Jonny Wilson

Director of Life Without

Your project takes a part in our festival. What is your project about ?

Life Without is about a young woman, hungry for revenge for the murder and rape of her mother many years ago. She begins to reconcile with her estranged sister, an actress eager for success who is being pushed by her agent for the leading role in a slasher horror film. As the two women plot a killing, the older sister becomes increasingly disturbed by the horror film, which mirrors their mother's murder, and her life becomes a film within a film.
Life Without is a low budget independent feature film, with arthouse roots and its use of authentic locations and language.  


What were your requirements for actors to take a part of your film?
There wasn't a specific approach for Life Without, and I don't have a theory for this. But what I can say is that I love actors and I love working with them. It's all about creating a sense of trust, so that the actors know that you're there to support them, which leads them to be able to give their best. Each actor is different, and I know that I have to work with each one differently.


How did you communicate with the cameraman?
We spoke for the best part of eighteen months about the storyboard, and I realise that was a luxury. It was very satisfying for me. I'm a visual person so the exchange of ideas over that time was a must. And the cameraman was very experienced.


What locations did you choose for your project? And why?
The production team spent time sourcing real locations rather than sound studios because technology now allows you to do so much more. And an authentic feel was wanted by everyone.
Why should distributors buy your film?
Life Without was created with a strong identity and an historically known and successful distribution market in mind. It has clarity with all the genres it's working with, so the right distributor will know that it's for them. The production team also have a range of other films at late development stage, and we are open to discussing them, either as single projects or a package. We are not complacent about distribution.

What expression elements did you use in your project? How would you characterize your work?
At the heart of Life Without is one of the most examined cinematic themes that of guilt. This good and evil story is wrapped up into the guilty and the wronged. My vision of this story has an incongruity within it that exists in life. There are things in this world that deeply resonate with us. Things that fascinate us and makes us compelled to try and understand them. This is our evolutionary psychology.


At what festivals have you had success? Has the film already premiered? If so, where?
The success of film festivals is you having to pinch yourself. That you are so lucky to be accepted and that sometimes you can go to places you have never been to before. You go to the place and absorb it. I think the film's enjoying good success as we've been selected for a dozen or so festivals.

What motivated you to become a filmmaker?
To have one foot on the ground of established filmmaking, whilst using the other to break new ground.

Which movies are your favorites? And why?
These films for me demonstrate the power of resisting convention in finding meaning and logic in individual fate. Alien, 12 Angry Men, 2001: A Space Odessey, Chariots of Fire, and Heat.

What topics do you like to deal with in your work?
Human psychology – this must exist.

What genre do you like to shoot and why?
I work with a form that tries to blend genres that shouldn't naturally work, for example, a blend of fairy tale, gangster and ghost story. It really does free you creatively to work without boundaries.

What project would you like to shoot one day, what would it be about?
The project would be a genre blend that had never been attempted before.

How has COVID affected your film life?
Writing saved me from the cruelties of Covid. I was in my own bubble expressing the thoughts of characters who were in worlds far far away from a pandemic environment which allowed me to avoid most of the social and economic misery.

What do you do if you're not thinking about a movie? What are your hobbies?
I don't understand the question. (That's the answer).

What projects do you plan to shoot in the future?
Each film will build on the one previous to it, whilst going off in some kind of different direction.