Glasgow Film Festival - Q&A with Director Douglas King
To celebrate Glasgow Film Festival this week we got chatting to Director Douglas King whose film Super November is to make its debut at the festival at GFT this weekend. Following on from two captivating film shorts Douglas made with comedian and actress Josie Long, this romantic comedy/Orwellian dystopia has set high expectations.
Douglas tells us a little more about his background and the making of Super November.
Hi Douglas, thanks for chatting to us today, congratulations of your film Super November showing at Glasgow Film Festival! Can we start with how you got into Directing -
I’ve been obsessed with cinema since I was a kid, even just ‘going to the pictures’ has always been a very special thing for me. For my 9th birthday I got Robert Rodriguez’s book “Rebel Without a Crew” and just consumed it. I still have it on my bookshelf. It was electric reading that book. On the first page he says ‘make a business card’ - now you’re a filmmaker. So I stole my Grandpa’s video camera and started making films with Lego. Then I roped in my cousins and friends as actors and started editing using a VCR. It was a great education.
Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking was not just a hobby, but that it would be your life and your living?
I was living in a high rise flat in Clydebank and made a film which was set in there for 56p and it got nominated for a BAFTA in Scotland New Talent Award. That was a real buzz, I felt vindicated and it was a great thing to keep friends and family on side. It can be very difficult for your friends and family to see you struggling and wondering why you aren’t making any money! So it was really encouraging.
What makes a film great for you?
I’m way too generous when rating films on IMDB or Letterboxd - I know how hard it is to make a film be coherent, never mind good.
A great film needs to have a lot of verve and conviction. You can always tell when you’ve seen a great film when you step out the cinema and the world feels different.
Can you tell us a bit about Super November?
Super November was born from spending two years chasing funding. We decided to go back to our DIY roots and push on. Before even thinking of a story I was trying to think of the advantages of working on a no budget production. One of them, I thought, was being able to shoot in two parts. So we shot in May and November, rolling the dice on whether we could get our cast back. It also meant I could sleep at night by not asking people to volunteer for more than a week at a time.
What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?
When I first started out I completely underestimated the importance of film festivals. Industry people do come along and see your work. To get the most out of them you need to make sure you’ve picked the right festival to launch your film. I’m delighted we got into Glasgow Film Festival. They’ve treated us brilliantly and offered a platform we wouldn’t have got elsewhere.
Do you believe filmmakers have any responsibility to culture? Do you feel that being a creative person requires that you give back or tell a particular story or not do something else?
I wanted Super November to reflect on where we are now - it’s crazy how it seemed so far fetched when we were writing it. After our first section of filming Brexit happened. After the second, Trump elected. Travel bans became real in the states, something that happens in our film, which at the time felt like science fiction.
Super November is showing at the GFT on 3rd and 4th November, find out more or buy tickets here.