Open Water is about a world devastated by climate change when a man swims against hope to find life and survive in a perilous world.
The director of Open Water, Samuel Bossman grew up on the Isle of Wight. He studied at Goldsmiths and then got a scholarship to drama school. Since graduating he has worked as an actor on award-winning independent films, and was cast by Yorgos Lanthimos in his Oscar-winning film The Favourite.
He set up Deadman to promote new voices and new work from underrepresented areas. This led to being selected by the BFI as an emerging film-maker and a life-changing roundtable with indie legend Jim Cummings. My first short with Deadman Cliff Edge received funding and is currently on a festival run. We followed this up with our proof of concept pilot Open Water. It is our pleasure to interview Samuel regarding the making of his environmental film project.
How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?
I began making films with Charlie and our friends in high school on the Isle of Wight, usually just pissing about trying to make each other laugh. Including a series of videos called UFO Diaries, where we were trying to find aliens or one of us had an alien inside us etc and I made my acting debut as Mr Scrott, leading to an “operation” where a ferbie came flying out of one us. We also did a Louis Theroux style documentary of our school, which we were able to get away with and I think is actually still quite funny. The most serious thing we tried to do at that point was enter the Minghella Film Festival, named after local hero and Oscar winner Anthony Minghella, and we did a pretty good job but got too drunk and missed the deadline so we did not take it very seriously at all really.
What genre of filmmaking are you working on and why?
I would not say we work in a specific genre, we try and come up with good ideas and films and it might vary according to that. I would hope that whatever film we make has elements of different genres.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker?
Finance probably. Feeling like you are always asking too much of people because there is never enough money to pay people properly which I think is really important. At the end of the day, if you can find a couple of likeminded friends, these days, you can make a high-quality short film. Then the rest is up to you.
How difficult is it to fund indie films?
Incredibly difficult, we have not employed our crowdfunder card yet but feel as though we can only do it once so that might be for the next one! That makes things a bit easier with the different campaigns you can do. As well as in Britain, there are little organisations and trusts that offer a lot of good support and we have been lucky with The Mike Howley Trust who have supported us. It is very difficult to get substantial funding however, which is why often people who are already rich find that first step the easiest to make, just the reality of the industry at this time unfortunately.
Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?
Peter Jackson and Andrew Lesnie for Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Those films are a deep part of me and my generation I think. Ridley Scott for Alien, Gladiator. Classic film directors I like are Fritz Lang and Akira Kurosawa. The cinematography of The Office UK is great too. Lawrence of Arabia. The Apu Trilogy by Sayajit Ray. Edgar Wright. Sorry I know that’s more than three! But the deepest cut is the first.
What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?
I think our next film project will be a comedy but we are currently working on a theatre show about The Freshwater Five on the Isle of Wight. A story of 5 men wrongly imprisoned for smuggling £53 million worth of cocaine. That is fully funded too so we are really excited and grateful for that.
What was the inspiration behind your latest film project?
Climate change. Thinking about what a world would look like where the tipping points have been reached. Where the ice caps have melted. What would that world look like? I thought that probably the horrible thing about our society is that the things that would probably be left would be plastic and all the other horrible manmade things that are symbols of our own downfall. I also wanted to have that Star Wars thing of starting with a humble scavenger character, trying to survive. I wanted the tattoos too at an early stage because I felt that if I was in that situation you would not want to forget who you are, or your memories.
How did you find the cast and the crew of the film?
The crew are all people I have met on my film journey and in my work journey. The musician I met working as a bike courier! So it’s a real DIY film which we are really proud of. The cast is just me so that was easy, although he would say that.
What is the distribution plan of the film and did the film receive any screenings or was it featured in festivals?
The plan is to submit to festivals as an environmental film/pilot and hopefully get some interest in that area. We really want to take the series on and develop it further so, hopefully, we can do that by picking up a few more awards/recognition.
Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?
I make films because they are amazing and also it’s the only thing we can do at this point! Not many people are lucky enough to do this and even though it’s hard the rewards are worth it. If you create a good film then that can impact a lot of people and that is what we all want to do in some way. I know that we will always make films but they may not always make loads of money or a huge budget but because we love doing it and love doing it with other people!