Following our Best Thriller Award for Eigengrau at the FLorence FIlm Awards, Chris was asked to take part in an interview at the awards ceremony. Here's the full interview!
Chris began his career in theatre at the age of 12, and after several years in the industry, began to transition towards film-making after finding a passion for creative visual storytelling. He founded Out of the Ark Productions with the vision of enabling businesses and clients to share that passion, and bring an exciting, high class look to their digital media content, and use cinematic creativity to make the everyday world a more interesting, vibrant and engaging place. In 2022, Chris decided to use his years of experience in the industry and follow his passion of Film Making. His first film, “Eigengrau” gained national and international acclaim, winning awards in the London International Film Festival, Florence Film Awards, AIMM, Canadian Cinematography Awards, London Movie Awards, and more.
When did you decide you wanted to be a Director? I think I always knew it’s something I wanted to do. Back in my teens and my early theatre days when I was performing, I always had a desire to work behind the scenes, crafting the story and putting everything together and looking at the bigger picture. As I moved into the wold of film, that naturally progressed into taking on that director role and really being imaginative with regards to the plot, how we convey that on camera, and really having that attention to detail. How did your family react? They’ve know I’ve been wanting to make this leap for years now, so the support I had was amazing! I think they were proud to see me finally believing in myself enough to take the plunge and follow my dreams, and I really couldn’t be more grateful for all the support and love they’ve shown. Do you have a Muse or a Role Model? I try to take inspiration from as many creative people as I can, and there are so many people in this industry that I look up to for varying reasons. Danny Boyle has always been a forerunner in my mind, and I just love the work he does, the emotions his work conveys and the power behind his storytelling.
Who's your biggest fan?
I think my four year old son would take that one! He absolutely loves getting involved with all the camera equipment and taking photos, and he’s always there to keep me motivated behind the scenes
What brings you inspiration the most?
Having an amazing team of people to work with. I was so lucky with Eigengrau to have a brilliant cast and crew who were all so enthusiastic about the film and the character development, and they all had fantastic ideas to bring to the table. Having a team like that is a really, really important asset and it’s a big part of what I look for when recruiting for projects.
Which actor or director would you like to work with?
I would have loved to have had the opportunity to work alongside Stanley Kubrick, and just get a glimpse of what went on in his mind, and how he translated that to screen. As far as actors go, ever since Toby Maguire’s performance in ‘Brothers’, I’d love to get a chance to work on a project with him that can tap back into that incredible raw emotion.
Have you ever seen a film that was better than the book?
American Pshyco always stands out to me as an example of the film adaptation just nailing it perfectly. The whole tone and atmosphere of the film is just a perfect representation, and I think the performances from the cast really take it to a new level.
What's the movie that taught you the most?
One that always has a place in my heart is 2013’s ‘Oblivion’ with Tom Cruise. The way it conveyed such a powerful story with such a small core cast for the most part was incredibly clever, and the whole structure of the film from its pacing to its stellar soundtrack really resonated with me, and does to this day. It teaches you the importance of not needing to rely on excessive dialogue or huge elaborate set pieces, but that you can tell some really powerful stories through really minute and carefully considered details.
About your artistic career, have you ever had the desire to quit everything?
There have been moments where I’ve wondered if it’s all worth it, and to be fair I still have those moments! It’s quite easy to fall into a creative rut and just loose that vision for a bit, and it can be quite hard to get back into the mindset for it when life in general gets you down. For me, being around other creative people and bouncing ideas off each other really helps to get past those roadblocks, and seeing each other succeed in your own areas is a really big motivator when you’re struggling.
On set what excites you the most?
I love seeing a scene that I’ve planned and imagined in my head come to life, and seeing how it looks compared to my original vision. Seeing the casts interpretation of the script and how they deliver it really fascinates me.
And what scares you the most?
Whenever I’m shooting on set I get incredibly anxious about accidentally loosing all the days footage! I’ll end up with about four backups of everything and I’ll still have moments of panic thinking it’s all about to go missing.
What's your next project?
Now wouldn’t that be telling! Aside from the day to day Videography work I’m doing with clients, I’ve got some really interesting stories in the pipeline, and I’ve recently just completed the script for the Eigengrau Sequel, so I’m really excited to get back on set with the cast and crew again and delve deeper into that story. There’s some really interesting, quite dark stuff going on which I think the audience is going to love.
You can steal the career of an artist you really admire, who do you choose?
For me, this career is about bringing a legacy, with memorable stories and characters that will last through generations. I can’t think of a better example than John Lasseter, who has crafted some of the most iconic characters in movie history, right from the very beginning with Buzz and Woody! So to have that kind of impact on the cinematic world would be an honour, and at that point, I would know for certain I’d made my mark.
A Director is made of….
Patience. Lots of patience! It can be quite tasting when you spend weeks planning out a certain shot and think you’ve perfectly imagined how it’ll look, but then when you come to the day of the shoot, you realise there’s no way you’re actually going to achieve that, so you have to come up with something entirely new on the spot. Eigengrau really taught me a lot when it comes to having to adapt a shoot to the environment and other constraints you come up against making a film, so I think it’s so important for a director to have that ability to take a step back with an analytical eye and not just throw in the towel when it all goes wrong, because let’s be honest, that happens more often that you expect!
For you Cinema is….
A way to share stories and emotions through creativity, in a way that people can connect with, resonate with, and let their imaginations run wild with their own interpretations and imaginations. It’s the one place where there really are no limits to what you can do or where you can let your mind take you.
Do you think Black and white movies have a powerful impact?
Absolutely! I think there’s very much a time and a place for it, and you have to have a good reason to shoot in that way, but if the story and production benefit from that kind of style, I think it can really make a huge impact. It’s certainly something I’d love to try out sometime and experiment with.
Have you ever dreamed of winning an Oscar?
Who hasn’t? Of course, a future win on that scale would be such an honour and it’s certainly on my bucket list, but for me, making films isn’t about the awards you win at the end of it, but it’s about being able to share my ideas and creativity with like minded people, and have fun doing it! For me, this is my passion and if I can make a successful career out of it, then I see that as a massive bonus.
Do you think you're gonna win it?
When I first released Eigengrau, I didn’t expect a single award or nomination. Don’t get me wrong, I was incredibly proud of what we’d produced and the first few people I screened it to were amazed by what we’d made on such a shoestring budget, but I never imagined the response would be as incredible as it has been. Up to now we’ve won awards in five different countries and had nominations in even more, which is far beyond my wildest dreams when we first started shooting. So, who knows, anything is possible!