by Robert Makin.
To celebrate the success of our special shorts night with International Review, and Ritzy Cinema, we’re talking Duke’s Pursuit, a movie about arevenge-obsessed industrialist hunts a former colleague and forms a partnership with an unlikely ally in this Icelandic set dark comedy thriller.W e spoke with Charlie Edwards-Moss about his award-winning film.
What was the original inspiration for the film and for the character of Duke?
Watching Sexy Beast, Cape Fear and No Country for Old Men were really helpful for the character of Duke and did inform how a lot of the film would play out. This evil, funny, caricature of a horrible villain who had almost cartoon like powers like Jim Carrey in The Mask fascinated us, when you throw this kind of character into a semi-realistic world and watch how people react.
Was there any films/filmmakers you had in mind whilst working on the script?
– The Coen brothers were a huge influence, especially Fargo, but there were loads of films we took inspiration from; For the overall feel of the film we were hugely inspired by ‘Catch me Daddy’ by Daniel Wolfe he creates such a sense of impending doom and dread that we wanted to emulate. You should watch it if you haven’t seen it, its amazing!
Do you have any plans on making it into a feature?
We would love to if someone wants to help finance it? There’s loads of ideas floating about, we are in the process of writing a feature which is similar to Duke’s Pursuit but set in Scotland instead of Iceland.
What circumstances lead to you using Iceland as a location?
We worked with the producer and production designer, Boas, on an earlier short film, ‘Sweet Meats.’ He’s from Iceland and we started talking about making a true English/Icelandic collaboration, something that felt authentic to each country. We came up with loads of ideas, from a fisherman on his boat to two brothers in the army and eventually ended up with the revenge thriller Duke’s Pursuit.
What are the greatest challenges and greatest benefits of filming abroad?
The crew out there were absolutely second to none, these guys are hard as nails, working in freezing temperatures in bitter winds, the coolest and kindest lads and ladies I’ve ever met. It was a real challenge trying to direct the Icelandic scenes, not knowing the language at all makes it hard to see how the performance was so we had a lot of help from producer Boas in those scenes.
Was it hard to get the film financed?
It took a while to raise the funds. We made a crowdfunding video and with a lot of extremely kind peoples help, we got our budget.
Duke’s Pursuit is a revenge thriller. Do your creative aspirations lean more towards Crime/Thriller or do you plan branch out into other genres for future projects?
Absolutely want to branch out! I think Joe and I always lean towards making strong genre films because they are the films we most enjoy going to see. Proper escapism, you know? At the moment we are trying to raise money to make a horror short..
Does your work have any other influences beyond film?
I guess all the classics that you would expect such as music and books, but also paintings and comics can help a lot with lighting and the staging of shots. At the moment we have been looking at loads of religious renaissance paintings to try and get a design together for ‘THE DEVIL’ in our new film.
How have audiences reacted to the open ending? Will the Duke return?
I think some people are really intrigued by the open ending whilst others are just pissed off, like, ‘Why did you end it there, I was just getting into it!’, but it is really nice when someone comes up after watching it and asks loads of questions about what happens next. He could do, I would love to see what he’s doing 20 years later. If he wasn’t dead or in prison he’d probably have gotten well into fracking and completely ruined the Icelandic Eco system.
Do you think short films are a valid medium for storytelling? Do they have any significance on their own, as appose to being calling cards for possible features?
Yeah they are great! They have a lot of significance, for me some of the best short films aren’t those that aren’t entirely rounded off at the end, but more slices of a feature that throw you into the story and allude to some much bigger narrative and universe that the characters are in.
What’s the best and worst reaction you’ve had towards the film?
Worst reaction was probably from an audience scored festival in Manchester where people would write on cards what they thought of the film, some of the audience got the name of the film wrong, had some Duke’s Journey and Duke’s Revenges. Best reaction was probably from Edinburgh Short Film festival where we won the ‘Rising Star Award’! Oh, and our Mums gave some pretty good reviews.
Is it easy getting films screened in London?
There is such a great community here for people who genuinely love films and film-making, so there’s always someone who’s putting on a little film festival or having a screening in a pub.
Do you feel new and young directors are supported by the establishment?
Yeah definitely. The amount of grants available to film-makers our age is unbelievable.
Are you working on any future projects?
We are! It’s called Original Villain and it’s a short folk horror film, we got really inspired by recent horrors such as The VVitch and Under the Skin and really wanted to make something creepy and atmospheric. It follows an exorcists assistant called Sylvester who, whilst aiding in the treatment of an unknown patient, begins to experience horrible nightmares. What begin as hallucinations start to become more and more tangible and a thick heavy paranoia descends on him. Keep your eyes peeled for it, it’s going to be a barrel of laughs!
Want to be featured at our Ritzy Shorts night?
Submit your shorts to firstname.lastname@example.org