A great investigation of the human spirit

– Fünf Fragen an Regisseur Simon Rumley –

Regisseur und Drehbuchautor Simon Rumley ist mit gleich zwei Filmen auf dem Oldenburger Filmfest vertreten: „Crowhurst“ und „Fashionista“ tauchen tief in die menschliche Psyche ein und beschäftigen ihre Zuschauer nachhaltig. Mit OffBloggerin Mareike Schulz hat Rumley über die historische Person Donald Crowhurst gesprochen und unter anderem verraten, was ihn an der menschlichen Psyche so fasziniert. 

Frage: Mr. Rumley, welcome to Oldenburg. Before the festival I had the chance to watch your film Crowhurst. What do you think about the historical person Crowhurst, his life, his intentions to go on this crazy journey?

Simon Rumley: We did a lot of research before we really started working on the project. Me and the producers generally came to the conclusion that he was a really ethical man, really charming. He had a family, wife and four children and tried to sell his inventions. But there also was an element of eccentricity about him. He was a dreamer, someone who wanted to do something big with his life.

I also think he was reckless.

To set out on such a journey you have to be reckless but also some kind of naive to do something like this with the limited amount of experience that he had. It probably wasn’t his best idea ever, but he had this charisma to do it. It was due to his personality that he was able to get the money in time to do the race.

Do you think Crowhurst died because of his insanity?

Rumley: I think his death is a very complex thing. Of course, to this day his body has never been found, so no one is a hundred percent sure what happened. But the general thought is that he committed suicide by jumping over. When he decided to cheat the race and sail down Argentina, it literally took him four months. And during these four months he could not use the radio, because using the radio would give away a position where he was.

He basically had to go silent for four months.

Well, the guilt at leaving his family behind, the guilt at cheating, although I think he was a good person, paid on his mind a lot, so when he joined the race again, he realized he would have to lie because he wasn’t gonna come last but first as the other sailors dropped out. With that knowledge he knew he was going to be found out by his logbooks. He had all this time to think about himself, about returning home but not being celebrated as a hero but being celebrated as one of the world’s biggest cheats. I think the combination of all those things with the loneliness sent him mad.

There is another movie about Crowhurst which will be released in 2018. Do you know that film? What makes his story from about 50 years ago so interesting for film makers today?

Rumley: In a weird way it’s about a man setting sails and being confronted with demons he didn’t even know existed. It’s a great story of humanity and optimism gone incredibly wrong. It’s a drama, and drama is connected to conflict. And there is a conflict in this film, it’s not like he is shouting at people or trying to run away from being killed. The conflict is him with his own morals. It’s completely self made. It’s a great investigation of the human spirit. What makes people do what they do? That is what most of my films are about, mostly the bad or wrong things that people do, even if they are not necessarily bad people. Crowhurst is actually a very good example. He is a good person but what he does is maybe not the best idea. The way he tries to cope with that is a great tragedy. That’s one of the big things that interested me.

Stellt in Filmen die Frage, was Menschen zu schlechtem Handeln bewegt: Simon Rumley

What is your key motivation to shoot a movie?

Rumley: It’s generally about finding a subject that I am interested in. There are scripts that I write and then there are some subjects that are brought to me. And: It’s never easy to finance a film. So one has a bunch of scripts and films that one wants to do and then you see which one happens first. But usually, once you have the money you work on a film maybe two months preparing it, let’s say one month shooting it. Then you work another three to five months post-producing it, so you’re spending at least a year of your life but in reality it’s probably two to three years from when it comes into your life until the actual premiere. So, if you don’t like what you’re exploring it will not be nice for you. When you’re editing the movie and watch the same take over and over again you really have to believe in it and love it.

You’ve had a really productive period lately and completed four movies in two years. Was there a time when you feared that you are not able to focus on each project equally? And what do you plan to shoot next?

Simon Rumley wurde 1970 in England geboren.

Rumley: Right, but basically I’ve done pretty much one film a year since 2013. So, 2013 and 2014 I was working on „Johnny Frank Garrett“ and then 2015 I was working on „Crowhurst“, 2016 I was on „Fashionista“ and then this year I’ve been working on „Once upon a time in London“. Every year I’ve doneanother film rather than two films in one year. I think one film a year is good, anything more than that would be getting harder. But like this I was able to really focus on each and every project.

At the moment I have three projects which people are interested in. One is a really straight forward thriller, set in one location pretty much. One is a film about a mother and her daughter and the other is a gangster film which hasn’t been written yet but which will be produced by the „Once upon a time in London“ producers. It’s the sort of extreme drama that interests me. My films are never straight out horror films but psychologically quite tough and about mental challenges. Psychological drama is kind of what I do I guess.

Das Gespräch führte: Mareike Schulz 
Fotos: Liv Stephan

Screening von „Fashionista“:
Sa., 16.9., 23.45 Uhr, cine k/Studio

Screening von „Crowhurst“:
Sa., 16.9., 16.30 Uhr, cine k/Studio

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