Sputnik Kino 1

bryanmferguson.co.uk

A hauntingly atmospheric and contemplative look at a relationship between three friends which becomes fractured after a reality-destroying moment of possession. 

 

Based upon the novel Bitterhall by Helen McClory

Hi Bryan thank you for talking to The New Current, these have been some very strange times, how have you been holding up?

I wasn't too affected by the pandemic - I'm naturally a bit of a recluse so staying inside was pretty normal for me.

Was it easy to motivate yourself creatively during the lockdowns?

I actually found myself having more time to focus on getting work done that's been swirling around in my skull forever.

With everything that is going on due to Covid how essential are festivals like British Shorts Berlin in continuing to provide a platform for Independent British short films?

Assuming your film gets accepted then all festivals are essential - the longer I've been making short films the more you realise how difficult it is to get someone to actually kill 3 minutes of their time to watch them. So festivals are incredibly important.

Congratulations on having Red Room selected for British Shorts 2022, how does it feel to be at the festival and part of such an amazing line-up of short films?

It's always great to be screening at British Shorts - I'm very proud of the film so I'm glad it's getting a spin in Berlin.

How did Red Room come about?

It was funded by the Edinburgh International Book Festival - they paired up 6 Scottish filmmakers with 6 Scottish authors to make mini-adaptations of their most recent books. I was fortunately paired with Helen McClory. I saw it as an opportunity to do something different and challenge myself to do something purely atmospheric and more restrained and less manic.

What was it about Bitterhall by Helen McClory that inspired you to want to adapt it into a short and what where some of the challenges you faced adapting Helen's book?

Helen and I share a lot of the same aesthetically interests - I love death, murder hauntings and possessions, they make a perfect recipe for any story. Adapting a book was a new challenge, I desperately wanted to get Helen's blessing to sort of make the short my own and she was really keen for me to do so, which was brilliant. The challenge lay with condensing quite a dense book with interwoven narratives into something short and engaging. I felt the best way to do that was to take key pieces that I found interesting and would work best visually then tell the story through atmosphere and in an almost abstract way.

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"I think as I'm now in my mid-30s I've become better at crafting stories through visuals but everyday is a school day."

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

Always push boundaries - however I often feel the films that do tend to be the ones that generally don't get to play at festivals and slip through the cracks. Which is really unfortunate because we live in an age where the only films that play in the cinemas are endlessly connected films about people wearing capes.

Has your approach to your writing and directing changed since your debut short?

It has definitely changed - I used to do everything myself, I still do a fair bit on my own but I have a small crew that are like family so now I can't show up to set with my camera and my shoot list in my head rather than written down. I used to be more of an impulsive filmmaker where I'd shoot what I feel on the day but now everything I do is more structured and planned out (however always allowing for impulsive decisions on the day). I think as I'm now in my mid-30s I've become better at crafting stories through visuals but everyday is a school day.

As a self-taught filmmaker do you have any tips or advice you would offer someone thinking about getting into filmmaking?

Don't rely on other people to get your film made, you're the only person who really wants to see the film made and that's exactly why it should be made.

And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Red Room?

I hope it conjures up thoughts and questions - engages audiences but also makes them feel a bit uncomfortable. (I'm a sucker for punishing the viewer).