In this latest episode of Newton Talks I talk to Tom Lee Rutter, director of Day of the Stranger, the folk horror Bella in the Wych Elm, and the forthcoming ‘almanac’ The Pocket Film of Superstitions. We discuss no budget and guerrilla filmmaking, what it’s like to make films in the Midlands and the Black Country, and Tom’s own approach to making creative horror features.
Our new film, Irvin, is available now on You Tube. It was made after a period of extensive research into sex offenders. The script is based on case studies, and was built from primary and secondary research.
Originally, the plan was to create a narrative based on the character, but we felt that the interview structure enabled us to address many of the issues in a more direct and thorough way. It reduced the need for us to ‘narrativise’ events. The acts and events described by Irvin are from multiple different sources. They are not presented in any linear order, which leads to contradictions and repetitions in Irvin’s account of his crimes. We felt that this accurately reflects not only the full realm of the material we researched, but also the contradictory nature of Irvin’s personality.
The character is repulsive and sympathetic. He is intelligent, and capable of both self-awareness and self-pity. This reflects the different dimensions of the character and the complexity of the wider subject of what it means to be an offender and the topic of institutional sexual abuse. Irvin is shot almost exclusively in close ups. This forces the viewer into an intimate relationship with the subject, despite the uncomfortable nature of his crimes. It offers them no easy way out of confronting the issues at hand, and allows the viewer very little relief. Irvin is available to view in its entirety here;
Deliver is a short film that originated as test footage for a character we are working on. The process of testing the character through a lens, rather than working through ideas in a traditional writing session proved useful. It has led to us altering some fundamental elements of the character and the script we are working on, based on the results of this experiment.
We shot this on an old Kodak Zi6. It is a decent piece of kit that aids shooting very quickly, and I may consider trying to get hold of a Zi8 if I can find one for a decent price.
Here is the YouTube upload of the finished film. It was shot in a day, in and around Canterbury.
Finally got around to watching Tape (Richard Linklater, 2001). It is shot on one location with a cast of just three. The script is based on a stage play.
It is a terrific piece of work which demonstrates the capabilities of MiniDV and DV filmmaking in general. As a format this has been replaced by HD and/or DSLR formats for low budget film production.
MiniDV is very versatile, promotes fast shooting and shorter schedules, and is cheap. Best of all, in my opinion, the look for DV is very distinct. And it is very rare that a film is made with that sort of artificial/camcorder aesthetic anymore. This is a shame. It is a visual style which immediately places a film as being made between about 1995 and the late 2000s.
I love the roughness and the sense of immediacy, and films made in the format always inspire me creatively. Below is the trailer: