Earlier this month, Jamie Patterson’s latest film Justine, which he directed, was released digitally on Curzon Home Cinema, with the film being written by Jeff Murphy and starring Tallulah Haddon. Justine, which is a love story set in Brighton, was nominated at this year’s BIFA Raindance Discovery Awards. Amongst Jamie’s other work, he has written and directed Tucked, which starred Derren Nesbitt and Jordan Stephens and he is also co-founder of Jump Start Productions alongside Nathalie Grace, and currently has three projects in development for future release. Speaking to Jamie, he talks about releasing his latest film Justine, writing and directing Tucked and being co-founder of Jump Start Productions.
Your new feature film Justine, which you directed, was released 5th March in the UK, can you tell us about it?
It’s a heartbreaking love story set in my hometown of Brighton. It tells the story of Justine and her descent into self-destruction. She meets Rachel and love takes over. It’s a realistic portrayal of young love and addiction.
The film is written by BAFTA Cymru-winning writer Jeff Murphy, how was it working together on this project and what was it like reading the script for the first time?
The script came to me via producer Sara Drew. I had just done Tucked and was looking for my next project. I immediately connected with the script, especially the character of Justine. I hadn’t really seen a character like that before, I was fascinated by her background and the fact that she didn’t come from a broken home, which is what we’ve all seen a bunch of times in films. At the core of the script was a story about friendship, love and addiction, all of which interested me.
What was the film like to direct and how was it seeing it come together?
It was a joy to direct. Being on set is my favourite thing, however it’s always over so quickly. We shot the film in ten days so it was very full on. I have an incredible team though and it actually went pretty smoothly. Our actors were amazing! I never like to do more than three takes if I can help it, I think the more takes you do, the less real it feels. I’m basically the complete opposite of David Fincher 😉.
Do you have any favourite memories from your time working on this film?
The beach sequence is one of my favourite sequences ever. It was crazy but in the most wonderful way! It was also our last day. When we wrapped, we all sat round the fire and had a takeaway. It was just one of those moments I’ll never forget.
How was it having Justine released during the pandemic?
It’s been tough. We always knew festivals were going to be important for a film like this and then they all got cancelled. We got put into lockdown the week we were supposed to premiere to 750 people at BFI Flare. That was tough, but at the end of the day it’s just a film. It’s been such a hard year for everyone and I consider myself very lucky to be able to put the film out in any way. Curzon are great, I love working with them! They did a wonderful job on Tucked and I would definitely work with them again.
How did it feel hearing Justine has been nominated for an award at this year’s BIFA Raindance Discovery Awards?
It was amazing. I remember the moment so clearly. Me and my wife, who is also a producer on the film, were volunteering at Brighton and Hove Food Partnership. We start each day with a check in, this just so happened to be the same time the shortlist was being announced. I had it on my phone and when they said Justine we all screamed! It was such a great moment! Obviously we couldn’t hug, but you could feel the joy in the room. It was such a special moment and one I’ll never forget. Tucked was also nominated for a BIFA, maybe we’ll win next time 😉.
Why would you recommend watching the film?
The performances are amazing. It’s a hard watch but it’s honest, which I think is rare in a lot of movies. It doesn’t try and portray the world or people as something they’re not. At the root of it is a heartbreaking love story. I actually think the film is hopeful though, it’s sad but in order to feel happy we need to know what it’s like to feel sad.
Among your previous films, you wrote and directed the award-winning film Tucked, what was this like to work on?
I mean, I love that film with my whole heart. It was a real passion project for me, my baby if you like. It was such a fun shoot and seeing Derren Nesbitt do his thing was incredible. It’s been such an amazing journey with that film, a journey which I don’t think is over yet…
Where does your love of writing and directing come from and how did you start?
I spent my childhood watching movies on repeat. Some of my fondest memories growing up and watching films with my folks. I remember watching Point Break with my dad (I may have been fourteen) and before it started, he said, “you’re gonna want to record this,” this was the days of VHS and I couldn’t be arsed to get up so I didn’t. When it finished I cried because I hadn’t recorded it. I also remember going to see The Mummy with my folks at the cinema, my dad complained the whole time because it was so loud! I used to lean forward in my seat the whole time, I guess I wanted to be closer to the screen. Seeing Titanic (my favourite film of all time) on the big screen was truly magical. I went to film school when I was nineteen and shot my first feature film shortly after. It’s all I’ve ever known.
You are co-founder of Jump Start Productions, can you say more about this?
Jump Start Productions is co-owned by myself and Nathalie Grace. We set the company up to make interesting, character-driven films and to help launch careers for writers, directors, producers etc, hence Jump Start. We currently have three projects in development and are hoping to go into production in September.
What do you enjoy doing away from your career?
I mean, I still love watching movies! I also love tennis, football, eating, drinking and Boggle!
What advice would you give someone wanting a career in filmmaking?
I think the first piece of advice would be a word, ‘compromise’, I’m an indie filmmaker so that’s kind of all I know, I’ve never had huge budgets so have always had to think outside of the box. If you want to make indie films, it’s crucial to know the importance of that word. For me, there’s no such thing as perfection, all we can ever do is our best. You will make mistakes, we all do, you can’t learn unless you make mistakes! The important thing is not to make the same mistake twice. Also, manners. It sounds so simple but have respect for people, this goes for life in general! There are so many arseholes out there, especially in this industry. Be kind. Say please and thank you. That will make you stand out! I know it sounds silly, but trust me!
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