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19 September 2014
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Reach deep inside yourself

Josh Appignanesi

Josh Appignanesi's films have won acclaim the world over. In 2003 he won the BBC Three New Film Makers Award with his short, 'Nine and a Half Minutes', featuring a youthful David Tennant.

Last year he directed his debut feature film 'Song of Songs', a story of incest set in the tightly knit north London Orthodox Jewish community.

Watch the opening scene from Song of Songs

Q1. How should aspiring filmmakers get started?

Watch a lot of films and think, 'how did they shoot this, what does it mean?' Be ambitious in your filmmaking and reach deep inside yourself for 'story stuff'.


Q2. How can you get a foot in the door?

You just have to keep plugging away at it. Talent does win out.


Q3. Advice for shooting films?

It's scary shooting anything... for most people, if you really care about the film, you're going to be pretty damn nervous. Preparation is your big friend.


Q4. How important is post production in the creative process?

The edit is crucial. It can be quite a painful process... but I love editing because you're getting back in touch with the original story.


Q5. 'Song of Songs' was about incest. Are there any subjects off limits in filmmaking?

Offending someone for the sake of offending them is joyless and a bit sad, but if there is something you feel you have to say then by all means say it. One always has internal censorship...


Q6. What films do you like and feel inspired by?

I like cheesy comedies like 'Anchorman' or well made Hollywood films like 'Witness'. The films that I really admire and inspire me as a filmmaker are more difficult to watch. There's an 'arthouse wing' and an 'entertainment wing'.


Q7. How do you deal with bad reviews?

I'm more interested in the bad reviews because maybe I can learn something. In a way you trust those ones more than the good reviews.


Josh Appignanesi

When auditioning for his 2002 short 'Nine and a Half Minutes' Josh chose for his lead a then unknown David Tennant.

When he isn't directing movies Josh teaches film, despite the fact that he never went to film school himself.

In order to keep costs down on his debut feature 'Song of Songs', Josh shot the interior scenes at his mother's house.


Josh talks about his success as a filmmaker.

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