Hamish Downie’s Five Questions With Hudson Phillips

Editor Note: Hamish has another in his series of Five Questions With…

Hamish came up with this idea because he was accumulating too much material for his Famous News Sushi column and asked if he could do these mini-interviews. Why would we say no?

Thank you Hamish for being such a trooper for us. We really appreciate all for your hard work.

Let us know what you think of these interviews in the comments below.

TGG: Thanks for returning for another round of 5 Questions…For those people who didn’t read the first interview, could you tell us about
yourself and your debut film, “This World Alone”?

HP: Yeah, I’m Hudson. I’ve been writing screenplays for 15+ years, a number that is getting so large now that I try to cough when saying
it. After a smidge of success followed by even larger failures on the Hollywood side, I shifted my attention to the indie film world in the
early 2010s, making short films in the Atlanta film scene. In 2017, we shot our first feature film, This World Alone, on a $50k budget over
10 days straight with the cast and crew all living together under one (very crowded) roof. It’s a post-apocalyptic drama / thriller about a
young woman growing up with her two mother figures in the middle of nowhere without technology or power. After an accident, she’s forced into the outside world for the first time to seek medicine and goes on this nature vs. nurture journey where things may or may not go very wrong. The director, Jordan Noel, and I saw it very much as an exploration of us as parents, of how to prepare your kids for the outside world, if you raise them with trust and love and goodness, or with a dog eat dog, only the strong survive attitude. The film did well on the festival circuit in 2018/2019 and we’ve partnered with 1091 Pictures to (finally!) release the film digitally on May 18.

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TGG: What was the process like writing for first feature? Was it difficult coming off the success of your short films?

HP: I’m not sure I’d call our short films a “success.” Our most “successful” short was picked up for distribution on three different platforms and we made back about $150 gross, not profit. Even creatively, we played some fun festivals (like Comic-Con) and made lots of friends, but you know, we weren’t at Sundance or even SXSW or anything. But those shorts were film school for us. We learned a lot about the kind of movies we want to make – both on screen and behind the scenes. By the time we made This World Alone I had written more features than I had shorts, but the biggest difference was the beginning-to-end process from fundraising to filming to post-production to festivals to distribution to marketing. Even though we are a micro-budget film, it’s still a massive undertaking. Each step was just as much work and just as much of an education as the previous. It’s equal parts exhausting and rewarding.

TGG: What are some of the post-apocalyptic films that have inspired you?

HP: It’s funny, when we first started having conversations about This World Alone, it was more about what films we DIDN’T want to be influenced by. We didn’t wanna do the grey/ashy thing of the Road. We wanted to do something green and vibrant and full of nature. I recently found a list of movies I wrote when we were first starting out that I wanted to be influenced by in one way or another (note: our director, Jordan would give you a vastly different list – part of why we work so well together): 20th Century Women, Hanna, Captain Fantastic, Mosquito Coast, How I Live Now, The Heiress, Great Expectations, Swiss Army Man, Tree of Life, Winter’s Bone.

TGG: Cinema vs Streaming seems to have become a hot topic these past few years, what’s your take on this fight?

HP: I looooooove going to the movies. I love giant tentpole summer movies with a crowd. I love tiny indie films at a film festival followed by an (usually) awkward Q&A. There’s nothing that replaces those experiences. In fact, our initial release plan involved a bunch of in-person, self-booked screenings at arthouse theaters and colleges across the U.S. before the pandemic shut those plans down. But at the end of the day, the movie business is as much “business” as it is “movie.” If a movie studio gives you $100M to make a movie and they release it directly on a streaming service, you really don’t have much room to complain because THEY GAVE YOU $100M!! I think if you’re small and scrappy like we are, you actually have MORE options. We were able to retain our “theatrical” rights in case we want to do some in-person screenings in the future (and we do).

TGG: Which leads us to… where can we pre-order/watch your film, and, how where can we follow and support you on social media?

HP: “This World Alone” is available to rent or purchase anywhere you rent or purchase movies starting May 18. Pre-order is available on iTunes and Amazon before then. You can find a list of all platforms (and learn more and watch trailers and stuff) at ThisWorldAlone.com

This World Alone – Official
from The
Brothers Ray
on Vimeo.

I’m @hudsonphillips and @scriptblast on stuff. One is more screenwrite-y advice and encouragement and the other is like books I’m into or pictures of my dogs, so it’s like Choose Your Own Adventure for how personal you wanna get.

TGG: Thanks again!

HP: Thanks so much for doing this! So super cool of you.

TGG: To learn about “After the Fall”, the tie-in collection of short stories, please check out our first interview with Hudson here:

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