Interview conducted by Leeds Beckett University Business School student, Georgia Dossis. Leeds Beckett Universities Northern Film School is the official education partner of the Harrogate Film Festival.
Tell me about your journey of making the film
With this particular film, there was a competition run by directors UK. Which is the UK union of directors.
This competition is run every year for a camera rental company. They set a theme and you pitch your idea to them, if they like it you get a shooting package for a two day shoot, including insurance, vehicle hire, location etc. This year’s theme was delight, I didn’t have an idea but I approached a few writers that I know and one of them had the idea for ‘Special Delivery’.
I took out the little bit of dialogue in the script and the writer was cool with that. He’d written it in a location that was none specific. I knew I could get Thamesmead estate that we filmed in and when I pitched this to him he said “yeah amazing, get that and lets do that”, which was great because it added another dimension to it.
The mood board really clinched it because the location has a cinematic history to it as it’s where clockwork orange was filmed, skins and a few other things. It lends itself well to film.
We had three months to get it finished, because there was a private screening, so it was a really quick turnaround. Obviously a bit stressful, but it’s the best way to work when you’ve got a deadline.
Where did the idea come from?
I didn't write it, but the idea behind setting it in this particular location came from seeing a lot of social issue and gang land dramas set on estates. You don't often see an uplifting drama in this location.
We play with that genre a bit as we go through the film, you’re not really sure what you’re watching until the end reveal scene.
Was it hard to make a silent film or relatively easy due to there being little dialogue?
I mean with this one, it was a case of there was around five lines in the original script and then I guess the hardest part was to second guess if the audience could tell what was going on if we took out those lines.
But audiences aren’t really given enough credit for understanding.
This project was a really good challenge for me to tell the story purely through visuals and directing performance.
It’s also great to see this sector in the film festival, it really harks back to beginning of cinema and the time of Charlie Chaplin where you’d have to tell the story primarily through facial expression.
How do you feel that Special Delivery has been received across the circuit so far?
The reception has been better than a lot of films I've worked on with more production time and money - screening in over 30 festivals and winning awards.
I was really pleased with how it turned out because I wasn’t sure if this kind of central idea was going to come across as too sentimental or twee. But I think setting it in Thamesmead estate gave it some extra weight.
Journalism Student, Leeds Beckett University