“Toxic masculinity and white privilege seep to the fore as the best man must attempt to recover following an unwanted encounter in the bathroom with the Father of the Bride, just in time to deliver his speech at his brother’s wedding.” Director Rhys Marc Jones on FATHER OF THE BRIDE which screens in the Narrative Shorts Competition of SxSW 2020.
Editor’s Note: While SxSW was officially cancelled on March 6th, 2020, the below interview was one of many that already took place prior to the festival. To respect the creators, all already performed interviews are presented in their unedited entirety below. All of the below works WILL make their way out into the world in one way or another, and we will update this article with updated information when we have it. — JW
Welcome to the amazing SxSW and congratulations! Are you planning to attend SxSW?
Many thanks to the programmers! And yes, I wouldn’t miss it.
How did you first hear about the SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?
I used to drum growing up in bands and I remember reading about SxSW in NME magazine and aspiring to play the music festival side of it one day.
Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!
The project was inspired by an award show in LA I attended through a scholarship scheme I received whilst I was at film school. During the ceremony, Kevin Spacey introduced Dick Van Dyke with a lifetime achievement award and his charming, witty speech was met with a standing ovation. Days later I awoke to the news of allegations made against him and I became interested in this idea of the public and private personas. I’d just been the best man for my own brother’s wedding a few months earlier, so as I often end up doing when writing, I mined as much from that as I could. We pitched the idea to BBC Wales and the BFI Film Wales and they were really supportive.
Who are some of your main creative inspirations?
I looked at films based around family ceremonies, films like FESTEN, MELANCHOLIA, the wedding episode of SUCCESSION, interestingly all shot handheld and verite so I wanted to do the opposite. We opted for a more polished, formal aesthetic to mirror or eponymous character. Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll , the DP, Paix Robinson, the Production/Costume Designer, and I rewatched Andrey Zvyagintsev films, Paul Thomas Anderson films PHANTOM THREAD and THE MASTER before the shoot, more for inspiration as opposed to attempting to emulate.
How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?
We shot two cameras for most of the film because we had to shoot six to seven pages a day, over three days. As we were already going to have the baby legs, lenses etc. with the first camera we only needed an extra body and by shooting over the weekend it was only a one-day rental, a far cheaper way of shooting the film than extending production for another day or two. We shot the film with Alexa SXT and super speed lenses and I edited it at my kitchen table on Avid. It was a huge challenge to pull off a wedding convincingly for three-days when the combined location, production design, and costume design budget lines came to less than $500.
After SxSW, where is it going next? Anywhere you would love to show it?
We haven’t lined up any more festivals yet but the film will eventually screen on a new talent slot on BBC later in the year.
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?
Perhaps compiling best of fest screenings after the festival to play at indie theatres, I’m sure there would be an audience for it!
If you know of anyone around you wanting to become a filmmaker/creator, what would you suggest to get their start?
Write, shoot and edit small simple two to four minute films with whatever you can get your hands on, focusing only on your visual voice. Keep doing this until you figure out what comes naturally to you then find like minded people to collaborate with. These films don’t need to be good, they just need to exist. There is a whole film school available on YouTube if you look; screenplays compared with finished films, video essays, Q and As, interviews, documentaries, StudioBinder and so forth in a way there wasn’t when I was getting started. Read. Watch films. Live a life you can draw from. Most importantly, follow your fascination.
And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?
It would be a Wallace and Gromit film so I’ll go for THE WRONG TROUSERS.
For more information on this film and to follow its progress into the festival world, point your browser to www.sxsw.com/film!