Danny Payne left a war behind, but the war wasn't ready to let him go.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Mark Hampton
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you! It was a huge moment when I found out Town vs Gown had been selected for Rhode Island!
Firstly the Town vs Gown boxing match is a real thing - I went in 2014 and was immediately struck by the literal, visceral clash of cultures. Straight away I saw it as a great centrepiece for a movie. Also I live in Cambridge, and have wanted to do something about the divide between the famous University and the town, which is not only very real, but in recent years has felt increasingly like a microcosm of British society, where the gap between the haves and have-nots is getting wider all the time. The lead character, Danny, is not only taking on an opponent, but also the establishment.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
I want audiences to leave the cinema with a sense of optimism that you should take on any challenge no matter how difficult and no matter what your personal situation is. As well as a satisfying narrative, the film is about hope.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The central struggle that Danny, the lead character faces is defining his identity and I think that is a challenge that faces everyone in modern society. What does it mean to be a man in a changing world? Danny is a man who has always identified himself as a fighter; rightly or wrongly he expresses himself through violence, but suffering from post-traumatic stress has taken that away. In the film we see him take the opportunity to prove his fighting spirit in the boxing ring.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
This short was made as a proof-of-concept for a feature film, so is a cutdown of a much bigger story. That forced me to make a lot of decisions about which aspects of the story to tell and how to do so in a short timeframe. Cutting up the narrative so that the boxing match is interspersed between the therapy scenes came as a direct result of that, and worked really well, so has made me questions whether I should adopt that structure in the feature! I also had to take some narrative short-cuts, so there are a number of ideas which are only touched on in the short.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Really positive, but also constructive. As I wrote and directed the film, it can be hard for viewers to feed back on all the different aspects such as structure, dialogue and performance so I really appreciate comments that make me think about how I can improve the story. Some of the narrative shortcuts I mentioned earlier have been called out and that's totally fair.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Like I said there has been a lot of positive feedback, including an acting award earlier this year - that was a lovely surprise and really encouraging. I spent a lot of time speaking to soldiers and former soldiers to make sure that Danny's experience of the battlefield is a realistic portrayal, and so far the feedback has been really positive.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Anything that helps to raise the profile of the film is enormously helpful, so being featured on your site is a big plus. I'm at the stage now of trying to get the feature of Town vs Gown off the ground and obviously funding is the biggest hurdle. Every opportunity to make people aware of the story increases our chances of success.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
All of the above! The short is just the beginning of the journey - there's a long road ahead and we need collaborators of all types!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
If it can raise awareness of post-traumatic stress then that would be a fantastic outcome. There has been so much conflict in recent years and in the UK it increasingly falls to charities like Help for Heroes to provide support when soldiers return with physical and psychological injuries. People need to ask what their Government's are doing to support those who have fought for their country.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Why do you fight?
Would you like to add anything else?
I hope everyone gets a chance to see the film!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
My cast and crew all have their own projects that they are progressing. My focus is on the feature film of Town vs Gown.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
Town vs Gown
Logline: Danny Payne left a war behind, but the war wasn't ready to let him go.
Length: 20 minutes
Director: Mark Hampton
Producer: Mark Hampton
Writer: Mark Hampton
About the writer, director and producer:
Mark Hampton is an award-winning actor, writer and director based in the UK.
Gary Davidson Jnr
Christopher RJ Parker
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
Made in association with:
Where can I watch it in the next month?
The British Urban Film Festival in September