Interview with film maker, Aaron Dunleavy who is at Up North Film & TV Festival at Square Chapel this Saturday 18th of May talkingabout his documentary Alfie that gained 18 million views. Aaron and Alfie will be in the hot seat ready for questions before showing the documentary at 3pm.Where are you from? How important are your Roots? I grew up in Blackburn and started making films from a young age. After studying film locally at Blackburn College, I went on to pursue my studies at University of the Arts London, but moving away made me realise how strong of a connection I had to my hometown. I discovered how important Blackburn was to me, and how much of a passion I had to tell stories so close to my heart through film.What is your background? Where did you study? Did you create a lot in your degree?I made two films at university, both of which were set in my hometown and cast locally. My time studying gave me the facilities and support needed to help find my style as a filmmaker; using non-professional actors, street casting and working with improvisation.What was the first film you made and how do you come up with the ideas?My first student short, Throw Me to the Dogs, won 10 awards on the festival circuit, with praise from Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle. Screening at some of the most prestigious BAFTA and Oscar® qualifying festivals around the world, the film went on to achieve worldwide distribution via MUBI, streaming in over 240 countries, as well as being awarded a ‘Best of the Month’ Staff Pick on Vimeo.
When writing, I’ll try to incorporate the cast very early on and bring them into the development as much as possible. I always find writing with people is a much more rewarding experience than being alone with a pen and paper.You recently created a documentary called Alfie, about an odd job lad from Blackburn. Where did you first come up with the idea? How did it differ to working on a documentary to working in a Film? For me as a filmmaker, having previously only really been experienced in narrative fiction, working with Alfie on the documentary and bringing his story and character to life was an incredibly rewarding experience.
I have a passion for putting real people on screen throughout all of my work, and Alfie stands for everything I want to represent with his working-class attitude and vibrant personality.
I’m always looking out for characters to put in my films wherever I go, and Alfie stood out instantly after randomly bumping into him at a music festival.
What are you looking forward to the most at coming over for the Up North Film and Television Festival on May 18th at 3pm?
Even though the film received over 18 million views online, there’s no better feeling than being able to screen the film to an audience – especially locally! For that reason I can’t wait to get involved and meet everyone at the festival.