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MAY 2020: THE GOOD BOOK

Written by James Phillips

Directed by Brett Chapman Produced by Slung Low and Joanna Resnick


We love a good Yorkshire production here at JumpCut HQ, so when we heard local filmmaker Brett Chapman was bringing together a large-scale, dystopian thriller just up the M1 in nearby Leeds, we were immediately intrigued. Brett is a passionate and prolific director from our hometown of Sheffield, who I’ve been connecting with more and more regularly over the last year or so, and in that time his work has been impressive not due to its only high-quality, but what also the diversity of his filmography – ranging from super short comedies to documentaries, and now this epic, thirty-minute effort.


An enthralling look at a not-too-distant future, ‘The Good Book’ depicts a bleak society where rival dictators and factions battle for power and control, every move, every word and every connection is monitored, and being on the wrong side of the war can lead to devastating consequences. Think, George Orwell meets Black Mirror and you’re on the right lines. Watch the film here, and then check out a snippet of our interview below.


JB: This production has a real community feel to it, having been made with the help of Slung Low and Leeds People's Theatre. How did this collaboration come to fruition?

BC: Slung Low initially approached me with the project, which was written by their frequent collaborator James Phillips. I’ve done some work with Slung Low in the past, including making a documentary about them taking over the oldest working men’s club in the country (which features as one of our primary location in The Good Book) so we already knew each other’s style. Slung Low have a long history of putting on large scale site-specific theatre shows that draw on the local community to be part of the cast, so this was really their doing. The Leeds folk who came on board for the film were amazing and because of the nature of the project it was just as important to us that they enjoyed the process of making it, as it was to produce a good film. Their involvement defined the whole spirit of the production and above all else I hope that they are all proud of the piece of work we made together.


JB: Juggling themes of society, politics, morality and freedom in 30 minutes is no mean feat. What do you hope for audiences to take away from this film and this story?

BC: I don’t really want to over explain what we hope people will feel after watching our film. I hope that there’s several ways to view the film and that we’ve left enough space for the audience to make up their own minds about exactly what it is the film says to them as an individual. I hope that doesn’t sound too high-minded but I’m really passionate about the idea that you can’t force a load of stuff you want the film to be about onto the piece you’ve made. All we can do now is put it out to an audience and let them find their own way with it. If people watch the film and feel anything at all – good or bad – that’ll do for me. My favourite films are the ones that let you do all the work for yourself without having to prime every moment – I hope we’ve been able to do something akin to that here.


To learn more about this project, check out a more extensive feature covered by JumpCut Online here. You can find Brett Chapman on Twitter @brettinthecity or discover more of his work on his website.

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