Col Spector • Director
by Vitor Pinto
UK director Col Spector assumes the influence of Woody Allen in his feature debut Someone Else. The tale of a photographer dumping his girlfriend for an infatuation to later realise that it was not a smart thing to do is showcasing this year at Karlovy Vary in the Variety Critics' Choice: Europe Now! sidebar. The title was produced by London-based RSA-Films, which is also handling international sales. We interview a filmmaker for whom male behaviour provides the main material for inspired comedy dramas.
Cineuropa: Can you tell us about your background before you shot your first feature?
Col Spector: My background is mainly in documentaries and short comedy dramas. I used to write and direct comedy shorts for childrens’ TV, as well as making arts documentaries, mainly for the BBC.
Some critics have compared Someone Else to Manhattan and called you a British version of Woody Allen. Is that flattering or does it sound scary?
I guess it’s flattering, as Manhattan is one of my favourite movies and I’m a massive Woody Allen fan. Although I do feel that I have a rather different sensibility – maybe it’s more of an understated English approach to comedy that I have, or maybe it’s that Someone Else has more of a European sensibility. I was, however, influenced by Woody Allen and Gordon Willis’ approach to framing in their work together. I always kept the camera at chest height as Willis does in most of the movies he shoots as well as often using just a master shot to cover a scene as Allen does.
What was your major source of inspiration? Do you know a lot of commitment-phobic people?
My major source of inspiration was just real-life men. As the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan once said: "Men are stupid". I think there is a lot of serious comic potential in the male gender’s seemingly infinite capacity for self-deception. The other thing I’d say is that the film isn’t necessarily about a guy who’s commitment-phobic – it’s about a man who doesn’t quite know what he wants, though he thinks he does.
Is romantic comedy your favourite genre?
I’m not sure whether I’d say that Someone Else is a romantic comedy – I suspect it’s more a comedy drama. But yeah I do enjoy great inspired romantic comedies – but hate bad, predictable ones.
Are you working on any new projects?
I’ve just finished writing a comedy that I’m very proud of. It’s about a man who’s been betrayed in love and is trying to change his life and find happiness. It’s a shame that raising money takes time as I want to go off and start making it now.
What does it mean for you to be selected for the Variety Critics’ Choice section at Karlovy Vary?
It’s incredibly flattering to be selected by the Variety critics for this section and wonderful to be showcased alongside other new European filmmakers.
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