Bruce Webb • Director
by Naman Ramachandran
24/06/2010 - Bruce Webb has produced several films, including Copying Beethoven and Death at a Funeral [trailer]. He has also directed a few episodes of Hollyoaks and Little Howard’s Big Question. His debut feature as director, The Be All and End All [trailer], is a bittersweet coming-of-age comedy.
Cineuropa: How did the film evolve? What made you choose this subject?
Bruce Webb: I bought the script of the film from the writers after doing a script call to agents in London – not a very romantic way of finding the story but it did stand out from the other scripts we had been sent. When I read it, the story was very original and very funny and I saw the touching and sad moments could be expanded more. Ziggy’s search for his father is a personal story to me, which also attracted me. From there, there were development meetings on improving the script and then the long task of raising the finance.
You have produced several features and directed some TV. What made you take the plunge into feature film direction?
I was bored of producing and didn’t feel it was creative enough and was frustrated by our company not taking off. My business partner had taken on work outside the industry and I was thinking of packing it in and changing careers when I went to a careers councillor who made me realise I was a creative person and I should give directing a go. I directed a short called Rare Books and Manuscripts, which I loved making and the audience liked the film, so a feature seemed a natural progression. I also don’t think TV would have made The Be All and End All as though violence is allowed on UK TV they are very prudish about sex.
How did you raise the financing for the film? Did your experience as a producer come in handy?
Yes, it was very handy indeed though I didn’t have much luck raising money for myself as a director as I only managed to raise £120k. I had a great exec that all of the money came through but government grants and public funding didn’t happen – again, the subject matter was not appealing to them. The financial world was melting down as we were about to make the film so we just went for it on the money we had and luckily I had amazing production help in Liverpool and we managed to make the film on budget. The advantage of being a director and producer is that you know you are only to blame if the project isn’t moving forward quickly enough.
What are your future projects?
I have several projects in development. The Blessing of Outlaws, which is a South African Western, set in 1860. It’s a big period drama about race, greed and lust. Back Back Forward, which is a comedy road movie about two loser men in their 20s trying to grow up and leave their home town. Lobster, which I have written myself and is about a man trapped in a relationship with an abusive woman. And Lillian, which is a suffragette story of a woman who these days would be classed as a terrorist as she firebombed buildings in the UK to protest about the lack of rights to vote for women.