Felix Thompson, writer/director of festival hit ‘King Jack’ describes his journey from film school to feature film
“The best thing that any storyteller can do is listen. You go through life and experience all of these fascinating things and it’s important to observe and appreciate that.”
At Met Film School we are always on the lookout for upcoming talent within the world of the screen arts, so we can get their top tips to help our own students. We met first-time writer/ director Felix Thompson to ask him how he came up with the idea for his debut film King Jack, a delightful and imaginative story around protagonist Jack, a teenager faced with family issues, bullying and another bout of summer school. When his younger cousin comes to stay, Jack is able to explore what is really important in life, in a tender character-driven piece of cinema based across one weekend. King Jack recently screened at festivals including Tribeca Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival. Felix documents his journey from film school to feature film:
How did you begin your career in film?
I was actually born in England, but then moved around a lot, ending up in New York. As a kid storytelling became a survival instinct almost, I found that the best way to make friends was to have something to say. I was always fascinated by stories, but it wasn’t until I applied to college that I thought about film as a career choice. I went to film school at NYU then studied for an MA in Screenwriting here in London. King Jack is my first feature film.
Your characters are very well defined and explored within the film. Were you inspired by real people from your own childhood?
I don’t think it matters who you’re writing about, you always have someone real that you can relate back to when you’re writing about it. Growing up there were these kids that had all of these quirks and characteristics that I found so fascinating. I think that is what it gives a film this sense of realism. The best thing that any filmmaker/ storyteller can do is listen. You go through life and experience all of these fascinating things and it’s important to observe and appreciate that.
What do you hope audiences take away from this film?
Ultimately I think that this film is about growing up and about learning that we’re not at the centre of the universe. It’s really about learning that it’s more important to care about others in your life than yourself, and about putting them first. There’s an element of nostalgia to the film, and that can bring you back to the terror and thrill of first experiences, not fitting in and being bullied. There’s a lot that that people can relate and react to.
What genre would you say this is?
I think that ‘coming-of-age’ is moniker that is overused. It’s such a broad genre- you can come of age at 40, we’re constantly changing, and so are characters in films. One review that I really liked called it a “tender coming-of-age film that is always on the verge of becoming a horror film.” I loved that!
Any tips for filmmakers?
At some point you become able to communicate in life. The most important thing to work on is this sense of ‘why?’ Why this story, why does this interest you? It has to leave you with something. With a good film you never come away empty handed.
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