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5th April 2024
Sharp Shooter
Title of film: Fat White Family - Bullet of Dignity
Director: Niall Trask
Production Company: Riff Raff
With a love for trash aesthetics and a tongue planted firmly in his cheek at all times, Niall Trask is making waves in the world of music video. His latest work for Fat White Family incorporates glittering bodies, a sexy Father Christmas, a variety of raw meats and a Tudor monarch eating Froot Loops. Fresh from signing with Riff Raff, Niall talks with 1.4 about the ‘trashy’ beginnings of his love of film, the shoestring-budget lockdown film that got him recognised, and how he keeps up the good vibes on set.

Niall with DP Rob Jarvis.                Photo: @lousmithphoto

Would you say that you grew up in a creative environment? When did you realise that directing was on the cards for you?

My parents gave me a video camera when I was 15 and tolerated my collection of over 1000 (mainly horror) VHS tapes, which are still in their loft. I was digitising their old home movies recently and found one of my brothers as a toddler, looking like a cherub in a baby walker, which lasts about seven seconds before it cuts to a WWF Raw is War clip of Shawn Michaels returning, undoubtedly taped over by me.
My uncle is a filmmaker, and I remember visiting him and going to the night-shoot of a horror film called ‘Creep’ that his mate was directing at the abandoned Aldwych station, where they shot ‘An American Werewolf in London’. That was probably the catalyst for me to get the bare minimum grades to get onto a film course and then move to London.
When I was 14 I wrote an essay to the director of a film called ‘Don’t Go in the Woods’, a banned video nasty from the days of Thatcher/Mary Whitehouse (people forget that the conservatives invented cancel culture) and it was all about my appreciation of how trashy it was. I actually ended up becoming penpals with Jim Bryan the director and getting the banned film released on DVD via my uncle’s contact Martin Myers at Anchor Bay. I went on to write my dissertation at Uni on trash aesthetics…

Where did the variety of ideas for Bullet of Dignity come from? What was your starting point?

Back in October in the sauna in Brixton with Lias the singer. He mentioned the forthcoming release schedule, I’d heard the demos and suggested some ideas for videos which he didn’t like. He told me he wanted to do a video with the bass player covered in semen in a West Ham bedroom, amongst other scenes, and thought I was the right man for the job.

BTS, Fat White Family, Bullet of Dignity                                                                                Photo credit: @spela_is

You don’t play it safe with the hair, makeup or styling choices here. What was the initial brainstorming and decision-making process like with the various designers and stylists on the project?

Dasha, our make-up artist, and Ellie the stylist came on board and I showed them a bunch of images that Lias and I liked with a breakdown of scenes, influenced by Pierre et Gilles. They went away and upped the game ten-fold with loads of great ideas. I’d say we gave them a lot of freedom to do whatever they wanted.

The artists you work with clearly have complete trust in you, as you’re often putting them in somewhat unorthodox situations and aesthetics. What is your approach to creating a bond with an artist when you first take on a project? How has your creative relationship with Fat White Family developed through your projects with them?

Yeah, to be honest I don’t win a lot of pitches on paper! Most of my jobs come through just meeting/knowing the band and talking things through. My bond with Fat White Family was solidified through a film we made in lockdown called ‘Moonbathing in February’. It was made by accident at a really bleak, anxious time. Honestly pure joy, running around Hastings with the same camera I’d used for following Rory Stewart around the previous year before Covid hit. We took a bunch of mushrooms and just filmed sketches, the writing process, stripped down renditions of songs. Cut it all into a sort of collage/medley and then ended up getting a write up in the Guardian Guide and a limited cinema release. It’s the best response I’ve ever had to anything I’ve made. And it was made by accident for the price of a train ticket.

BTS, Fat White Family, Bullet of Dignity                                                 Photo credit: @spela_is

What challenges did you encounter during the shoot for Bullet of Dignity?

To be honest it was genuinely really straightforward. It’s the first time I’ve ever filmed in a studio, rather than battling the elements, lugging crew and equipment across locations or filming without permission etc. Was a strange feeling when we wrapped. The guy playing Father Christmas turned up and said “Nice to meet you”. I told him we’d met a couple times before and he told me “Ah maybe we did, but there’s nothing remotely memorable about you at all…”. That was a challenge to accept.

With the range of elements in the film, there was a lot to bring together in the edit. Do you typically have a sense of the final edit when you’re on set for a project like this, or do you find that the piece reveals itself once you see it all in the cutting room?

This is the first video I’ve not edited myself actually. Tentacle Post took care of that side. But yeah I’d say I have a good sense usually, which allows me to film conservatively on 16mm even on tight budgets when I need to. The emails that went back and forth on this were great, seeing notes from proper grown-ups with mortgages and stuff, debating whether there was too much jizz or the legality of using AI images of a Diana Memorial and Teletubbies.

BTS, Fat White Family, Bullet of Dignity                                                                          Photo credit: @spela_is

From the beautiful eccentricity of this piece and the unbridled creative freedom that shines through in all your work, it seems like you must have a blast on set. How do you establish the atmosphere on set when you’re shooting?

I put together a nice playlist for this one so we weren’t listening to the song itself all day. We had ‘Under the Sea’ from Little Mermaid for the underwater terrorist bits. And some Christmas songs while we had lunch. But yeah, my producer and I tend to get really good feedback from management about the nice atmosphere. Which is the opposite of the atmosphere described in biographies of my favourite auteurs. So maybe we should look into that and start trying to make the cast cry and belittle the crew and stuff, create a real horrible atmosphere.
When my punting company in Cambridge was closed down for operating without a license, I was Eddie Redmayne’s stand-in on Les Misérables. That was a horrible set – the crew truly were Les Misérables. Hugh Jackman was lovely though and would give out scratch cards every Friday.

You’ve shot in some quite extreme weather conditions, particularly looking at your work for Eyes of Others. What are the challenges of shooting in such polar locations?

Just the unpredictability of what we’re gonna get. But I think that also means better results a lot of the time – fewer people on set to answer to, just natural light and exhilaration. That ‘Eyes of Others’ video in the lake was a real buzz. Getting up at 6am in -22c to chainsaw through the ice, and then get that in two takes.

BTS, Fat White Family, Bullet of Dignity

Speaking from your position as the “6th ever non-privately educated individual working in UK film industry”, to what extent do you think the lack of diversity in the industry has improved over the last few years? What can be done to further encourage wider participation in filmmaking?

Ha, where did I write that again? I definitely don’t feel like I’m a victim of the lack of diversity in the industry, but I did see this week that nearly half of UK award nominees are privately educated. It’s funny going to film events where it’s celebrating diversity and the majority of the participants are clearly from privileged backgrounds, so I guess that’s what I was digging at. I support diversity obviously. Always way too many blokes with beards and North Face jackets on my shoots talking about lenses.

What are you working on at the moment? Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I stayed with Ariel Pink back in September and filmed something that I’m still putting together. I’m working on a feature film story too. I get down this time of the year with the lack of light and work, my confidence dries up and I tell everyone I’m gonna become a gardener or a postman. But I just signed to Riff Raff, so hopefully that means more opportunities. They’ve been really supportive and given me a lot of love. Although I’m sure lots of people in the office saw the ‘Bullet of Dignity’ video and are wondering why the hell I was signed.

Crew and cast, Fat White Family, Bullet of Dignity





Niall Trask website

Riff Raff website





Niall with Fat White Family’s Alex White.   Photo: @spela_is


Fat White Family - Bullet of Dignity

Director: Niall Trask @nialltrask

Producer: Dan Matthews @ramshackleproductions

1st Assistant Director: James Matthews-Read

Director of Photography: Adric Watson @adricwatson

1st Assistant Camera: Jon England @jonengl4nd

Gaffer: Deimantė Sprainaitytė @deimantesprai

Spark: Caterina Castro @catcastrophic

Camera Equipment: Hawk @hawklondon

Production Designer: James Middleton @jamesmid

Production Assistant: Monika O’Hanlon @monikaohanlon

Production Assistant: Maddy Smith @__maddysmith

Runner: Ella Lowden @ella_lowden_3

Post Production: TENTACLE @tenentnet

3D Modelling: Dylan Copeland

Edited by Jordan Copeland, Niall Trask and Jack Barraclough

Colour Grading: Rascal

Post Producer: Jai Durban @jaihachdurban

Colourist: Dan Levy @danmaxlevy

Production Company: Riff Raff Films @riffrafffilms

Executive Producer: Precious Mahaga @preciousmahaga

Executive Producer: Natalie Arnett @nataliedoes

Commissioner: John Moule @john_moule

Record Label: Domino Recording Co. @dominorecordco

Director’s Representation: OB Management @obmanagment

Director’s Representation: Sam Davey @samboydavey

Director’s Representation: Polly Millner @pollymillner


Eyes of Others, New Hair New Me

Director, Editor & Producer // Niall Trask // @nialltrask

Director of Photography // Rob Jarvis // @robjarvisdop

Executive Producer // Dan Matthews // @thedanmatthews

Production Company // Ramshackle Productions //

Colourist // Dan Levy // @danmaxlevy

Online Post Producer // Jai Durban // @jaimhachdurban

Online Post House // Rascal Post //

Commissioner // Danny Mitchell // @danno_vision

Artist’s Label // Heavenly Recordings // @heavenlyrecordings

Artist’s Label // [PIAS] // @pias

Artist’s Management // Davie Miller // @davie_miller_

Director’s Representation // OB Management // @obmanagement

Director’s Representation // Polly Millner // @pollymillner

Director’s Representation // Sam Davey // @samboydavey

Line Producer (Norway) // Simon Tickner // @simontickler69

Assistant Line Producer (Norway) // Åge Osflaten //

Production Services (Norway) // Betty Fjord Clinic // @bettyfjordclinic