Interview with UK film director Si Wall-Part One

Si Wall founded Purple Frog Productions, directed the award-winning short Marbella Nights   (2009) and the documentary Nestinari: The Dancers of Fire on Bulgarian ritual fire-dancing. He is currently working on his first feature film Drinking Chocolate about a homeless man who befriends a newly homeless and damaged young girl, as well as Resistance a biopic about Czech Resistance fighter Vera Laska. A film which as a script by American screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy has already won numerous awards. Here the director talks about how he became a filmmaker, his influences, and the challenges and triumphs of filming in Bulgaria with a non-English speaking crew and creating a film from scratch in 24 hours.

What made you decide to be a filmmaker in the first  place as I read that you studied law before that?

Yeah I have done law and I’ve had a business before and everything’s fine. But I just think there just comes a time when it’s just not about making money and it’s just not about fitting into that part of the world .  And there a couple of people that when I was in my family were great storytellers, I think that’s where I really get it from. My godfather as well as being an actor he was also a comedian, so I think I kinda got it from them a little bit, well I hope so.  I don’t think I’m as funny as him but that’s probably where.

Was he quite  a famous comedian then?

No he was a warm-up man for Frankie Howerd and he was his regular warm-up man when Frankie Howerd was just starting to get famous around the late fifties and early sixties. And whenever my mum and dad was working and I was off school I used to go my godfather who helped raise me and he was just really charismatic, old-fashioned comedian. So that’s where I got it from, well I hope so, I’ve got no-one else to blame it on.

Was there any directors or films that you saw that really inspired you?

It changes every time I see a good film and think ‘wow, that’s brilliant.’ At the moment I’ve just been to a thing at the ICA and listened to Suzanne Bier [Director of Things We Lost In The Fire and the original Brothers] talk and I think she’s an absolutely outstanding storyteller. But she’s not up there yet with Ridley Scott and all those but in my opinion she’s equally good and probably, in my opinion, one of the outstanding filmmakers doing it today. And I like that thing that she has-and we’re going to try and do the same with Drinking Chocolate-where you bring an audience into someone-else’s world, and it’s all accurate and it’s real life and I think she does that incredibly well.

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