British Shorts Berlin 2019
‘The Front Door’
Comedy / Fantasy / Animation / Drama
Sat 19.1. 22:00 / Sputnik Kino 1
Steven notices some odd intruders in the house. The Front Door is part of an anthology of films from 'The Vivid Kingdom' and the first to be screened publicly.
Hi Andrew, thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for British Shorts 2019?
Hello! Absolutely, I’ve been a big admirer from afar for quite some time so to have a film in there this year is brilliant.
Do you ever get any nerves ahead of a festival screening?
A big yes, I try to play it cool but I’m always nervous before a screening. Naturally, we care about our work and we care if it doesn’t connect with people, but it doesn’t stop me from screening the films, you have to! It’s a real learning curve sitting out there with the audience seeing what lands and what doesn’t; you see your film in such a different light and the audiences can vary so much. I think it’s important to be part of that communal experience.
How does it feel to be at the festival with The Front Door?
It’s excellent in many ways, I’ve never had a film play in Berlin before, and for it to be a part of British Shorts with so many other great shorts is the icing on the cake. I really hope it’s the first of many films I make to play at the festival. I appreciate any opportunity to share the film with new audiences!
The reaction to the film has been amazing, what has it meant to you to get this type of response to your film?
I’m humbled that it’s been received so well at the festivals it’s played at. It premiered at Fright Fest last year and the crowd were in hysterics, I didn’t think it would get such a great reaction, not because I don’t have confidence in the film but because I suppose you sometimes expect the worst. After it played the Telluride Horror Show there were people on Twitter saying it was their favourite short film and that completely makes my day!
Tell me a little bit about The Front Door how did the film come about?
The Front Door is one of five films that I’ve been working on for a dark comedy anthology series called The Vivid Kingdom. Last year the plan was to write and direct five films with no funding just to see what I could do and The Front Door was the second film in that process. The idea came from a slight fear of leaving the front door (or any door for that matter) unlocked at night and an intruder coming in. I love playing on little fears and social situations that can be exaggerated for comedy or horror.
What was the biggest challenge you faced bringing The Front Door to life?
The biggest challenge is usually the same one every time I make a film, attempting to create something special with little to no money. I’m very fortunate to have a few friends who work in film, the DOP James Barnett is a regular collaborator alongside actors Chris Butler who plays the cult leader ‘Jacob’ and Daniel Lipton the ‘Human Sacrifice’. My girlfriend Joanna Caldwell also had a massive hand in bringing the film to life, taking on the role of Producer and also playing three characters in the film! I had to be very resourceful with what we had at our disposal by using things I already had access to, the central location is my house, props borrowed from various places and the crew were all friends.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
I wanted to be a wrestler at some point when I was a kid…but that was never going to work out! I would often make horror films with my brother using the family camcorder, we’d rope our mates in from school to act in the films with us but at the time it was never a serious career option, just a lot of fun. I guess I never really stopped and it wasn’t until University where I figured I’d need to start making money from this somehow, and that’s when I went freelance full time. It was a bit of a leap but after a couple of years of just getting by I managed to stabilize.
As a filmmaker how important is the collaborative process for you?
I think any filmmaker will tell you they aren’t much without their team and if they don’t know that, then they soon will. I’ve made films solo many times and whilst I’ve been fairly happy with the result, it’s not the same as when you get a bunch of talented people together and take it to another level. I know what I’m looking for when making a film but I always get excited with what other people bring to the table. Filmmaking can be a lonely process so it’s good to have company when embarking on these crazy adventures.
How much has your approach to your work changed since your debut short film?
My debut short film is technically a film I made when I was in primary school and is unwatchable unless drunk. My first ‘proper’ short film was at College, which I barely showed to anyone, but I had a great time making it. My approach to films hasn’t changed massively; it’s still about the burning desire to see something come to life and to get that thing out of your head and in to the real world. The way I realize that vision has improved and got a bit more efficient over the years. I’ve had hundreds of shots between that first short to now and you can’t help but pick up a few things along the way.
Do you have any advice or tips for a fellow filmmaker?
Don’t over think it, just do it and take what you learn on to the next one.
What are you currently working on?
The five-part, dark comedy anthology series called ‘The Vivid Kingdom’ is taking up a lot of my time at the moment. It’s been a tricky process making so many films in such a short space of time but I’m hoping to get them out by Halloween this year.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from this film?
That people have fun with it, that’s all I can hope for!