Chris Martin is the producer representing the UK in EFP’s Producers on the Move at Cannes 2017.
Chris Martin produced independent drama Peacefire before launching his Belfast-based production outfit Indie Movie Company in 2009. Since then, he has produced Good Vibrations, A City Dreaming and I Am Belfast.
What’s your connection to the British Council?
We have used The British Council's service to have selector preview screenings for various festivals (more info here about our screenings programme), and they have also arranged for us screenings at British film festivals around the world. And now Producers On The Move.
What are you working on right now?
Dream Builders is the featured project for me with Producers On The Move at Cannes. The story of The DeLorean DMC-12 car (made famous in Back to the Future), John DeLorean and the factory and workers in Belfast that built it. We have a buddy road comedy On The One Road starring Russell Peters. It's like Planes, Trains and Automobiles set in Ireland from North to South. Plus we have an animated feature, Finn In The Forest, with development support from the BFI Film Fund and financing soon.
What/who originally turned you onto film?
My very first visit to the cinema as a child was to see The Empire Strikes Back. The whole experience and spectacle of an art deco cinema with stalls and circle and velvet curtains and cigarette girls and then the blackness and title scroll and the music. I was hooked.
What has been your career high so far?
It was a great honour – twice -- having the opening night film at our very own Belfast Film Festival. But I would have to say its between having Good Vibrations as the opening night film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and accompanying the writers to the BAFTAs for their writing nomination on Good Vibrations.
What was your first job in the film industry?
Runner on a short film
Advice you’d give to someone starting off in film making?
Try out a lot of jobs within the industry to really find your calling and niche, but there comes a point when you must firmly nail your colours to the mast and commit to your chosen role. Dedicate yourself and learn the craft of your chosen discipline. So If you decide on being a 1st AD and someone comes along and says, ‘Hey the art department are looking for a runner’….your response should be, ‘I’m a 1st AD!’
What is your favourite British film?
That’s a tough one. You could look at favourite films for different eras or genres, that would be easier, but pushed, I would say The Third Man. So many outstanding things: Robert Krasker’s cinematography; the noir, the lighting and reflections; Carol Reed’s direction; and the way Welles’ character is revealed half way through the movie -- just brilliant as we have spent time imagining him; of course the soundtrack by Anton Karas. Never forget that theme tune.
If you could have been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
Either Titanic or Paranormal Activity as I think they are some of the highest net profit movies ever made. Then I wouldn't need to worry about my retirement!
What’s your favourite line or scene from a film?
"Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes, well, the bar eats you." (The Big Lebowski)
Why? Because its true for my drink tolerance!
Favourite screen kiss?
Don’t like them at all. It’s either pure theatre and over-the-top dramatic or ridiculously passionate and biting of lips.
For the former reason, I would have to say Clark Gable and Vivienne Leigh in Gone With The Wind.
Who’s your favourite screen hero or villain?
Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. And this is why: "Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There's no escape. I'm God's lonely man."
Who would play you in the film about your life?
Danny DeVito as he's the only one tall enough!