I like to think that I’ve put in a fair amount of miles when it comes to time spent watching short films and generally submerging myself in the filmmaking world, be that as it may, my time with shorts looks like a trip to corner shop when laid against the curatorial career of Joe Bateman. If that name seems familiar to you, it may be because he was Festival Director for the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival from 2007 until its much lamented demise last year. There are very few people who are as intimate with the short film form as he is, which is why I was pleased to hear that Joe’s gathered a talented team and is poised to switch from the comfort of the curator’s chair to the director’s hot seat for his debut short Rudie Can’t Fail. I asked Joe what prompted him to make the jump?
“I’ve always thought that I’d have a go at making films. I trained as an actor and loved making short films but theatre was my thing. Then one evening on stage we had a particularly receptive and alert audience, the evening had been brilliant and I somehow knew I’d never get the feeling of that again. During those times when I wasn’t ‘acting’ I worked in a cinema to pay the rent, I still performed in occasional theatre productions but I became more interested in film, not being ‘in’ film but rather exhibition. Through that I found myself creating events, curating festivals and writing business plans for projects with a focus on filmmakers and the creative industries. There was no time to spend rehearsing and performing plays but I started working with writers and directors on script development, very occasionally directing when there was time.
At the end of the Rushes Soho Shorts Festival last year I was given the opportunity to direct a number of short plays and one of those was Rudie Can’t Fail. Having watched, shortlisted and judged literally 1000’s of short films, having developed scripts of many shorts and plays, I found myself reading Rudie Cant Fail but seeing the film in my head at the same time. Anna Jefferson, the writer, had created an amazing, simple story without over embellishing her characters which let you create their world around them. I hadn’t been looking for my short film script but it was suddenly there. I talked at length with Anna as I had an idea I wanted to use for a short film version of her script. Thankfully she was completely happy with that idea and suddenly I found myself making my first short.
I pitched the idea to a production company that a friend had mentioned might be interested. They were completing their third short and looking for their next project. They also loved the script and could see the potential in the ideas surrounding the production. We’re a team consisting of a writer, director and two producers, each of us bringing in contacts and as we’re all of a certain age, it means we have quite a few people we can seek out for information!”
Joe and the Rudie Can’t Fail team are heading into the final leg of their Indiegogo campaign and are just 40% shy of their funding goal. Take a look at this pitch video to meet the rest of the team, find out more about the film and how supporting the campaign will help make the film a reality:
So that’s how the team will move into production with your help, but what plans do they have for the film once it’s finished?
“Once completed this is a film very much designed for the festival circuit. The film script repeats twice, you hear the same words and see the same shots twice. It’s a two hander and in the second half of the film one of those characters changes sex, from a daughter to a son. What an audience will make of that will be very interesting and I imagine very changeable. I’d hope that would make for good discussion; something that perhaps wouldn’t happen so easily if we released it online immediately. We’ll target a range of established short film festivals alongside the feature film festivals. The film will also be eligible for LGBT festivals as the second half of the film will raise issues within that community.
I’ve always been an advocate that one day short films will make money. I think digital software and online platforms alongside mobile devices will be the making of the Short Film Industry. But I think we’ll only start to really see that once filmmakers embrace the potential of social media, marketing and PR. You won’t make much money if you are only selling your film to you friends and family.”
As you’d expect, the campaign is offering a stack of rewards to backers including cases of beer and my personal favourite, ‘The Golden Hot Pants Perk’, surely that’s more than enough to tempt you over to the Rudie Can’t Fail Indiegogo page to pledge your support!