This is Vanity and Iniquity are both based on the same true story. How did you come across this story, and what made you want to tell it?
I discovered the story via a BBC News article, years after it had happened, at a time when I was coming to understand my taste for dark and complex kinds of stories. It just really captivated me, filled me with rage and stayed with me as it’s such a heart breaking and complicated story full of injustice. In addition to this the reversal of opinion I had when actually reading the article – about the perpetrator as a victim in his own right – felt like it could be a great film experience for the audience and so the adaptation started from there.
The first short, This is Vanity, released in 2012, was critically acclaimed and won at various festivals. Iniquity continues the story ten years later, this time from the perspective of Michael. Did you always have plans to make another film? What made you want to continue it now?
Yes and no. We had the idea of a trilogy when we wrote Vanity in 2012 and made attempts to write it in 2013 but it fizzled out. We wrote together in the years after that and in 2019 we were looking for something new and it just felt like time to give it a go again.
How has your directing process changed in the 10 years since the release of This is Vanity? Did the success of the first film add pressure to making Iniquity?
It added to the pressure a little bit but there was plenty already there. My process was pretty similar to the first one really, just more confident and refined with the intervening years’ experience.
How did you meet writer Alexander Craig? What do you enjoy about working together?
We were mates first, meeting through our girlfriends at the time and eventually it evolved into a working relationship. That probably makes it fairly unusual but we’re really productive and get into a lot of depth, which is great.
The violence and pyrotechnics must have posed practical difficulties during filming. What were the challenges of making Iniquity?
Yes, they did! The most challenging moment, I think (well, everything is challenging on a short film), was the crowd scene with the burning posters – it had a lot of moving parts and had serious health and safety issues to negotiate.
You’re very good at telling dark stories. Alongside the tragedy of This is Vanity and Iniquity, one of your most talked-about pieces of commercial work is “Float to Live” for the RNLI, a striking warning about cold water shock. Do you feel drawn to darker subjects?
I do and that’s probably something I should dig into in my therapy! They’re the stories I like to consume. I feel comfortable in that headspace and feel like it’s part of the human experience and shouldn’t be ignored.
Have you always felt compelled to tell stories? Did you grow up in a creative environment?
Yeah my dad was a dodgy insurance broker, creative with all the official practices that entailed … We drew a lot as kids, lots of war, explosions and soldiers being blown to pieces on those old reams of computer paper that you could stretch out for metres. I had no idea about the mechanics of film as a kid and teenager though – I don’t think I knew what a director and producer were until I was 25 years old.
What are you working on next? Can we be hopeful for another installment of the This is Vanity series?
Maybe but there’s nothing in the works. At the moment I’m trying to start something new, just looking for stories and playing with a few ideas.
Are you signed to a production company?
Right now I’m not, but I am looking…
Interview by Becca Nichols
Oliver Goodrum website
Radioaktive Films website
Alexander Craig website
Director: Oliver Goodrum
Writers: Alexander Craig (alexander-craig.com) & Oliver Goodrum
Producer: Luke Goodrum
Co Producers: Jane Yatsuta & Darren Skulsky (Radioaktive Film)
Exec Producer: Lucas A Ferrara
Associate Producer: Richard Martin
Casting: Georgia Topley at Des Hamilton Casting
Cinematographer: James Blann – jamesblanndop.co.uk
Production Designer: Kelly Sinclair Smith – instagram.com/studiosinclairsmith/
Costumer Designer: Sophie O’Neill – sophie-oneill.com
Make Up Designer: Michelle Hutley
Grade: Toby Tomkins / Cheat It – cheatit.co
VFX: Seb Barker / Automatik – automatik-vfx.com
Sound: Ines Adriana – inesadriana.com
Music: Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres – ah-a.co.uk
Unit Manager: Sara Fawsitt
1st AD: Wayne Bentley
PM: Claire Adcock
This is Vanity
Director: Oliver Goodrum / www.olivergoodrum.com
Writer: Alexander Craig / http://www.alexander-craig.com
Director of Photography: Justin Brown / www.justinbrowndp.com
Producer: Rob Leonard
Exec Prod: James Goodrum & Luke Jacobs
Production Company: Friend London / http://friendlondon.tv
Editor: Simon Halsall / http://m-s-halsall.blogspot.co.uk
Composer: Leslie Quarcoopome
Production Designer: Regina Sinatra