Wednesday, 15 September 2010
Exclusive Interview with David Whitney, director of Kandahar Break
David Whitney is a man from Bolton now making it big time with the release of his first feature film Kandahar Break on DVD in shops including HMV and Tesco. Obviously busy with the amount of attention he is receiving from this critically claimed film, he took some time at of his day to speak to us.
David has worked on short films and TV dramas, so taking the step to filming a feature was a massive leap, but as he states it was very enjoyable. "Moving from 3 to 4 day shoots to 13 hour, 28 day shoots can be tiring" but he kept his energy levels up. And needed to as he was in a bit of trouble whilst shooting. The film is based on a mine engineer in Afghanistan, but whilst shooting a scene on the boarder of this country, some of the crew members were shot at. Nobody was injured, and I asked whether he wanted to stop filming. "I never wanted to stop, but I thought it would collapse immediately. That was the assumption." But after going back to the investor and showing them the beautiful shots he had made, they agreed to continue filming. He was on the Afghanistan boarder for 5 weeks, and then spent a week in Tunisia which apparently was a brilliant experience as he worked with a very professional crew.
The film has a real passionate tone to it, and delves into the relationships and action of someone spending time in this place we so often hear dangerous things about. After asking what was his inspiration for shooting such a subject close to people's hearts, particularly now, he said "I've always been fascinated by Afghanistan, even as a kid before the war that is happening now. I remember watching news on the soviet war." In 2002, working for a TV programme, he was able to travel there to film, and gained a real sense of adventure which never left his heart since.
The film has been shown numerous times at various film festivals. The one David is most proud of is the Philadelphia Film Festival in which the film won Best Film. I asked whether the attention was overwhelming and he said it was a great reception. Being released in the UK, America, Australia and New Zealand shows just how highly regarded this film is. He told me on Saturday 18th September he's doing signings for the film in the Bolton Tesco and stated walking into your local and finding the film there is exciting, after having shopped there all your life. He also had a screening of the film at his local Cineworld. I said "That must be great seeing a film at the cinema you used to go to" and he said "I still go there now!" He's come from being a free-lance runner to a full blown director in a short number of years. I asked whether he had any advice for runners now and he said "Keep at it, be enthusiastic and keep on time. It's unpleasant but also a lot of fun."
Telling me he is in the process of writing a new piece, and in pre-production on a period drama he likes to try new things and keep his work varied. A man that's passionate about his filming and works so hard to get it perfect, I think we'll be seeing a lot more from David Whitney very soon. Kandahar Break directed by David Whitney starring Shaun Dooley is out in shops and online to buy now.
Read my review of Kandahar Break here: http://the-film-obsession.blogspot.com/2010/08/kandahar-break.html