On The Cusp, Longlist - Short Film

Smokers Delight

Jamie Whitby

Agile FIlms

As a British director I often find myself looking towards American genre filmmaking with a great deal of envy. Genre isn’t something we have much of in the UK, especially in the short film space. So with this film I decided to try and explore what a classic American stoner film might look like in a modern British context. I particularly wanted to push that feeling of trying to find deep, meaningful answers that aren’t there - a habit I certainly have whenever I get high. In the world of music videos I’m a filmmaker who is very interested in the world of the interior mind - I love the opportunities it presents to play with reality and form. This film is largely set in a dream so a lot of the locations you see were built as sets to add to that sense that things aren’t quite real. I also took an expressionistic approach to lighting, pushing my DoP Spike to go against his instincts and light scenes in an acid-tinged way that didn’t need to be justified by each location. The missing apostrophe in the title is deliberate, by the way! The film is soundtracked by the seminal Warp Records album of the same grammatically-challenged name. Nightmares On Wax made that album back in the mid 90s to listen to in the wee hours after you got back from the club. I took a lot of inspiration from that kind of warm, cosy context.

Jamie Whitby is a music video director based in London. He has worked with artists including Glass Animals, Yellow Days, and Kasabian’s Serge Pizzorno and his debut film, a modern reinterpretation of Shakespeare’s Caliban for Channel 4’s Random Acts strand, starred David Oyelowo.