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TF13 - 'A Practical Guide To A Spectacular Suicide': Cinequest Q+A Graham Hughes, Writer/Di

1Q: Tell us a little about the origins of A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO A SPECTACULAR SUICIDE, from concept to financing.

Well, I’ve been making films for the last 5 years with my two best friends from High School; writers Keith Grantham and Graeme McGeagh. After years of broad comedy films we wanted to attempt something a bit more serious. A Practical Guide to a Spectacular Suicide came first as a title and slowly developed into a story. We wanted to make something that would be life-affirming, not too preachy, always with a hint of comedy, trying to edge away from the ever-present cliche of dour films that come out of Scotland.

The financing came from a successful crowd-funding campaign, which turned out to be almost solely funded by friends and family. We really can’t say enough thanks to all the funders, as we couldn’t have made the film without them!

2Q: Cinequest is hosting the World Premiere of A PRACTICAL GUIDE. Explain to us how it feels to bring this film before audiences for the first time, and what do you think their reaction will be to your film?

It feels incredible to be showing our film to audiences at Cinequest. They are the first festival to have accepted our film and it just feels like an incredible validation for our $6,000 movie, made by semi-pros in their spare time in Scotland is getting its world premiere in California. It really does make all of the grief worthwhile!

And at this stage I’ll be happy with any reaction to the film. If they have a reaction then it means they have been to see it!

3Q: What was your best and/or worst experience while making A PRACTICAL GUIDE?

The best experience was the whole shoot itself. We had such an amazing team of individuals that really created a sense of family over the 13 day shoot. By the end of our first 9 day block delirium had really set in. Everyone constantly sang between takes and the slightest unfunny joke would set everyone into fits of laughter. Our photographer Stephen Blythe, who was present on the 2nd and final day of that block noted that we had all “lost it” by the end.

Also our amazing Producer, Production Designer, Caterer etc etc, Kirsty Huttonmade us lunch every day. I’ve never been fed so well…

Worst experience, probably the first private screening we had. The blu-ray wouldn’t work. We struggled to fix it in the time that everyone was arriving… longest 37 minutes of my life…

4Q: Festival audiences often have to make hard decisions about what to see, and the catalog descriptions sometimes run together. In your own words, why should people see your film?

All going well, I should be at the Premiere; our screening on Friday the 7th. If you come along I’ll buy you a beer afterwards (limit to first 10 customers, terms and conditions apply).

5Q: Time to pre-plan: You just won an Oscar for A PRACTICAL GUIDE. Give us your acceptance speech.

This is dedicated to my primary seven teacher that said I could never be a writer… you bitch.

Seriously though, the only reason this film was made was due to the support and belief of all of our friends and family that donated their time, money and faith to help us achieve our dreams– wait, what? What do you mean clerical error? Uh-huh? I see… well yes I guess 12 Years a Slave does deserve it a bit more…

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