Written by Lewis Coates
Directed by Lewis Coates
Produced by Lewis Coates
We have been dying to share this one for a very long time. Our good friend, collaborator and incredibly talented filmmaker, Lewis Coates, has finally released his eagerly-anticipated short film ‘Re-displacement’ online for the world to see. After a successful festival run, the film was picked up by the sci-fi channel DUST for distribution, and the film has now been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people.
A thought-provoking, high-concept short about memory and trauma, this film boasts stunning visuals, a spell-binding narrative and great performances all around, particularly from its leading man, Nico Mirallegro. We had a quick chat with Lewis about the challenges he faced in bringing this ambitious project to life, and his approach for the future.
I know you worked really hard as writer, producer and director on this project. How did you manage to cover all these bases and overcome the particular challenges that come with this?
It’s definitely hard to multi-task these roles and to do them well, so having a great team to support you that has a similar passion for the project as you is important. Sam Travis, my DOP, and Ana Garcia Rico, my AD and production designer, were both incredible and really helped pull the team together – I learnt a lot from them on-set too.
It’s like having a different hat for each role: first I concentrated on the writing/development and getting that perfect; then I put the directors hat on to think how it was going to look, who the character was and what locations/equipment we might need; then I put the producers hat on and sourced the locations, funding, talent, crew, etc, made the budgets and schedules. Then finally when it came to shooting, I could concentrate on directing, and if I’ve done the other roles well, the script should be tight and the producer’s role should be pretty much complete too. Obviously there’s lots of obstacles during production that the producer needs to navigate and this was the major challenge; balancing directing and producing on-set. I think at the early stage of my career that I was at for this, I felt I needed to do all the extra work because I didn’t have the money to pay anyone else to – not to the same level of commitment anyway. Whereas now I’ve learnt the importance of creating a team at the start of the project, delegating tasks throughout and allowing each role to have space to breathe. The more relaxed and prepared the production is, the more space there is for creativity to blossom. Having said that, I’m very pleased with how ‘Re-displacement’ has come out and knowing the hard work everyone put in has been worth it!
You’ve absolutely smashed the post-production side of things in terms of getting your film out there, festival success and the distribution deal with DUST. When you approach your next project do you think you will change your strategy at all?
Festivals and distribution is a tricky marketplace – there’s no ‘right’ way to go about it. Festival submissions are expensive and people can spend a lot of money getting their film in front of all the big events with no response. You definitely need to work smart, not hard – research similar short films to yours that have had success on the festival circuit and see where they submitted/won awards. It’s better to target four or five smaller festivals that usually screen films like yours, than spending hundreds hitting all the most popular ones. I think the right strategy definitely depends on the genre of film you’re submitting, so I think my strategy would change slightly next time. As our film has a sci-fi edge, I did find that it was a little too niche for most of the big festivals; so although we were lucky to win a couple of awards for Best Director and Best UK Short, I knew online would be where the film found its home. ‘DUST‘ have been great – as well as getting the film in front of hundreds of thousands of people and hearing their feedback, they also offer some great talent development and guidance for upcoming projects, so fingers crossed I’ll be working with them in the future too.