Category: Interviews

Check out the latest Big Picture Film Club interviews.


Episode 003 The Big Picture Film Club Podcast ft Ani Laurie & Annika Allen

August 9, 2017

We were lucky to have writer and filmmaker Ani Laurie (the only director to have screened 2 films with us!) and founder of Flavour magazine and new platform The Colour Network Annika Allen join us to discuss what it’s like as a woman of colour working in film and tv and the hustle and bustle of the business that they have experienced.

Listen on our Soundcloud channel and don’t forget to like, follow and share!

Episode 003 ft Ani Laurie & Annika Allen


First Look: “Anti Matter” by Keir Burrows

October 11, 2016


At Big Picture Film Club’s First Look we take a sneak peak at a film’s premier screening, or trailer, and give you a glimpse of what to expect and what to look out for! This week’s First Look is Worm by Keir Burrows.

Anti Matter is a sci-fi noir take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. The film centres around, Ana, an Oxford Physics PhD student, who makes a groundbreaking scientific breakthrough – creating a ‘wormhole’. Things take a dramatic turn for the worst after her first experiment. Writer and director, Keir Burrows, excels in creating a tense environment where anything is possible, and everything is subject to question. As we follow Ana in her journey of understanding, the film aims to explore the questions – what makes us who we are?

Following the screening at Raindance, we had a brief chat with Keir, to find out more abut this intriguing film…

Big Picture Film Club: What was the inspiration behind Anti Matter?

Keir Burrows: Anti Matter started off as a short film script – what is now much of the opening act – wherein I wanted to see if I could bring an audience on a real-time journey of scientific discovery, trying to evoke the same responses in them that the scientists might be feeling as they slowly realised they were inventing a wormhole generator. After writing the short I realised I had the foundation for something bigger: I’d created a world and a means where I might explore some really interesting, I guess philosophical questions, about what makes us human, is there more to us than matter, this sort of thing. Ahh, I can’t say too much as it gives away the plot!

BPFC: In the spirit of science-fiction, the film creates a wonderful story based on pushing the limits of science as we know it. However, stylistically the film doesn’t feel like a fantasy / sci-fi film – was this a conscious decision?

KB: I guess it was a conscious decision in so far as we were working within the limits of our budget. The story, the ideas in Anti Matter, are quite big – this isn’t some single-location, chamber piece of science fiction. It has some scale. With a much bigger budget we might have set it in space, or the future, I don’t know, given it more traditional sci-fi flair. But we couldn’t, so instead we tried to go the other way, use the ancient architecture of Oxford, the simple garrett laboratory, conversations in dark pubs and so on, to tell the story.

Once the science is set up, we then make the film about people, and relationships, and the failing human mind. If you think of a movie like Inception – which is pure science fiction – Inception, that story could have been made on a micro-budget, with no-name actors, without the train in the middle of the city and everything scaled down, and it still would have been absolutely amazing. It was great not because of its budget or its wonderful cast, but because of the stunning concept and the smart storytelling. I’m hoping (ha!) that people enjoy Anti Matter in the same manner.

BPFC: The film deals heavily with quantum mechanics and particle physics – did you have to consult anyone for this?

KB: Did a crap-ton of research. Genuinely, I have a dozen fat books on these subjects – quantum mechanics and the like – weighing down my shelf. My wife is like, your movie is done can they go now? Hell no they make me look smart! So no, it was mostly self-navigated. I did both Chemistry and Physics at A-Level, so I had some basic grounding, it wasn’t a completely foreign language. Then with the writing it was a process of knowing where I needed to end up, using the internet to understand the questions I needed to ask, then delving into the journals to make sure I was being coherent. The sole aim being that every step of the journey my scientists take, everything they do, is logical and scientifically comprehensible, even if by necessity it’s all pure fiction.

BPFC: How has the feedback of the film been?

KB: Amazing. Ah, we’re glowing. Raindance was great, audiences really seemed to enjoy it – it’s nerve-wracking as all hell watching with a roomful of strangers, but it was very well received. Unexpectedly we’ve had a whole lot of really good reviews. I wasn’t expecting reviews, not from a film festival, and not as positive as this. Kudos to the whole team!

BPFC: What are your plans for the film moving forward?

KB: So we’ve had distribution offers, which we’re firming up, the hope is 2nd quarter next year, but I’ll let you know more when things are more concrete. And we’ll keep submitting to festivals of course – they’re always so much fun, getting to see Worm on a big screen. It’s what I started making movies for – that moment the lights go down, the score kicks in, the audience engages. It makes it all worthwhile.

BPFC: Who are your filmmaking inspirations?

KB: So Anti Matter is inspired in a big way by Chris Nolan’s work, definitely. The sort of stories I aspire to tell are big, complex tales, entertaining but with a human core, which is what he does. Visually Nolan as well, and David Fincher, whose mastery of every aspect of the entire form just blows me away. So aye, stylistically those two inspire me the most. John Carpenter for the way he stokes and manages suspense, Tarantino for his flair and wicked sense of humour, Danny Boyle for the glorious eclecticism of his career, Terence Malick for the poetry, Cuarón for the adventure, Innaritu for the soul, Kurosawa, Leone… Ah, there’s too many!

You can follow “Anti Matter” on Facebook, or visit Keir & Dédé Burrows’ film production website: http://www.castironpictures.co.uk


Madeleine Morlet: Vision. Power. Sexuality.

January 18, 2016

We all like surprises – who doesn’t? At Big Picture Film Club, part of what makes our job so cool is that we are able to find hidden gems in the expansive film world and do our part in bringing them to the forefront. One such example is the short film, Anchor, by photographer and director, Madeleine Morlet. Although only 9 minutes long, there is not a second wasted in this gripping power play between two lovers, exploring sexual dependency and complex emotions in an increasingly strained relationship.

In Madeleine’s own words, “Anchor is exploring feelings, by coming at it from a place of rigid constraints it was also possible to explore the dullness of extreme feeling. The piece captures a woman as she reaches the full saturation of what she is able to feel, to the point where everything flatlines and nothing but a dull ache remains”. We took the opportunity to have a few words with Madeleine to find out more about what she is up to and to discover more about Anchor…

Big Picture Film Club: What was your motivation in creating “Anchor”?

Madeleine Morlet: The easiest way to answer this question would be to say that Anchor wasn’t motivated by any specific cause, it was motivated by what was then, and continues to be now, a personal objective to make work.

BPFC: The overarching theme of “Anchor” appears to be Power, more specifically the use of sexual power in relationships – would we be correct in thinking this?

MM: I would say that is accurate. Reflecting on my own experience I find that often it is through another person’s eyes that you can really see yourself honestly. I like to think about power and control in relationships. In making Anchor I felt that I could walk in either characters shoes. The dynamic between two people in terms of attraction, desire and sexuality affect this power balance and the needs that drive individuals in relationships can vary greatly.

BPFC: What are you hoping people take from watching this film?

MM: It’s difficult for me to imagine this film having a wide audience, so for those who do see it my greatest hope would be that it produces an emotional response.

BPFC: Your photography work is very captivating, striking and powerful – was it your intention for “Anchor” to have a similar feel to your photography work?

MM: My intention was to make films but a lot of time and resources go into making even a short piece. With this in mind, I found that photography was a way I could actively engage these skills on a regular basis. Anchor was born from my first photography series and each frame was built from one of these original photographs, the images were then used again as a reference for the grade. So yes, it was intentional that the film has a similar feel to my photography work.

BPFC: Is this your first short film? What creative and technical challenges did you face making Anchor?

MM: I consider this to be my first short film. It eventually took 18 months from conception to completion to make Anchor. There were a lot of challenges and setbacks in making the piece, as there often are with zero-budget short films. The script, which was based on real experiences, was too unrealistic, it took six months to cast Delphine in the role of Olivia and with so much emphasis on the sound it was more than half a year to complete the score. Ultimately I approached the entire process with patience and acceptance, this film was made only on my schedule so we didn’t have to hit any deadlines – which meant it had plenty of space to overcome these creative and technical challenges.

BPFC: What is next for you and “Anchor”?

MM: Anchor is being submitted to festivals, which is a learning curve in itself, and my plan is to continue working as I am.

You can follow Madeleine Morlet’s work on Instagram or visit her website: www.madeleinemorlet.com


Graham Higgins: A new take on London’s East End.

November 23, 2015
Graham Higgins

Big Picture Film Club held a screening of psychological-thriller, Mile End [@MileEndMovie], earlier this month. We had a brief Q&A with the film’s writer, director and creative architect, Graham Higgins.

Big Picture Film Club: What inspired you to create MILE END?

Graham Higgins: The idea for MILE END was inspired by real events when a jogger tried to high five me in the street and it started me thinking, what could have happened if I’d got to know him? I go running by the river in Limehouse, in east London where I live. I find that running is very liberating. It frees up your subconscious. So as I was running, this story which is very psychological would just come to me, and I would rush home and write it all down.

BPFC: Not to give too much of the plot away, but MILE END plays on the duality of the main character – what inspired this direction?

Graham: That’s the main question at the heart of the film – the enigma about the parallel lives of the two main characters. These two unemployed guys meet by chance while they’re out running and they become running mates. And they develop a bond, which is quite strange.

Many of us will have experienced that uncanny feeling when someone says something, the same thing we have just been thinking ourselves, and it’s curious how people can have the same thoughts at the same time. You could say it’s coincidence, but perhaps there is something else going on – something spiritual or an affinity between us that we don’t really understand.

During the story, three people are killed in strange circumstances and the film poses the enigma: what happened to them? The answer lies somewhere in the psychology of these two guys, and it’s up to the audience to decide what has happened.

BPFC: What aspect of the film do you think would surprise anyone who sees it?

Graham: MILE END is unique in that it’s my very personal take on what I call the ‘stranger danger’ thriller. People will be familiar with the genre from movies like ‘Single White Female’ where an innocent person meets a dubious stranger. But I’ve given it my own slant, which is to create a story that is deliberately ambiguous. People do find it refreshing that the film keeps them guessing and enjoy trying to figure out what has happened.

It’s also a very different take on the East End of London. There are no gangsters. It’s about an office worker who lives on the fringes of London’s banking zones, the City and Canary Wharf. He loses his job in the recession and goes running while he’s trying to get back into work.

The cinematography by Anna Valdez Hanks really captures the unique beauty of that washed out London light by the Thames, and also the ominous presence of the banking district of Canary Wharf which looms over east London. The music by Ed Scolding is very clever, you don’t feel like you’ve heard it before. One of the reviewers described the film as “beautiful and unsettling” and audiences have found it surprising that a film can have both those qualities at the same time.

BPFC: What are your plans for MILE END moving forward?

Graham: We’re currently submitting to international festivals, talking to distributors. The film premiered at Raindance where it was nominated for Best UK Feature, which was a great experience, so we’re looking forward to more festival screenings. We plan to have a limited theatrical release in independent cinemas next year and then digital release after that.

BPFC: Do you have any projects in mind for the future?

Graham: I have two other feature scripts I’ve written, set in east London. So the three films will be a loose ‘Limehouse’ trilogy. I’d like to make those over the next few years. I also have a drawer full of ideas for other features and a few books I’d like to adapt.

BPFC: How was the feedback from the film?

Graham: Amazing. Reviews have been really positive, picking up on the financial crisis theme, and also saying how “absorbing” and “compelling” the film is. The central performances by Alex Humes and Mark Arnold have rightly had a lot of praise.

One audience member described the film as “full of charm and darkness”, and I think audiences have really found it intriguing and gripping. It’s what I would call a European-style psychological thriller, and people have definitely come out feeling very affected by it. The suspense really ramps up as you go deeper into the story and you do notice audiences going very quiet as they’re drawn in.


Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Graham Higgins [@GrahamHi], and the entire cast and crew of Mile End. Look out for future screenings!

Follow Mile End on Twitter: @mileendmovie

Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub


Naeem Mahmood: The Man Behind The Camera

October 16, 2015
Writer & Director, Naeem Mahmood

Fresh from our screening of Brash Young Turks, we spoke to  the charismatic director, Naeem Mahmood to get the scoop on what drives and motivates him.

Big Picture Film Club: What got you into filmmaking?

Naeem: I grew up in West London and in my teens I got involved in street crime. I found school uninspiring and a waste of time. I’d bunk off and make short films with my brother using a battered home video camera, recruiting actors from the local neighborhood. That was my escape.

BPFC: How did the idea for Brash Young Turks come about?

Naeem: I saw a lot of poor films coming out of the UK with the same old faces, stereotypes, and cliches. Either pointless films about the monarch or the rugrat that never ventures beyond the council estate. I wanted to make a film with a lot more ambition, swagger, style, and substance. One in which it’s young protagonists, who are from the wrong side of the tracks, aim high and are not afraid to break out of the box and carve out their own identities, hook or by crook.

BPFC: Describe the filmmaking process for Brash Young Turks?

Naeem: It was like going to war! I set my sights high despite the limited budget and lack of resources. I didn’t want to make a film set in a room with a couple of actors, I wanted to create a world, portray London in an almost fantastical light. This meant having to hustle in order to get the glamorous locations, stylish costumes, fast cars etc.

BPFC: How has the feedback been for Brash Young Turks?

Naeem: People have never seen a film like this in the UK. There’s been a lot of talk about the bold “hyper-sensory” nature of the film, the larger than life characters and bright colours. Audiences have found it refreshing to see a British film that follows it’s own path and doesn’t conform to any stereotypes.

BPFC: What advice do you have for budding filmmakers? 

Naeem: Stay focused in a world of distractions. Distractions are the enemy of your creative talent. Eliminate them.

BPFC: What’s next for Trailblazer films? 

Naeem: We’re gonna amp things up with a hyper-stylized, raucous crime thriller entitled ‘Us.’ It’s time to raise the levels!

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Naeem Mahmood, the cast of Brash Young Turks and Julian Glover for giving a wonderful Q&A at our last event.
Follow Brash Young Turks twitter: @BrashYoungTurks
Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub


Q&A with Simon Baker, Director & Producer

July 24, 2015
Simon Baker

Following a successful screening of Night Bus, at the launch of the Big Picture Film Club, we caught up with Simon Baker, director & producer of the independent feature-length film.

BPFC: What first got you into video production / directing?

Simon: I first started playing around with video cameras when I was about 16. I went to film school in the 90’s, and got a job a runner when I left, I worked as an editor for a few years before getting a break as music video director and went on to commercials/ short form content.

BPFC: What was the inspiration behind Night Bus and how difficult was the production process?

Simon: The inspiration was two-fold – firstly I had a few experiences on Night Buses that I always thought would be good material for a drama, and secondly, as an (aspiring) indie filmmaker, I needed a simple idea, preferably a single location idea – when the two came together it seemed perfect.

BPFC: Which one of your projects has been the most fun to work on?

Simon: I have to say Night Bus as it’s the only time I have been able to do whatever I wanted.

BPFC: What is your favourite British Independent film (and why)?

Simon: Too many to say – and also these days it’s unclear what exactly defines “Independent”. I’ve always been a huge fan of British realism, from Mike Leigh to Ken Loach, Shane Meadows. One of my favourite films has always been Mike Leigh’s “Naked”, but there is so much more.

BPFC: What is the best piece of advice that you could give to people interested in becoming a filmmaker?

Simon: Get stuck in – film can be quite daunting, as it relies on so many other elements and people, rather than other creative mediums which are more self-sufficient. But don’t let that put you off, pick up a camera, get out there and shoot something – these days cheap cameras are incredibly good, and you can edit/finish at home – something you could never do when I was young. The more you practise and experiment the better you will become. Don’t just sit around talking about it – do it.

BPFC: What projects do you have lined up for the future?

Simon: I am working on the follow up to Night Bus – it’s called “90 Minutes” and is set on Hackney Marshes, a film about football that’s not about the football. I’ve written the script and am exploring production options right now.

Big Picture Film Club would like to thank Simon Baker and everyone involved in the making of Night Bus.

Follow Simon Baker on twitter: @elcardinale

Follow Big Picture Film Club on Twitter: @BigPicFilmClub