Interview with Writer / Director Duane HopkinsCan you tell us about the setting of the film? Where does it take place? Why here? Does this have specific or particular relevance to what you are trying to express given England’s particular pre-occupation with geography to class/place?The setting is rural England. A very underused area cinematically, but it was absolutely my intention to make something universal, not specific to where it was filmed. However, I feel you need to be truthful to your location otherwise it will not resonate to other people who live in similar areas in other countries. I don’t have anything specific to say about class, at least not something concrete. I think that I was driven by a wish to create an honest interpretation of rural England. My rendering of this may not ring true for everyone, but it exists. I wouldn’t say I am political in a conscious way, but simply by whom I choose to cast, how I work with them and in the locations where I film, it becomes political, mainly because my methods are slightly different from the norm.
Better Things and your two short films Field and Love Me Or Leave Me Alone are set in Southern rural England. At what point are these films autobiographical?This is where I grew up. It’s where my first obsessions were created and so far I have stayed with stories that are in that context, but they are not strictly autobiographical, more biographical maybe. My experiences are starting points for the stories. It would feel wrong to just simply film something that I have seen or been through. I prefer to take my memories of experiences, or things that I have heard about, and use them as building blocks in the creation of new stories. Through these, I hope to create a new set of meanings, for myself as well as the film, to make something I find interesting and compelling. It is an exploration of an area and its inhabitants and my own personal stories would be too limited to cover that.