I SPOKE TO DIRECTOR HOWARD WEBSTER ABOUT HIS RAINDANCE FILM FESTIVAL HIT FILM...

15:04:00

Hey Lovelies, 

A week ago I was asked if I would like to interview the director, Howard Webster, about his new British comedy, ‘Meet Pursuit Delange’ lovelies and I jumped at the chance! 


After such an amazing response at the Raindance Film Festival, the film has been scheduled to have a third screening at the Vue cinema and I spoke to the creators of it to find out what they thought about it all. 

Enjoy…

Tell us about your film, ‘Meet Pursuit Delange’?
Meet Pursuit Delange is an independent British musical comedy written and directed by me (novelist and photographer, Howard Webster).  It is based on my own experiences and a semi-biographical column I used to write of the same name, Meet Pursuit Delange.  The movie was completed in September 2015 and stars Jason Flemyng, Ben Starr and Robert Portal, Peter Bowles, Right Said Fred, Stephanie Leonidas, Colin Salmon and Hannah Waddingham. It features original music by Grammy Award winner, Tim Garland and choreography by Australian choreographer, Jason Gardiner. It is executive produced by Thomas Hedman and was shot predominanly in the picturesque urban village of Kew Gardens. The movie is an official section at the Raindance FIlm Festival, 2015 and, we just heard, Crystal Palace International Film Festival 2015 and is also shortlisted for another festival. The movie was the breakthrough movie of the Raindance Film Festival and a third screening had to be put on because of demand for tickets. With the movie landing at festivals and becoming an audience favourite - the next step is finding the right distributor for the movie.  

What was it about this film that made you want to make it? 
I thought that movies had become very generic and boring.  It was all superheroes and remakes of old TV shows at the multiplexes and I wanted to make a movie I actually might want to see.  I love Withnail and all those classic English comedies - and wanted to make a movie that was unpredictable and could be the kind of movie you would watch over and over again - a movie where the lines become part of pop culture in time. Robert Portal's lines in the movie are already getting some traction from everyone who has seen the movie - I have already people come up to me who have seen the movie and repeating lines back to.  Which shows we must be doing something right. Comedy is the toughest genre to get right - and the one that receives the least critical acclaim.  That's why it has also been great to see it start to land at cool festivals and let audiences decide what they think. For me it is audiences that make stars - not studios.  And judging by the audience reaction at Raindance - I think some stars will be made by this movie.  There are some real discoveries in it - Ben Starr and Robert Portal being high on that list.  And there are some great rediscoveries - British TV comedy legend, Peter Bowles gives an award winning performance in my view.  He will secure a whole new generation of fans through this movie.

There are some amazing actors within ‘Meet Pursuit Delange’, how did you come about casting them?
It was the script that brought them to the project.  Actors, great actors, respond to great material.   And I think they simply loved the characters and wanted to say the lines I'd written for them. Once they'd read the script - I believe they simply wanted to see the movie made.

What should audiences expect from the film? Is there anything you would the, like to try and notice? 
A unique feature of Meet Pursuit Delange is the musical breaks. While the movie isn’t a full musical it uses elements of the genre at key moments to forward and enrich the narrative at specific moments during the film. I wanted these to be bespoke and commissioned grammy award winning jazz legend Tim Garland as music director to deliver the score and original songs. Added into this mix the director I asked iconic British pop stars Right Said Fred to collaborate with Garland. Bringing together two very different musical worlds results resulted in the signature song, ‘Too Old To Cry.’ The song appears in the movie during a pivotal scene shot at the 606 Club in Chelsea featuring vocals performed by Right Said Fred’s Richard Fairbrass with the song written and arranged by Tim Garland. With great music commissions we needed a great choreographer - and the production team reached out Australian choreographer Jason Gardiner. Gardiner is well know to British TV audiences as a judge on Dancing on Ice while movie buffs will know him as the man who taught Pearce, Stamp and Weaving to walk in high heels in Priscilla Queen of the desert. Gardiner read the script and came on board.

How hard was it to produce a comedy? Was it a fun film to make?
When you are working with a limited resources the only way to make a movie as creatively ambitious as Meet Pursuit Delange is to take your time and to come up with original production solutions that put value up on the screen. The movie was shot on an off over an 18 month period during which the footge was edited and tested. The final shot of the movie was filmed on July 30th 2015. Delivering an original swing score combined with bespoke song and dance numbers was a major challenge for the production team working with a limited budget. Fortunately the strength and creativity of the script was key to securing the services of world class talent ranging from top Australian choreographer, Jason Gardiner to Grammy award winning jazz legend, Tim Garland. As the movie was predominately shot in Kew I set out to engage the support of the local community and, very importantly, the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. 
We shot two amazing dance numbers there.

How does it feel to have your film showing at the Raindance Film Festival?
Great.  It is audiences that make stars - not studios. Sitting in multiple screenings at Raindance with people who have paid money to see your movie and seeing and hearing audience reactions was amazing. You wait for that first laugh to come - and the moment it does you know you have them.  Interestingly, different audiences laugh at different things - I wasn't expecting that. Making comedy isn't something you can teach - you either have the skill or you don't.  And making a genre busting movie like Meet Pursuit Delange is even more difficult.  That's why festivals like Raindance are so important.  Elliot and the team championing the movie like this has been phenomenal.

Can you tell us anything about your next project?
My next project involves me getting some sleep.  I have a feeling that once I've had time to digest all that has happened - another comedy is likely to be on the way. Actually I'm writing something at the moment - but can't say anything yet.

And there you have it lovelies! I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next! 

Blog Soon, 
Joey X

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