NBFF 2014: COUNTRYPHILE

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countryphile

No, this film is not a Western. The poster is the album art for a band that the gynecologist is in. The patient? Well, let’s just say she’s very happy to meet him.

Film festivals are known for exploring raw human emotion. Audiences would come away deeply disturbed or profound, or just confused. It can become an overall experience. Comedy is not often featured in film festivals and it should. Oh it so should. Please break up the monotony of bleak landscapes. Laughter is an emotion too after all.

How relieved I was to witness “Countryfile,” a short film hailing from the UK. The short was a mixture of awkward, sweet, and funny. Definitely a certain dead pan English humor was detected.

Ruth Sewell is the writer and director of this film.As of now, the movie can only be seen in film festivals. There is more content from this creator from her website. Her works range from comedy web series to very dark music videos.

Sewell was kind enough to answer some questions for Fangirl Nation:

Q: Simple predictable question: what was the inspiration behind Countryphile?
Sewell: I have a real love of strange two-handers. One of my favorite scenes in a film, maybe ever, is Bill Murray’s cameo in Little Shop of Horrors, where he plays a masochistic patient at the dentist. It’s such a funny scene, and feels very much like a short within the film. So I always thought the surgery would be a great place to set a short.
Q: Is there a Countryphile album? (I really want there to be one)
There is! It doesn’t actually have any songs on it, but I did make one as a prop for the shoot. I still treasure it. Maybe one day I will get Toby Williams to record an album, just for my own amusement.
Q: What has been the biggest influence on your style?
There are so many things. I’ve worked in comedy for 8 years – starting at Big Talk Productions, where I worked in script development for half a decade. I went to literally hundreds of stand up shows over the years, in London and at the Edinburgh Fringe. And I guess I looked at the short film landscape and thought – where are all the comedies? I would go to short film billings at festivals and invariably emerge into the summer sunshine feeling like slitting my wrists. So I guess it was partly a response to that.
Q: You have an impressive list of work under your belt. Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for aspiring filmmakers?
Put your fears aside and just make something. The script isn’t perfect? It’s never going to be. Work as hard as you can at it, then set a date and shoot it. You don’t have the budget to make a film? Beg, borrow and steal to make it happen. We’re at a point where you can make a film for nothing for the first time in history so make as many as you can because that’s the best way to learn your craft and develop your style. If you don’t think your work could be better, you might as well give up because you’ll never have the self-critical impulse that helps you to improve, but don’t let self-doubt stop you from actually making things.
Q: What are your future projects that people can look forward to?
I am working with a writer called Lydia Rynne on a hilarious project called THE INTERVIEW, which was selected for a Creative England iShorts development workshop. We went down to Brighton last week to work on the script which was a great experience. It is a comedy short about the job interview from hell, and there is a dark twist at the end. I can’t wait to get started on it.

CONGRATULATIONS TO COUNTRYPHILE FOR RECEIVING THE SPECIAL JURY PRIZE FOR WRITING!

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