INTERVIEW: Robert Carr | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Working together with highly respected American festival DC Shorts, this year’s Sunderland Shorts is set to be one of the biggest film events that the city has seen. Taking place across four venues, more than 65 unique films are set to be shown at the festival, ensuring that there really will be something to suit everyone’s tastes. Leading up to the four-day festival, which begins on Thursday 2nd July and runs until Sunday 5th July, we’re interviewing some of the film makers screening works at the festival, asking them what made them decide to make short films, what inspires them and about the works themselves. Here, Peter Cumiskey talks to Robert Carr about his life as a director and his short Road.

I read on your website that you graduated from Sunderland Uni… it must be quite exciting to have a film of your shown in the city?

This is the first film I have had that I wanted to put into a film festival and once I heard Sunderland was going to have their very own short film festival it really spurred me on to complete the film.

Having a film festival on my doorstep is great and I cannot wait to sit and watch everyone else’s films that have been selected to be in the festival. Also, being selected is great, as everyone who worked on the film can come along and see their hard work in front of an audience which is why we make films.

What led to you making short films?

I have always like making up and writing stories and I find making short films is the best way I can show people. My undergraduate degree is in Business Computing, but I have a masters in Media Production and graduated over three years ago now and I had not made a film since finishing university. This was due to working on other people’s projects and client work. Last year I started to attend a local writers’ group called Holmeside writers, which is in Holmeside Coffee in Sunderland. Since then, it has really focused me to write more and from the start to make films again.

“Having a film festival on my doorstep is great and I cannot wait to sit and watch everyone else’s films”

Can you tell me about the genesis of Road and what the film is about?

The idea/story for Road started with the main location for the film, which is a mile long road that has not been opened yet. I used to drive past the road about four times a week and I had to use it before the road opened. This is because when you are making short films with little to no budget you have to use as many resources you can get for free. So I worked out what story I could tell using the road and I came up with the idea that we all travel together down the same path, but the journey is always different. So the film follows George, who wakes up in the middle of the road and it’s his journey to see where he ends up.

What audience do you hope for your film to reach? How useful do you see film festivals as being in this regard?

Road is very much a drama and is based on relationships we have with each other, so I think the audience will be able to relate to that aspects of the film. For me personally, this is the first film I have entered into a film festival so it get a wider audience than any of my previous attempts have ever had.

How do you feel Sunderland Shorts will fit into the already-established film festival scene?

Sunderland having its very own film festival is great for the city, as it will introduce a lot of people to short films from all over the world. There are many film festivals all over the world but not a lot in the north of England, with the only major one being Berwick Film Festival, which has been running for 11 years now. With Sunderland having well-established film degrees at the University of Sunderland, I think it will encourage people to make more films.

Sunderland Shorts takes place between Thursday 2nd July and Sunday 5th July at various locations across Sunderland.

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