VIFF 2018 Interview: THE RACER director Alex Harron

“The Racer is about a young women pursuing her dream of becoming a top motorcyclist. despite all the obstacles in her way. Including finances and perception that female racers aren’t as good as their male counter parts.”

Congratulations on your film playing and welcome to VIFF! Is your first time here and are you planning to attend your screenings?

Unfortunately, I’m able to attend but for the best possible reason. We pitched the film to the BBC and were in the middle of shooting to make the Racer a 30 min documentary which will be on BBC Scotland early next year.

So how did you get into this business? Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and what you have worked on in the past.

I started way back in college with interest in film, I wanted to make films like John Carpenter and James Cameron, Alas it wasn’t to be. I made a documentary about amateur boxing. I loved the intimacy and honesty that is in documentaries and I’ve been making them ever since.

How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!

The film went through a lot of stages, Initially, I made contact with Garfield and Jodie. Did two shooting days for a pitch video to get funding. it become clear that more was needing and kept filming. I was fortunate to get funding kept filming for four months. Then had two month post production schedule to get the film in shape. At moment were filming again to make a 30 min version for the BBC, which is exciting. As there is more story to tell.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?

I think what drive me in making a film is to make the best possible film that I can. Often people say to me, ” Can’t to see it when it finished” I often say me too. Working on a film is hard. with documentaries there a constant worry that your not getting enough material. often course you a plan and a story structure but with documentary your never 100% sure you have enough. that’s what makes it exciting and scary at the same time. Ultimately the drive is to make the best possible film and further my career.

What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?

The biggest challenge was getting enough cameras shots of the racing, one race myself and boom operator had to run almost the whole track to get shots, was exhausting but worth. The drone shots on the film were big challenge as I had never has anything like that in a film before, but I was likely enough to have someone  really experienced in that field come on board and get amazing shots. For being close to the people in the film and being a part of the world for a short time is rewarding. I often think when I’m filming how lucky I’m to be there.

I’m about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.

I tend to shot all my films myself, I like to shot fly on wall, I like the intimacy it gives, I try to make my films look cinematic and inmate. the combination of drone shots, go pro on the bike ans inmate moments shot fly on the wall hopefully make you feel close to the subjects and how feels to race.

After the film screens at Vancouver, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?

Next step for the short film version will be more festivals, but the biggest thing is the 30 minute version on the BBC.

We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?

Attitude. I was having a consecration with my son, He likes superheroes and he said that if he could have a superpower it would be super strength. He asked me what mine would be. I told the most important powers, were hard work and hard work. Too many young filmmakers want things handed to them and quit at the first sign of it getting hard.

And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?

I recently say the documentary film Time trial by Finaly Pretsell at the Sheffield Doc Fest. Was an amazing film, I love sports documentaries. It’s what I make myself. This film was incredibly cinematic and had a really effective soundtrack it definitely worth seeing.


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