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netribution > features > interview with justin edgar > page one
Justin Edgar has just shot his first feature midway through his twenties. It's a fact that will probably create drawn breaths of jealousy amongst many readers here. It's a dream for a lot of us - to get that first feature made around the same age of Welles, Soderbergh, Rodriguez and Spielberg. So how did he do it?First off, he's a bloody nice guy, which is rarer than it should be. Secondly he had the combination of great short and funny feature script - utter essentials according to Alex Usbourne in last week's interview. Thirdly he showed his project to the right people, and didn't mind spending a year unpaid on its development. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Justin creates films for the teen market, an area horribly overlooked by the bulk of cinema production in this country. And he doesn't do this cynically - teen films are his favourite genre, having grown up on a diet of John Hughes, Savage Detol and Howard Deutsch.Anyway, judging by the rushes I saw whilst I was on set, he has a lot of potential, and is a name to look out for. So get the low-down on the UK's first debut director of the millennium...

| by nic wistreich |

| in birmingham |

What first inspired you to direct?
I think I always wanted to do it really. I'm one of those people that just watches loads and loads of films - a child of the video age I suppose. I was a big fan of teen movies from the mid 80's - things like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink - and I wanted to make my own that were set in England because there weren't any at all and still aren't many.Why do you think that is?
Well Paul Webster said in Screen International a couple of weeks ago that there simply are not enough films being made for the under 25 audience, its all for over 25 whereas the DVD and video buying public are mostly under 25. Films like Kevin & Perry, which has just had an amazing weekend, proves that there is an audience out there for that market, and for films like Large. Its very encouraging.

How do you think Large compares visually with other comedies?
Kevin & Perry, which I really enjoyed, looked a little plain, quite flat. Visually, Large is quite colourful and bright, and practically the whole film is hand held which gives the impression that you are spending a whole night with the characters.

Where did you study film?
Film school in Portsmouth. Its was quite an experimental film course and I made some pretty weird films there, got them out of my system. It taught me how to work on film, I've come from a film background rather than a comedy background, people doing film comedies at the moment seem to be coming from TV or stand-up - people like Stephen Schwartz who wrote Shooting Fish.

Do you think film schools are worth the money?
Well you need to go there and forget the money. You get to make films for free because the equipment and the film stock are all paid for - at least if you pick the right course. So it was good in that respect but most of my training was working on low budget films outside film school, a couple of shorts and a low budget feature.

Was that experience gained after you'd left?
Yeah, I did two after film school. Larging It in April '97 and Dirty Phonecalls in May '98 from which I met Alex Usbourne in Birmingham. I did Larging It for a local new directors scheme called 1st Cut which was really good in that a lot of new directors come through it like Shane Meadows with Where's The Money Ronnie? Basically we took them Larging It and they gave us the money to finish it off.

Would you go back to shorts?
Yeah, funnily enough I plan to do a short this Summer which feature film directors never do! The process is much more disciplined than making features in a way because you really have to think about what is going to go in. I always try to limit mine to 10 minutes. You've got to start with something longer and cut it down, what goes in and what stays out?

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