Interview with Filmmaker Sam South (EAT JEREMY)

EAT JEREMY was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the August 2018 Comedy Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sam South: Comedy has always been my favourite genre to write and this idea has been floating around for quite a while. I’ve made 4 short films so far and am learning something new from every experience. We had the location, the equipment, the friends we could call in for favours ready so just needed to find the time to make it and the perfect actors to cast. I’ve always been drawn to silliness too. The seriousness of a situation met with the silliness of how to go about it. Eat Jeremy was a real opportunity for me to find that balance and I think I found it. I’m so happy with the outcome and what we have and it has inspired me to make a lot more films in this way.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I can’t actually remember writing the initial first draft of the script so probably years. I always think it’s really important to leave time from writing something to return to it much later so you have fresh eyes and can see what would and wouldn’t work. From the time of actually having the final draft of the script and actually filming it, perhaps a couple of months including post production. I realise how rare this is but things just really seemed to come together for this one.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Post-apocalyptic silliness if I can get away with post-apocalyptic being one word… The situation we have is serious but that’s all. The characters carry the rules of the film in how silly they sound and how serious they’re taking the situation. They’re still in this moment before the drama and distress a post apocalypse would bring. Jeremy hasn’t been eaten. In their minds they’re not cannibals yet so can look at things reasonably and speak openly about it. With this the audience can relax and enjoy the post-apocalyptic silliness these characters project without meaning to at all.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Probably my own doubts about the location. I really loved the script and was very proud of it but was too worried about the particulars (traffic noise on the balcony when it’s supposed to be a quarantined London) to get it done sooner so for a couple of years wrote it off as something I couldn’t do successfully. My friend and DoP Adam suggested we go the other way with it and have constantly terrible noises of the apocalypse going on which worked really well and gave a great background noise to the film.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Incredibly humbled and proud. I’ve never had that happen to one of my films before and was really pleased with the audience’s reaction to it. It’s a great idea and I loved watching the video of everyone’s thoughts and comments on it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I wanted to find that perfect in-between moment where it’s still too early into what seems like the start of a post apocalypse to panic, but late enough to consider the possibility of turning into cannibals. The film starts with the first suggestion of cannibalism and how crazy or not so crazy an idea it is. I was really attracted to this moment where it could be spoken about in a seemingly silly manner and I wanted to explore how bizarre I could take it without going over the top and losing the audience drowning in too much silliness.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

This is the hardest question here for sure. I am definitely a repeater of favourite films but I’m going to cheat and say the tv series Band of Brothers. It’s my favourite thing I’ve ever seen on screen and watch it every year. It started so many people’s careers and I’ve been addicted to it as a series since it came out and I saw it in 2001. It’s incredibly well made and was way ahead of its time and I believe was the inspiration behind Saving Private Ryan. Not enough people have seen it and I’d recommend it totally!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway I’d recommend fully as an amazing platform to get any project out there and shown to anyone and everyone. This is the first year I’ve really put some money and effort into submitting my short films and it’s paid off a lot. It’s so easy to use and all the biggest festivals are there as well as the niche film festivals that will cater for so many different styled projects. I’ll be using it for every short film I make from now on.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

There’s a Manchurian band called The Courteeners who did a song called ‘Not Nineteen Forever’ which I became addicted to and listened to on repeat during uni. It was my favourite song and they even played at our final year prom night. Now whenever I hear it it’s a big nostalgic blast back to uni days and is probably the number one song I’d take with me if we were doing desert island discs.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I have about 6 short films I want to make at the moment. Some of them 30 seconds, some of them aren’t even on a finished first draft yet. Anything can happen right now but I want to work hard to make a couple of short films before the year is out and take it from there. I’m still in a writing phase but 2019 we will be filming again. Filming what? No idea yet. But there is a lot more to come.

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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