Jack Jewers is BAFTA-nominated, Royal Television Society award-winning director, who made his first film at the age of six. He starred in it as well, as Spiderman. Thofilmaker, originally from the south of England and now based near London, has directed dozens of shorts, as well as television and advertising. “In 2014 I directed my first web series, Night School, which was the first in the world outside the USA to have been based on a young adult (YA) book. I’m very proud of it; the Guardian ran a front-page story about us on the day episode one premiered, and we recently passed a million views.”
When asked about his influences, Jack says he’s “a total magpie”. Efforts to make top ten lists of his favourite movies soon reach 70 entries and the though of listing fills him with anxiety. He prefers to believe that “inspiration can come from anywhere”, although he acknowledges that he’s influenced by cinema and television, and points out that currently there are “better and more interesting things are happening in the latter medium than the former.”
Culture in general should be a filmmaker’s source of inspiration “books, music, art, theatre, current events, history, travel. Devour everything voraciously!”, Jack says, and he quotes an author friend phrase on the matter: “you’ve got to constantly fill the well of inspiration.”
What would you like to accomplish or what is the main message you try to express with your work?
“I think a lot of my films deal with outsiders; people thrown into situations that they never expected to face and seeing how they survive. A film I made a few years ago, Shalom Kabul, is a black comedy based on the true story of the last two Jews of Afghanistan. They lived together in a dilapidated house, surrounded by the Taliban, and they couldn’t stand each other. It was like an Afghan Odd Couple. The point to the story, of course, was that underneath that deep-seated personal hatred was an unbreakable bond. They were the last survivors of a centuries-old community and they needed each other. You don’t get much more outsidery than that.”
How has your participation in festivals such as Dub Web Fest help you or motivated you?
“I’m fortunate that my work has given me the chance to compete in film festivals across the world, and I can honestly say that the inaugural Dublin Web Fest in 2015 was one of my favourite experiences. I’ve done the full range, from the huge, lumbering, behemoth that is Cannes—the film industry’s most full-on bull pit, a drunken, careening Godzilla in a sparkly dress—right the way through to tiny, indie-focused events that are all about the love of films. The great thing about Dublin was getting to meet and talk to so many creators, from all over the world, who had come to show their work. I and the other Night School crew had fascinating conversations with everyone from a Japanese cowboy who went around lassoing people in Temple Bar, to a talented pair of Lebanese filmmakers who had made beautiful documentary shorts about the lives of ordinary people. Maybe it was a touch of the famous Dublin craic rubbing off on us, but the atmosphere felt so collegiate and supportive. Everyone was there to watch, to be inspired, and to have fun. What more could you want?”
When ask about current projects and plans for the future, Jack says he would love to comment… but can’t. He’s still waiting for logistic details to be agreed on (including the very important issue of financing), but he let us know that he’s currently working on a new web series. “If we can pull it off, it’ll be seriously exciting—and cause some controversy, too. I can also say that the idea began life at the Dublin Web Fest, sometime around midnight, in the basement of the Liquor Rooms. And if you were at the festival last November you’ll know exactly where I mean!”
For more information about Jack Jewers visit jackjewers.co.uk
Dub Web Fest is the First Webseries Festival in Ireland. Established by French Filmmaker and Web Series Creator, Mikael Thiery and Videography Ireland Director, Erol Mustafov, The Dublin Web Fest (DubWebFest) unites digital media and tech worlds. We showcase screenings, host Youtube panels and welcome TV and Film production professionals to Dublin’s Filmbase over the course of three days.
Coming in November and receiving submissions until September 15.
Click here for more info.