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Roar! Film interviews Echo Restless director Francis Newall

By Katie Sinclair

King’s graduates Elliot Chidwick and Harry Harris were drinking in a pub when it happened. Friend and filmmaker Francis Newall was inspired to make a film about their relationship. When Newall first showed the treatment to his friends, Elliot did not react well. ‘He asked me’, Newall laughs, ‘Do you think I’m a dickhead?’

Newall has transformed the relationship between his two mates into upcoming indie feature, Echo Restless. ‘It’s about two characters who at the start of the film decide to travel together in an old beaten-up van. Elliot is the edgy and damaged character and Harry is the counterpoint.’ Having wanted to do a ‘road film’ for a while, Newall used his friends as a basis, embellishing Elliot’s character for dramatic effect. The characters are on a journey but, Newall stresses, ‘the point of the film isn’t where they are going to end up.’

The film’s tone is bleak, without a fairytale Hollywood ending. ‘I hope people enjoy the film but they take something from it’, he says. Influenced by filmmakers such as Michael Haneke, Newall says his film, with its long takes, may perturb audiences.

Newall and his producer Matt Diegan run Moral Hangover, a company that works with bands and live gig footage that is producing Echo Restless. The pair, alongside sound designer Freddie Slaughter and star Elliot, won the King’s 48 hour film competition last year with Wide Eyes, and hope for similar success with this film. In the future, Newall hopes to make more low-budget films. ‘Time isn’t really costing us money at the moment’, Newall explains. ‘We don’t believe you need a massive budget to make a beautiful film.’

Newall hopes to create a community around the film, collaborating with musicians such as the lead singer of Johnny Foreigner. The filmmakers welcome donations, too. Their Indiegogo page offers promises, from handwritten notes to nights out with the cast and crew, in exchange for funding. Best of all, for £200, the team will even help you make a film. For aspiring filmmakers, Newall offers frank advice. ‘A lot of directors I respect say the same thing : get a camera and start shooting films.’



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