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19 September 2014
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That winning feeling

John Giwa-Amu

John Giwa-Amu

John's film 'Barrie the Barber' won the New Film Makers Award in 2004. Since then John has produced a feature film with ITV called 'Little White Lies', which was nominated for six BAFTA Cymru Awards in 2006. The film won the awards for Best Actress and Best Actor. John also set up the company 'Red and Black Films' with producer and director Caradog James.

Here, he updates us on what's happened since he won the New Talent scheme, or you can find out more details on how he made 2004's winning film.


Watch his winning film

Q1. What have you been doing since you won the New Film Makers scheme in 2004?

I have directed a block of 'Doctors' and produced a feature film with ITV. The feature is called 'Little White Lies' and is about a small family from Swansea with some rather large problems. The film has been nominated for 6 BAFTA Cymru Awards all in top categories for 2006.


Q2. Do you find that as you create more films you look back at the older ones and see faults, or do you look back fondly on what you've done?

The film that won the New Talent award I look on with great fondness. To me the film is as near to perfect as I have ever come, in terms of putting my own tone and look on screen. I watch the film back now and still notice moments that I had forgotten, and I am still moved by the character. However, after Barrie I made 'Touched'. This was a move into 'comedy' and although at times it was funny, it lacked soul. 'Touched' was important for me because it has taught me what I am - I am a drama director who can project emotion more easily than laughs. I'm glad I tried 'Touched' with my own money and didn't just jump straight into a feature comedy as I had planned.


Q3. What is the one thing you wish you'd known when you started out as a film maker?

People do not necessarily make a better film with every step. Also, forget being 'clever'. Just find something that moves you to laughter or tears and make the audience feel the same way. They will love you for it, we all want to be moved, we all want to feel.


Q4. Has winning the scheme helped you pursue your film career in any way?

The New Talent award was an immense boost to my self belief. BBC Talent were the first people to recognise my individual skill as a film maker. It has been one of the most important things that has ever happened to me professionally.


Q5. What does both the short term and long term future hold for you?

After winning the New Talent award I set up 'Red and Black Films' with Caradog James, a finalist from the previous year. We have a slate of projects currently in development and will be taking it in turns to produce for each other. I am almost halfway through my first feature script which I will be directing.


About Barrie the Barber

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