Sunday 8 September 2013

Interview with David Campion, director of Patrol Men and Woodfalls

In my first batch of reviews on DEoL I've covered both of David Campion's recent films, Patrol Men and the as yet unreleased Woodfalls. I asked him a few questions about the making of his most recent film.

So, what gave you the idea for Woodfalls?

Finding the right subject matter for a film is tough. After Patrol Men, Ben (Simpson, co-director of PM) and I wrote a lot. We wrote a feature called ‘Video Nasty’, but realised it would cost too much to make. We worked on an anthology film, a serial killer film, a ‘Funny Games’ inspired invasion film and a ‘street film’. I was really into the street film. It was called ‘Sweetblade’ and it featured lots of stuff from my teenage years, but I couldn't finish it. It wasn't working out. Woodfalls came about during the Dale Farm evictions. Gypsies seemed to be all over the media and I actually have travellers in my family, so I had this different perspective of the culture. I felt we could portray them as simply and honestly as I knew Woodfalls was born.

How much did it cost to make? And how did you go about raising the cash?

I’m not sure if I can give the exact figure, my producer might lose his shit with me. It was a little more expensive than Patrol Men (which cost £2,000), but not much. We started a Kickstarter campaign and felt confident that, after the release of Patrol Men, we could raise suitable funds. This was a mistake. We realised we had shit - no rich family, no real following...just a few supportive friends. After a few weeks, it became clear that Kickstarter wasn't going to work out.

In the end, I raised the money alone, in the form of a bank loan. If I'm not willing to invest in myself, how can I expect others to invest in me..?!

What did you learn from the making of Patrol Men that you applied when making Woodfalls? 

We made Patrol Men right out of uni, so the biggest learning curve was actually shooting for 4 weeks, rather than 5 days. A film shoot really is an endurance test. Patrol Men also made me more comfortable with actors and to a certain extent blocking, but I'm still developing my techniques in that area. 

Unlike other independent directors, you haven't re-used any of the cast from your previous film. Was that by accident or design? 

None of them wanted to work with me. Ha ha! Woodfalls felt like a new chapter, so yeah, I wanted to keep it fresh. However, Okie (Anthony Abuah) from Patrol Men actually produced Woodfalls. And he’s in it, briefly - we named him ‘Blaze’.  Anthony is also a director now; he made his directorial debut, Woolwich Boys, about nine months before he produced Woodfalls. He had a busy year. 

We're now used to you and Ben Simpson working together. Ben's given a co-credit for the story but this is your first sole directoral credit. What was it like going it alone? 

When Ben left the project, I felt a bit lost. We’ve been making films together since we were 15 and I honestly thought we’d be making them for the rest of our lives. That’s life I suppose. But, once I realised I was on my own, it was good. I actually enjoy directing by myself. I also had a lot of support from my crew. DoP Louis Corallo has been there since uni. He was DoP on Patrol Men and he was DoP on Woodfalls from the very start. In filmmaking terms, he has become as close as Ben - we collaborate very well. I don’t like the guy though - what an asshole (I think he's joking - Ed.).

The soundtrack is really good - the dubstep sound really suits the mood of the film. How did you find the bands to contribute? 

They are all local. Most of the music you hear in the club sequences are tracks from Planky, who has been on the scene for years. He puts out tons of drum’n’bass, hip hop, dubstep and house - the dude is constantly making music. I was looking for some rap tracks and I came across Lyrical Monsoon. They gave me permission to use their music, but one of them, Gav Roberts, took a real interest in the film and ended up scoring it. His score is so heavy, I love it. I think he would be great at scoring a horror film, something 80s inspired, lots of heavy synth and meaty bass. Gav came onto the project pretty late. I think he did a fantastic job. 

So now it's almost 'in the can', how do you feel about the film? Does it feel like the film you wanted to make? Were there many compromises? 

It’s weird. I'm too close to it to have any sort of real opinion. It’s not perfect and I definitely haven’t reached my full potential... yet. However, some of the stuff really works for me, the third act especially. I'm extremely proud of my cast and crew. People like Helen Nash (make up), Rita Colson (costumes) and our runner, ‘Super’ Ed Muir, went way beyond their call of duty.   

And finally, what's next for you? 

I'm writing. A lot. I have a script that I'm pitching as 'Byker Grove meets 8 Mile/John Hughes' with battle raps. I'm also working on a script about Backyard Wrestling, which I'm developing from a short I made in uni, entitled ‘Heel’. However, I went to You’re Next a few nights ago and that got me thinking. You could see the love and passion that went into the film and I realised how much I love making horror films. I'm taking notes at the minute, but another horror might be right what I need...

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting interview i can relate to much of what was said love the bit about cast not wanting to work with you again know that feeling defo. Just wait until you get a full budget in place you will soon see who wants to be friends again.