Jamie Morris talks to the duo behind the wacky agoraphobia short Aaron and The Wizard, after it won Best in Category at Repton FilmFest…
Mojatu: How did you meet?
Wesley Gee: We were both at uni – I was playing the piano, and Leon came and sat with me, and he says, “What are we playing, then?”
Leon Chrimes: I can’t play any musical instruments, so it was an empty self-invitation, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything – and that’s pretty much how we make films together.
Mojatu: How do you know when you want to turn one of your ideas into a film?
LC: As we’ve gotten older and left uni, we’ve had less chance to hang out with each other. So, when we do have time, it’s like, “Let’s make a film together – and we have today to make this”.
WG: If it’s an idea that I can think about for long enough without hating it, and it makes me laugh as I’m thinking of it, that’s usually a good go-ahead to commit to it.
Mojatu: So you make the films that you’d want to watch?
LC: For me, it’s to make the films I’d have fun making. Most of the creative element comes from Wes – he’s usually the one directing and editing, and I’m just having fun being there.
WG: It’s not necessarily the ones I’d want to see – it’s the ones I’d otherwise never see. That drives me.
Mojatu: What made you decide to include a mental health theme in your latest film?
LC: I found something on YouTube called Puff the Magic Dragon, and I thought it’d be funny to do a spoof of that. How can we get a magical character to interact with a “little boy” character, even though I’m a grown man? So we needed a character that needed help.
WG: The “boys don’t talk” moment was something I pulled out of a hat at the last minute. It’s such a key part of society now that, if you’re making a film, those undertones are going to work their way into it.
Mojatu: There’s a scene where you’re performing a musical number on the bus. Was the driver in on it?
LC: Not at all. Wes, dressed as the wizard, just got on that bus and sang. You got quite a few funny looks, right?
WG: I actually got treated better while I was dressed as the wizard – some guy said, “Good luck, whatever you’re doing”. We got a lot of positive reinforcement.
Mojatu: Where did you shoot the film?
LC: It was filmed in Creswell, where Wes hails from.
WG: It’s a small village, about forty minutes from Derby. It’s a relatively quiet place where you can dress as a wizard without much backlash. The final scene is filmed at an archaeological dig site, Creswell Crags, where I work.
Mojatu: Do you feel like this project has been a success?
LC: This film feels like it’s taken off more than previous ones, and it’s been really nice to have a wider circle of people engage with what we’re making. I hope from here on out, people are more invested in our work.
WG: For me, this film is evidence that you can make a film purely for fun, and other people will watch it and enjoy it just as much. I don’t know if it’ll get any bigger from here, but no matter what happens, it’s symbolic that we’re getting better at it.