How to Produce an Award-Winning Independent Film: Bart Ruspoli and “Boiling Point”

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With huge success at the British Independent Film Awards and lead actor Stephen Graham approaching levels of ubiquity to rival Olivia Coleman, the critically acclaimed film “Boiling Point” has moviegoers waiting for its release.

Triumphs in the categories of Best Cinematography (Matthew Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Vinette Robinson), Best Cast (Carolyn McLeod) and Best Sound (James Drake, Rob Entwhistle and Kiff McManus) spurred a pre-reputation of liberation.

Euronews spoke to the film’s producer, Bart Ruspoli, the day after the feature film awards to find out more about the world of independent film production.

Euronews: When did you know this project was something you wanted to be a part of?

Bart Ruspoli: We did a short film in 2019 – again with Stephen Graham – and it was done almost as a proof of concept for the feature version. So that was always the plan.

Euronews: Much has been made of Sam Mendes’ “one movie” since 1917. Was it still writer Philip Barantini’s plot outline or was it a tension building technique?

Bart Ruspoli: While the short was also a one-shot film, we didn’t immediately jump into the idea of ​​making the feature in one shot. Phil decided that during the script development process he felt that in order to really convey the frenetic atmosphere of the kitchen as effectively as we did in the short, we had to be brave enough to try the feature film of the same way.

Euronews: How did you sell it to backers and what do you think was the dealbreaker?

Bart Ruspoli: Our main funder also financed the short film, so he was involved in it from the start. Some of them however said to us “maybe you should put some hidden cuts in there? Just to be sure?” But at that time, we were engaged! And it was out of the question for us to do that. Obviously the short, which proved we could do it, and Stephen’s involvement was enough security for them to trust us.

Euronews: Filming dates have sailed perilously close to lockdown. How did you manage to avoid this logistical nightmare?

Bart Ruspoli: We were already trying something extremely difficult, and then we got the added twist of an impending global pandemic! It’s a testament to the professionalism and teamwork of the cast and crew that we pulled off. We wrapped up very early on Wednesday morning, and on Monday Boris put the country on lockdown. It was down to the wire.

Euronews: So you have escaped confinement. What was the biggest production challenge then?

Bart Ruspoli: Every element of the production was a challenge. From the sound to the custom camera we had to create to allow live reloading, and to allow Matt Lewis, our 23-year-old cinematographer, to turn around and move around the pass and kitchen. No one should underestimate the magnitude of what Matt has achieved in just his second feature film and at such a young age. He must have memorized nearly 100 separate camera movements. There are cinematographers who have been in the industry for 40 years and won countless awards who wouldn’t have been able to pull this off.

Euronews: What do the independent film awards do?

Bart Ruspoli: BIFAs are a fantastic way to showcase independent cinema. And they certainly help promote movies and young, new talent that otherwise wouldn’t get the platform they deserve.

Euronews: People may not realize it, but you’ve done it all: you’re also an actor, director and screenwriter with two BIFA producer nominations to your name. What is your advice to independent filmmakers?

Bart Ruspoli: Don’t ignore the tropes of the genre your film is in – just put a human story at its heart and push those tropes to the edge of the page but not off it.

Euronews: What is the biggest trap that independent film producers fall into?

Bart Ruspoli: Budget a film before scheduling it. How do you know how much it’s going to cost if you don’t know how long it’s going to take to make it?

“Boiling Point” starring Stephen Graham, Vinette Robinson and Jason Flemyng, produced by Bart Ruspoli and Hester Ruoff, is released in the UK on January 7, 2022. It opens in France three days later on January 10. But if you are in Spain, you can see it (titled ‘Hierve’) from December 29 VOD platform, Filmin.

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