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TIFF Futures: ‘Wasteland’ Director Rowan Athale On Why His Film is a British ‘Ocean’s Eleven’

TIFF Futures: 'Wasteland' Director Rowan Athale On Why His Film is a British 'Ocean's Eleven'

Whether it was the family-oriented films that his mother had pre-approved or the action flicks that his father snuck into the VCR, Rowan Athale loved the cinema. As the years passed and he grew and matured, so did his relationship with film. Gone were the days when he would simply watch commercials, seated on a couch at his home in England; Athale was too busy writing and directing them. 

It wasn’t long before Athale had directed his first short, “A Good Life” — followed two years later by his first feature film, “Wasteland”, though the road wasn’t always easy. As a first time director in a difficult financial climate, Athale’s ambition and perseverance as a filmmaker was tested — and his film’s debut at TIFF 2012 is a testament to his hard work and determination.

Compare “Wasteland” to a Clooney film: “‘Ocean’s Eleven’ on a council estate in Northern England.”

Discuss the plot of your film sans Clooney: “It’s a story of brotherhood, camaraderie and the ties that bind four lifelong best friends as they set out on a journey to help one find redemption.”

What inspired you to make this movie? “I wanted to make a film set in a social realist world that didn’t follow the non-narrative form typical of that type of film. I wanted to show the real characters familiar to these films and allow them to have fun in a genre narrative.”
Were any specific films inspirational to you while making the movie? “‘Rocky,’ ‘Rififi,’ ’28 Days Later’ and ‘Kes’ all had an impact on ‘Wasteland.'”

Future projects: “I’m in the early stages of development on two original features.”

Indiewire invited select newcomers to the Toronto International Film Festival to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faces, and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses throughout TIFF. Go HERE to read other profiles.

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