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netribution > features > interview with justin edgar > page two

Justin before his audition for the next Bond villain


What inspires you as a director?
Its an odd combination really because I love social dramas like Mike Leigh's and I love Shane Meadows' stuff. So my main areas of inspiration lie somewhere between Pretty In Pink and Secrets and Lies. I've always found Birmingham a real source of inspiration because there's some great, great humour up here, great people and its never really been exploited on TV or film before.

How did you find the transition between shorts and features?
It was difficult in some ways and easy in others. The difficulty was the stress; the fact that you are dealing with a million and a half quid of somebody else's money and you have to deliver. What makes it easy is having such a great team working with you and helping you out - suddenly there were five people doing a job that I would normally have had to do myself. It means you can concentrate on what's important, which, for me, is the actors and the performances really.

I must say how calm it felt on set, it didn't feel like it was the last two days of a first shoot!
Its a perfect cliché to say this but we had a really good crew and I don't think there was a single bad apple really. It was important to create that sort of vibe because it was a comedy. We had to make the actors relaxed, but we had that on the short films and I like to think we replicated it.

What do you wish you'd known before you started filming?
That's a really tough one! (laughs) As an overview, how much you can do with the crew because coming from the shorts where you have to do everything yourself, it's very difficult to get what you want but you suddenly realise that you've got loads of people behind you that can get you exactly what you want.

Do you have any advice for filmmakers trying to make a start on their first feature?
What I found most useful was getting the short shown at festivals; getting a following and a reputation from people as "the guy that makes funny shorts," getting noticed and getting a producer which was a key thing for me. No matter how much people think that they can produce their own stuff it's so much better to have an experienced producer on board who's been to Cannes and knows the people who have the money for you to make your films.

Large went through a long development period didn't it?
Yes it did. I think we went through about 20 draughts of the script actually (laughs) which was great. We'd read through it with the actors, honing it down and that was really useful. At that stage there was no money involved and the actors volunteered their services for nothing.

What's next for you?
Well I'm developing a script at the moment called Factory Fortnight with which I'll be sticking with Alex again and I'd like to get some stuff developed through my shorts production company 104 Films, set up an office here in Birmingham and develop some local talent. The feature's about a Brummy family that go on a holiday from hell - similar style of gross humour to Large and sort of based on a traumatic family holiday that I once went on.


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