Name: Andrew Parkhill
Film: I’ll Be Here All Night
Please tell us a bit about yourself and your film?
I work as a TV subtitler in Belfast and had written a few short films, sketches and Irish TV episodes, but I’ll Be Here All Night is the first film I’ve directed. I tried to make it easy on myself by having two main characters in a single location, but also got lucky with a cast and crew who kindly helped out as a favour. The story came from being not remotely musical but going to a lot of local gigs, and thinking how that performer-audience relationship could be close, uncomfortable or just downright weird.
Who/what inspired you to embark on a career in Filmmaking?
I was always interested in writing, but struggled to define what makes a “good” short story, novel etc, beyond what interested me. Screenplays seemed to have a clearer set of rules and conventions, so I thought if I could learn to write a good script, using that framework as a kind of crutch to start with, it would help my writing across the board (and I think it did – it certainly trains you to be concise). I joined a Belfast group called Screenwriters Ink, who were also making short films, and ended up producing one as well as writing.
What does being a part of the Bootleg Film Festival, NYC mean to you?
It’s brilliant just to be able to say my film’s playing in New York, but I’m also intrigued by the Bootleg Festival as a movable band of film-makers. This is the first film I’ve sent out widely to festivals, so I feel quite new to the circuit. Also looking forward to feeling like a proper artsy Manhattan bohemian.
All-time top 5 movies (as of this date, we all know it changes daily)?
Midnight Run – a comedy thriller that’s both funny and thrilling, with great characters. It’s got everything.
Peking Opera Blues – actually, this has everything – the above, plus some spectacular martial arts. The film that made me a devotee to the World Cinema video aisle.
The Lives of Others – two hours watching a man’s soul get turned inside out. Just what drama’s meant to do.
Perfect Blue – atmospheric anime that keeps wrong-footing you with fake twists and storytelling games. A great film about film.
The Naked Gun – each time I see it, I come away with a new favourite gag.
Favourite film related website?
www.the-editing-room.com – abridged scripts that have some great story analysis, but are more importantly very, very funny.
What advice would you give to first time filmmakers?
Write a snappy, pared-down script. Then pare it down some more. Know your characters – even if a detail isn’t in the film, have an answer to every question someone asks you about them. Then be tough on them – really put these fictional people you like through the wringer. And learn to produce, even a little bit. Hawking a script around, looking for people to make it, requires a lot of luck, but even if you’re not sure how to go about the practicalities yourself, as soon as you say: “I’m making this film. Do you want to help?” it’s amazing how quickly people will come on board. But you need to set the ball rolling.