Jamie Adams is a writer and director whose artistically distinctive films have seen him gain great popularity in the realm of obscure British comedy. The production company Jolene Films has produced a trilogy of low-budget and largely improvised comedy films in recent years, featuring the likes of Alice Lowe, Craig Roberts and Dolly Wells. Adams also recently directed the BBC pilot A Brief History of Tim, which has been picked up for series.
To learn more about Jamie’s work, I asked him a few questions…
How did Jolene Films come into being?
Jolene Films is a company Jon Rennie, the exec Producer on the Modern Romance Trilogy created to produce Benny & Jolene, A Wonderful Christmas Time and Black Mountain Poets. Basically I had recognised that you could make a movie for £12,500 if you put your mind to it, and called in a lot of favours. I convinced a bunch of incredibly talented actors to join me on the journey and then the funding fell through. I was working on a feature film in Wales at the time called “The Machine” and the VFX supervisor on that was Jon Rennie and he sat opposite me at lunch and asked why I was so down and I told him the story of what happened with the film and how I had the cast and the plan but not the funding… He told me there and then, don’t get too excited but I have that kind of money right now, and I want to make a movie… The rest is history as they say.
How important is it for you to have free reign within your creative projects?
I don’t actively seek ‘free reign’, I think that as a by-product of the way I make films I’m afforded a lot of creative freedom because I don’t ask for huge budgets, I’m working within a set of pre-determined resources and limitations and in that sense the feeling is one of trying to feel “free” within the boundaries that exist for a no budget movie. I think that of course, working in this way means that as a team we have a lot more opportunity to express ourselves and that’s one of the key elements that set our films apart from the mass market. We are making personal films that have performance and originality at their heart. Personally however I’m not making films this way to have “free reign”, I’m making them this way because it’s the method that I’ve been developing for over fifteen Years now. It feels like the most sincere process of storytelling for me.
What is the best compliment you or your work has ever received?
The greatest compliment is when my wife Zoe watches the films and she laughs and smiles and sits through the whole movie and turns to me at the end and says “yeah it’s good” – she’s a tough audience so when that happens it means a lot.
What is your next project going to be?
I’m working on a few things that I can’t talk about, there’s been the BBC TV Comedy A Brief History of Tim which has been picked up for a series which I hope I’ll be a part of and there’s a movie being developed with the BFI and legendary Producer Margaret Matheson which I’m really excited about. You have to keep developing ideas and choosing the right route to the screen for each of them.
What do you hope to achieve with your films?
I hope that they’ll encourage the new generation of British film makers to get some friends together and make feature films. Everyone should make a feature film, just as everyone should write a book. What an amazing selection of films that would be, and what a narrative that would establish for what it means to be British today. I also hope that audiences have fun watching my films, that they smile and laugh and leave the cinema feeling good about life.