Your upcoming movie The Inuring - in a few words, what is it
A bullied teenage girl finally
confronts her sister to drag their fractured past out into the light.
What were your inspirations for writing
The Inuring? And is bullying something you have experienced first hand?
teenage girl who lived a few streets away from where I live suddenly
killed herself after incessant bullying that she kept hidden from her
loved ones. It really struck a chord with me, how someone with a family of
support around them can keep something like that hidden - how they can
attempt to endure it on their own. Fortunately, I was never subjected to
bullying myself, but have often seen it in practice and it has always
troubled me to see and hear about people being intimated like this. These
thoughts combined with my compassion for those that take their own lives
due to bullying, compelled me to write The Inuring.
can you tell us about the intended look and feel of The Inuring?
tone of the film has always been of the highest importance. Consequently I
listened to certain tracks during the writing of the film, and even shared
these with the cast and crew prior to filming. These tracks feature a
melancholy tone and feelings of reflection. The look of the film, achieved
through grading, will be darker hues, to accentuate the emptiness of their
talk about your key cast and crew, and why exactly these people?
have known Emily Haigh (Aleisha) for a few years, and always had her in
mind for Aleisha. But I never discussed the role or project with her prior
to handing her the script in early January 2016. I was of course over the
moon when she officially signed on to the project because I simply
couldn’t envisage anyone else playing Aleisha. A week later, Emily asked
to take up the mantle of producer too, and due to us being fellow
producers on The Velvet Abstract, it was a no brainer. I had met
Sarine Sofair (Claudette) at the London Screenwriters’ Festival in
October 2015, and upon meeting her believed I had found my Claudette. I
never told Sarine this at the time, because The Inuring was still a
few months away from pre-production. But once things kicked into gear I
sent the script to her agent and both her agent and herself loved it and
were very keen to be involved. The crew was much harder to put together
because I was building a whole team from scratch. I held many meetings
throughout pre-production and built up a sizeable team for a short film.
Certainly the biggest crew I had worked with on a short film before. These
23 team members were divided over two days, with some responsible for set
day, which required building the set at Tower Bridge Studios the day
before the shoot. This took 8 solid hours of hard work, and enabled us to
be ready for the day of the shoot the following day. As a fellow producer
on the project, Emily managed to find some great key members of the team
herself, and was also was a major decision maker on everyone else too.
Everyone brought onboard was a result of a shared decision between myself
and Emily. Nobody was hired unless we both agreed on them.
Any idea when and where the film might be
released onto the general public?
The edit will occur
throughout April, with foley, sound mix, and grading during May. So with
everything on schedule the finished film should be available in June.
The Inuring's lead
and producer Emily Haigh you've recently also made The Velvet Abstract
- so what can you tell us about that one?
Abstract is an animated short film that uses CG, illustration,
and animations, to shine a spotlight on the environmental concerns we face
today. It has been shot across six continents during the last six
years and has been a huge global endeavour to bring it to the screen.
It features CG talent from The Hunger Games, Avatar, Star Wars, Rise of
the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, Frozen, Lost, and many
more. I brought Emily on board in September 2015 as a producer to handle
the post-production stage of the film. Her drive and contacts have led to
some great meetings and developments during post which we are currently
still involved with. The finished film will be available in May.
working with Emily Haigh usually like, and how did you first meet even?
met Emily through film networking in 2014, and we have talked every day
since. Working with Emily is enjoyable, creative, highly productive, and
rewarding, because we push each other daily. As a result our projects
always benefit from this shared creative drive. It is important to find
someone that pushes you and inspires you, and in Emily I have that.
The Velvet Abstract being a more experimental movie using
tons of CGI - how will The Inuring compare to that one?
I have learnt a lot as a director and producer during the
production of The Velvet Abstract, but The Inuring also
shares similar themes and tonal, they are cut from the same stone.
Balancing that tone is critical in film. It is so easy for a single line
or scene to unbalance the rhythm of a film. The meticulous planning and
orchestrating of a global project like The Velvet Abstract has
enabled me to handle the demands of The Inuring in a much shorter
Both The Velvet Abstract and The Inuring
very current pressing issues - pure coincidence?
The themes of both films are very topical, and these
topics of climate change and bullying will always remain prevalent to
mankind. But I did not set out to write films that would fit within a
certain zeitgeist. I am driven by the love of story and wrote
two films that simply wouldn’t leave my head.
future projects beyond The Inuring you'd like to share?
am now in pre-production on a couple of new short films, the first of
which is The Nomophobe, a film dealing with family loss, and it is
due to be shot in the summer. I am also developing a feature film of The
Inuring, which explores the story in full and will shoot in 2017.
What can you tell us about your
filmwork prior to The Velvet Abstract and The Inuring?
have been involved with over twenty short films, directed a TV period
costume drama, and a live theatre show to an audience of 4000 in Tuscany.
On my first ever day on set as a director the cast and crew combined made
100 people in total on set. I fought hard to get that gig and it was
certainly a case of throwing myself in at the deep end. But I am
comfortable in front of a large crowd as a small one, so nerves were never
an issue. I have worked on multiple sets both home and abroad, with over
150 actors, and I have been fortunate to have enjoyed every single one of
these projects. This experience has also led to me being hired to be a speaker for the
Screenwriting Expo in Los Angeles, a director for the Actor Table Reads at the
London Screenwriters’ Festival, and most
recently being elected onto the Executive Council of the Writers’
would you describe yourself as a director?
I am extremely
meticulous by nature and this reflects in my work. I plan everything in
detail. But trust is important when working with actors because they are
at the heart of your story. Today, too many filmmakers concentrate all
their efforts on where the camera is going to be, and forget the most
compelling frame on any screen is not the angle of the camera, but the
eyes of the actor. The camera shouldn’t get in the way of the story or
the performances. For me, I find the very best actors I can get for the
roles, because their performances are what I want audiences to remember.
Character driven stories are what matter to me most and without highly
skilled actors to bring the characters to life, a director is merely
directing a cacophony of sound effects and obscure angles.
who inspire you?
There are many filmmakers I admire
greatly, such as Buster Keaton [Buster
Keaton bio - click here], Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David
Fincher, Jim Jarmusch, and lots more. But I have never tried to be
them. I focus on the story I am telling and use the techniques suitable to
serve the story and pacing. In some cases I have suggested shots to DP’s
that they were at first unsure about, but once in practice they
agreed why that particular shot was the right one for the scene in
question. It is important to be inspired but you have to forge your
own path. Be true to yourself and the story you are telling. Your heroes
would make a different film. Make the film you want to make.
Otherwise what is the point of being a filmmaker.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
So many films to mention, but the two I simply cannot live without are Casablanca
and Se7en. Both very different movies, and the earlier drafts of
both suggested neither was going to work, but they have remained under my
skin from the first viewing.
movies' website, Facebook, whatever else?
My own website is http://www.thejameshughes.com
and my Twitter
handle is @theJamesHughes but I am not on Facebook.
The films discussed in this interview have websites,
are both films of my production company Sunset Aperture
you can read more about my forthcoming productions, along with
updates to The Velvet Abstract and The Inuring - two films
I cannot wait to share with audiences around the world.
Thanks for the interview!