Dinner with Wave
Can you tell us more about the context in which Wave was made. You’ve described it a side-project…
My first film Stutterer was just starting to do the festival run so I was dying to make something else. TJ wanted to try acting in something. So we decided to make something on a weekend for zero budget. I would write it, he would act in it, we’d co-direct it. So I went off and wrote a piece for TJ. We were quite happy with it but as we explored the idea further, it became clear that it merited a deeper exploration. At that point we managed to convince our producer extraordinaire, Rebecca Bourke to produce it. Once on board, Rebecca single handedly steered it into a proper, fully functioning production and suddenly we found ourselves making a film that was a lot more ambitious than we had anticipated. It was a side project in that we weren’t able to shoot it all in one go. Instead, over two years, we would film in shorts bursts whenever myself, TJ, Rebecca and our awesome cinematographer Burschi Wojnar were all in the country. And here we are two and a half years later!
What was the inspiration for TJ’s character?
I’m fascinate by communication as a theme. I read a BBC article a few years back about an elderly English man who had a stroke and woke up speaking fluent Welsh, despite the fact that he hadn’t been in Wales since he was a young boy. I was fascinated how such a thing could happen. The idea stayed in my mind and popped up again when I was thinking about a role for TJ. Good ideas tend to stay buried in the subconscious until they’re needed.
There is a surreal, stylised character to the film. Can you tell us more about your artistic choices?
That was mainly an attempt to give a visual depiction of Gaspar’s interior reality. The overall look warranted a slightly hyper-real or heightened style to mirror his perceptions. Gaspar’s world is turned upside-down when he has an accident leading to a severe head trauma and a lengthly coma. When he wakes he is speaking a fully formed but unrecognisable language baffling linguistic experts. So when he is finally released from hospital he finds himself navigating through a completely unrecognisable, strange world. I wanted to try to depict what that might feel like so a degree of surreality suited that mood and the tone.
How was the collaborative process with TJ, given he is both acting and co-directing?
It worked well. TJ was acting in pretty much every shot and we quite easily just figured out how to make it work. TJ was very easy to work with.
Your film Stutterer was an Oscar winner. What sorts of doors did this open for you to direct other shorts? Are you working on a feature film?
It was great mainly in terms of getting excellent management and a superb agent. I feel very lucky to have been given those opportunities. I wrote my first feature film in 2017. It’s being produced by Anonymous Content in the US. We’ve just gone out to our first lead actor with the script. Fingers crossed!
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
It’s great to have full control. When someone else funds a feature film, you hear that control can be reduced and the struggle to make something in the exact way that you want it can increase.
If you’ve already been to Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
First time this year. I hear great things about it. I’m looking forward to watching a load of great shorts and meeting a load of great filmmakers!