Stephen Graham

From Short to Feature

At Suffolk Shorts we believe that ‘Short Films are the Future’.  A director can hone their skills or try out new ways of working when making a short film.  Short films can even be a tease to encourage funding to then go and make a feature.  Boiling point started life as a one shot short film to show that the concept was doable.  Here in Suffolk we have our very own one shot short film in Spiral, directed by our East Anglian Programme Lead Joshua Dickenson – hopefully he too will develop Spiral into a feature.  

Boiling Point. A perfect pressure cooker of a film

 

Stephen Graham as the lead in Boiling Point

When I heard that The Riverside in Woodbridge (Suffolk Short’s host venue) were showing Boiling Point, the feature based on the short of the same name from 2019 I was there!

Boiling Point (2021) is directed by Philip Barnatini who struggled to find the success he craved as an actor.  This led him to a decade working in professional kitchens and saw him progress to head chef.  He knew that he wanted to make a film about his life in the kitchen and that it would be most effective as a one shot film:

‘When you’re in a busy restaurant service, you don’t get a chance to go back and do stuff again, because you’re a million miles an hour. Everybody’s got to be on the same train going in the same direction. Life is one take, and this is a slice of life in real time.’

Boiling Point is the UK’s first true one shot feature film and Barnatini only knew that this was possible by making the 22 minute version back in 2019.  The success of the short at the time also starring Stephen Graham gave way to this expanded version.

The location and supporting cast changed from short to feature.  Ray Pantaki taking on the role of commis chef and Vinette Robinson as Carly, Andy (Stephen Graham’s) number 2.  Both are exceptional in their roles and it’s hard to believe that they’ve never worked in professional kitchens themselves.

The pressure of one shot/one take is palpable, I really felt the sweat beginning to form, and it mirrors the pressure Barnatini talks about in his life in the kitchen can also be felt by the audience on behalf of the actors who play them.  Which actor would want to mess up an hour into a 90 minute take.

Stephen Graham under pressure in boiling point pointing his finger

Boiling Point (2021) doesn’t disappoint.  The pressure that head Chef Andy is under builds as each minute passes and it can only end one way.  No spoilers!

I would encourage everyone to watch both the short and feature version to see the development of the script.  The updated feature location is open plan allowing for more ease of movement between kitchen and restaurant and feels like another character in the film.  The camera also takes on a character in the film, sweeping through the location like an ever watchful eye as the timer counts down to Andy’s fate.

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