South By Southwest 2019 Interview – IT’S NOT CUSTARD director Kate McCoid

“Teenage Cruelty, Revenge, and a giant wall of Acne! IT’S NOT CUSTARD is the darkly comic story of Louise, a teenager suffering the dual blows of unrelenting acne and bullying. She awakes one morning to find her acne gone, but this magical gift has a bizarre consequence that grants Louise the most delicious of revenges.” Director Kate McCoid on IT’S NOT CUSTARD, a short film screening at SxSW 2019 Film!

Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations on your movie playing here! Are you planning to attend SxSW with your film?

Thank you so much! I am utterly ecstatic to be a part of SxSW with CUSTARD. I will indeed be attending thanks to the British Film Council who have awarded me with a travel grant to aid with the costs of getting across the Atlantic. I will be there for all three of our screenings, come say hello.


How did you first hear about the short films at SxSW and wishing to send your film into the festival/conference?

Years ago when I was at the University of Suffolk and spending my time researching what was available post-uni. I have dreamt of coming to SxSW for many years now, so when I received the acceptance email I was over the moon.

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

I think it’s an amalgamation of a few things. I grew up in a bedroom that had textured walls and I used to run my hands over all the bumps when I was laying in bed. I’m also one of those gross people who take great satisfaction in popping a good spot and the very first flicker of an idea for the film that I had, was of a girl sitting on her bed, staring at a wall of acne. I built the story around that image.


Who are some of your main creative inspirations for this short?

Roald Dahl. Every one of his stories are fairytale-esque with quite harrowing real world consequences. Take the Twits for example; the awful couple in that book end up with their bodies collapsing in on themselves. In his version of Cinderella, the prince decapitates the evil step-sisters. I love how bizarre and awful the consequences are in his stories.


How did you put the short together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use, and any creative challenges in making it?

We shot on an Arri Alexa Plus with T2.3 Kowa Cine Prominars with 25, 32, 40, 50, 75mm lenses. On two of our three shoot days it snowed, that in itself creates logistical challenges, but we were fortunate that the majority of our cast & crew were ten minutes from both locations. One of the main creative challenges we faced was lighting the High School that we shot in. We only had six hours to shoot well over half of our scenes in three different set ups. We just about managed it with I think about ten minutes to spare before the caretaker would have locked us out. I credit this entirely to our amazing crew for putting so much into this little film.


After your short screens here, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?

Before the festival run started for It’s Not Custard, we had a screening in my hometown of Harwich, Essex, where it was shot. At the time it was a Cast & Crew only screening, but as we near the end of our festival run I would love to come back home and present it again to the town in a public screening for anyone and everyone. I would also like to add CUSTARD to the Amazon Prime short film collection.


What would you suggest to theatres or even film festivals as a way to show more short films theatrically or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

I think SxSW have a great platform for shorts. CUSTARD has three screenings during the festival as well as being a part of the opt-in online screener and the Short Film Album provided for select people who cannot attend. I don’t feel that festival shorts should necessarily be made accessible to audiences across the country, otherwise what would be the pull in attending?

In terms of theatres, it’s curious, as that is how it all started right? Small Nickelodeon’s played one after the other in cinemas. Pixar have implemented a great way to get their own shorts seen before features. Perhaps something like that could be adopted across cinemas worldwide?

If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker, or even put together shorts, what would you suggest to get their start?

Everyone starts off making bad films, you have to keep chipping away until you start to make something that reflects what you see in your mind. It takes time, be patient with yourself.

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

Hard question. In recent times, THE PARTY BY ANDREA HARKIN. In past times, GASMAN by Lynne Ramsay.

This is one of the many film titles playing at SxSW 2019. For more information on this and any other title playing in the festival, point your browser to http://www.sxsw.com/film!

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