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netribution > features > interview with omid nooshin > page two
How did you go about financing it?
By leaving no stone unturned. Raising cash appears deceptively tricky at first, but it’s really just a question of perseverance and belief in your script (and at least one pair of presentable shoes). Panic was co-financed by a Lottery Film award from the Arts Council of England, the rest coming from private finance and sponsorship. Experience teaches you that there are no external forces capable of preventing you achieving what you’ve set your mind to (except, I suppose, anything which would kill you – which would pretty much put an end to your plans). I’ve come up against some pretty intransigent forces in my time, but the only true obstacles are internal ones like self-doubt and pessimism. Once you’ve conquered these, the outside world is a relative pushover.
Have you had any festival success with it?
Panic was picked up by The British Council for representation at international festivals, and has recently been in competition at a couple. It hasn’t been as successful as my last short, Rooftop, but then I never expected it to be. Panic is a very classical film in form, aimed at a mainstream audience, and festivals tend to be a showcase for more innovative material. Whether this results in a better film or not is often a question of taste, but that’s the nature of the festival arena and you have to be realistic about that. We were short-listed for a BAFTA nomination however, which was fairly surprising.
What's the connection with Atom?
The connection is simple: Atom really wanted Panic, and I really wanted Panic on Atom. The only complication was that the international rights had already been signed up by Jane Balfour Films, after a screening at BAFTA. Luckily, Atom were in the process of negotiating a deal with Jane Balfour for some of their shorts anyway, so we managed to include Panic as part of that package. There are lots of web sites presently which stream shorts, but Atom are in my opinion leading the way as far as acquiring material. They have a great deal of vision and drive, and evidently good taste.
Have you any reservations about showing your work online?
Yes. Image quality and screen size. The first problem is already being resolved with broadband, but this’ll be too late for Panic’s initial outing. The second issue – screen size, is unlikely ever to be resolved satisfactorily (unless computer screens grow to the size of living rooms – which, let’s face it, isn’t going to happen). The big screen is the cinema’s natural habitat. There are convenient ‘zoos’ like television, video, and the Internet, but you can never emulate the experience of seeing a film on the big screen. The main advantage of being on-line is the potential audience; huge by short film standards.
There’s a lot of comedy in the dialogue and performances, do you think you lost any of the drama from that?
Well, comedy is a crucial element in any story. It’s often the primary aid in helping the audience relate to the characters. It’s also one of the hardest components to get right – so it’s always a joy when it works. I’ve always found the dramatic premise of Panic very compelling, but you can only go so far in building suspense before the audience needs a break. They become emotionally spring-loaded, so you can either wind them down gently by slowing the pace, or use quick-release mechanisms like jokes and shocks. Relentless tension in a film can become exhausting; it desensitises the viewer. It doesn’t mirror life. Life is always full of contradictory emotions, and we become adept at moving rapidly on an emotional level.
Tell us about the feature and the research for it?
I can’t – it’s a secret. I can tell you that we’ve just returned from a three-week research trip which has been very surreal and emotional, but also very productive.


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