I had the pleasure of interviewing writer Neil Fox, director Justin Doherty and executive Producer Kingsley Marshall about their latest feature film “Wilderness” for the world premier at Cinequest Film Festival. It’s one of those films that you’re either all in or you’re all out. And I was all in with this film. I thought it was brilliantly written and played out lovely on screen.
A quick synopsis on the film from Cinequest:
“John who is a touring jazz musician who has never met a woman like Alice. That’s because there aren’t many women like Alice. Their love is urgent and physical and they have made heady declarations of devotion to each other.
Blowing out of the city like a whirlwind in the night, Alice and John flee to the coast. However, over the course of this romantic weekend getaway, they come into contact with strangers and friends and the bubble threatens to burst as they discover the vulnerabilities, flaws and manipulations that were previously masked by the blissful waves of new love.”
How was the opening?
Justine: We have had two nice screenings so far. And we were fully aware that this kind of film could divide the audience. It’s cinema that people don’t always want to watch. But we had good feed back so far.
What moved you to write this kind of film?
Neil: This wasn’t going to be our first feature film. We’ve got other scripts we thought might be the one. Then the situation presented this opportunity to make something in this way on this scale. It was really trying to take something familiar to both of us and put our own stamp on it. We talked a lot in the early days, and I wrote it very quickly; about four months. I kind of set myself a goal of how I wanted to write it. And we did talk about writing something uncompromising; similar to the cinema of John Cassavetes. Something that was confrontational emotionally and didn’t hold back as much as possible. Because I personally hadn’t seen many films in recent years that were difficult and messy and trying to engage. That was always the intention; to show the messiness of love. Because love is messy! And where I had been in my own life, coming out of that, and now being in a good place, that gave me the confidence to go back in and write about it and deal with it.
So did you take from that experience?
Neil: Yes! There are bits of my life and others lives. I asked permission to draw from their experiences to try to make something authentic. Justin and I worked together for 21 years now. So I knew whatever I wrote wouldn’t feel, even though it’s dialog heavy, like it would be a link to a Woody Allen movie. It would feel different. Justin would be able to make it feel cinematic.
Where did you shoot the movie?
Justin: It was all shot in Cornwall England. We shot the film in sequence in 11 days.
Who did the casting? I liked both main actors but LOVED Katharine Davenport!
Neil-Justin: We cast everyone in one day. We kind of targeted couples together who we thought would be good together. We were sure we’d casted an earlier actress in the day then we went to lunch came back and Kate came in and just killed it. And the chemistry that they had together was amazing. Kate just really got this character. Alice is kind of strong-willed and she understood that.
Also, who’s idea was it to have the intro with the Jazz band playing?
Neil-Justin: That was Justin! We really wanted to show the time that they met and that it was a different place (London) and then going on to the country.
This interview was so much fun. Their passion for cinema was infectious. The film was real and the chemistry between Alice and John was all there. And I must say I was not the biggest fan of jazz, but how the music flowed in this film blended so well with the feelings of the characters.
These guys were a pleasure to speak with and I would love to interview them again in the future. Keep your eyes open for these’s film makers.
Me with the filmmakers, (writer Neil fox, director Justin Doherty and executive Producer Kingsley Marshall)