I was raised in a modest bungalow located within a large residential area on the outskirts of Blackburn. My mother was an educator and my father worked as a draftsman at a television set factory. My upbringing was unremarkable in every way.
Blackburn’s Unit Four cinema was a scruffy place. In my teens, I went to its fortnightly foreign-language film screenings religiously. I was always desperate to escape, and tThese films briefly transported me all over the world.
While learning to swim as a child, my mother noticed that I was submerged at the bottom of the pool. A teacher rescued me from the water, although I have no recollection of the incident. Since then, my mother has been fixated on me avoiding deep water. As a result, I still do not feel at ease swimming in the ocean.
My family often criticizes my constant pacing, which is a bad habit of mine. I have a tendency to walk around the house, running my fingers through my hair and muttering to myself.
At the age of 17, I dropped out of school and went on my first trip abroad to work on a grape farm in southern France. One evening, I accompanied a German co-worker to a concert, who also happened to ride a large motorcycle. On our way back, I became aware that he was heavily intoxicated and driving at 100mph. I held on tightly for my life and have not ridden a motorcycle since.
Steve Coogan effortlessly excels at directing. Our collaborations have been plentiful, and he consistently injects humor and intrigue into his work. Simply placing a camera on him is enough to capture his brilliance. The most enjoyable experience I’ve had was during our work on 24 Hour Party People.
Attending Oxford University to study English was a regrettable decision. While I enjoyed reading, I lacked the dedication required for the rigorous coursework. However, during my studies, I stumbled upon a cinema workshop in the city and realized my true passion.
I experience a specific form of vertigo. I am comfortable when someone else is in charge, such as on a plane. However, when I am in control, even small ladders make me feel uneasy.
My suggestion to young filmmakers is to create a longer film rather than a short one. Get out there and film something on your own, instead of multiple 10-minute pieces. The best way to improve is through practice.
In general, I am cautious and avoid taking risks. This is likely due to my mother being very protective of me during my childhood. I also showed the same level of caution when my children were playing at the playground. This cautious behavior has been ingrained in me and it is now too late for me to change.
If the opportunity to eat arises, it’s best to take it. You never know when the next meal will be available in my line of work.
Some individuals claim I am temperamental. I do tend to raise my voice often. It is not due to being angry, but rather a method of seeking attention.
Extreme political views drive individuals to extreme actions, causing a widening gap between opposing groups. In my latest film, Shoshana, I delve into this phenomenon in Palestine during the time of British colonialism, yet it remains relevant in the present day in this region and globally. Over the last decade, these divisions have only grown deeper.
When I first began in the film industry, it was difficult to break into and it remains so today. It used to be a closed shop run by unions, where your success depended on who you knew. While that can still be beneficial, the most effective way to begin now is by taking initiative and creating your own projects, or by working for little to no pay. However, both options still require significant financial resources.
I am not at all surprising as a male individual. I believe that everything about me is quite evident and uncomplicated.
The Q&A with Shoshana and Michael Winterbottom will be featured in the UK Jewish Film Festival 2023, happening at various London cinemas from 9-19 November. The festival will also have a national tour from 9-30 November, and a few films will be available for online viewing from 20-27 November.