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UKIF 5 minute interview: Damien Swaby

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Damien Swaby

  • actor, filmmaker
  • She moves me

Tell us about yourself, your crew, previous film projects and your current project.

I’m a filmmaker who has made five short films ranging from class, race, comedy and Jam in a honey jar to happiness in a tree house. I’m about to embark on my first feature film called She Moves Me. It’s a romantic comedy, the first of its type in the UK; I’m working with a great cast and crew. The actors blew me away in the audition process; the crew are all skilled and come from different backgrounds in film and theatre.

Dealing with your current project, why did you decide to go independent with it, what challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

The reason why I have gone independent with my project is due to time and flexibility. Obviously I would have loved to have had some extra funding or work in studio environment but the time and the red tape was becoming a major issue to me. Luckily in this digital age I am able to make an indie movie at a certain cost and have a large amount of control. We don’t really have dialogue driven love stories or romantic comedy feature films in the UK, it’s genre I want to challenge and spread open as I feel we have a rich diverse population of people in love for certain reasons for a certain time and place.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a budding independent film maker, what would it be?

Do the work. In this digital age you can get information, make connections, share tools, buy equipment at a certain price to help you become a filmmaker and a better one as time progresses. I am a fan of filmmaking podcasts, they can be listened to at any time or any place. You can be on the train listening to a podcast on cinematography techniques or “How to direct actors”. It’s all out there if you look for it.

What film makers or films inspire you?

Many filmmakers inspire me for different reasons; I love the work of Woody Allen. I would love to make a film like Manhattan; London really deserves a movie like that, Annie Hall is another beautiful movie. Cameron Crowe is an excellent filmmaker as well; Vanilla Sky, Jerry Maguire and We Brought A Zoo speak volumes in terms of love/relationships, tone, cinematography and storytelling. Spike Lee is brilliant, the use of colour and music in Do The Right Thing, the realism of Jungle Fever, the elegance of Mo Better Blues, and the bold brave nature of School Daze blows my mind but it was while watching an indie film called Medicine For Melancholy by Barry Jenkins that got me to think about being a filmmaker. A small crew and a small cast really showed me what creative, talented and hardworking people are capable of doing.

Are the current crop of funding platforms (Kickstart etc) working for independent film, or do you believe there needs to be something specifically geared for it?

I’ve never used Kickstarter or anything like it. I’m doing some research on it and I’m planning to use it in the future.

Independent film is starting to grow quickly across the world, where do you see your place in it in the future? Will you continue to make independent films or do you see it as a springboard making industry sponsored films?

I will always make indie films unless I’m under contract to a studio but my ultimate goal would be to make films with a bigger budget, Father of the Pride, BeatleJuice, Demolition Man etc. I don’t think those type of films can be made on an indie scale budget so I hope to be in Hollywood one day.

Thanks Damien.

 

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