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Sheffield Shorts 2020
Fiction // Drama
Interview with director & co-writer Dan Thorburn
Firstly, tell us about the film and what inspired you to make it?
Trucker’s Atlas explores emotions too often repressed in men. Especially in a male dominated, blue collar, working environment. The idea was born out of a conversation with myself and my co-writer Jack Sherratt. We discussed writing about real people and about real issues that we see every day and the one that stuck with us was how men talk about emotions, or don’t talk about them. We spoke about friendships and working relationships and human connections, and eventually literal connections, electrical and telephone. And from that came a vague plot of what is now Trucker’s Atlas.
Do you feel the issue of masculine ideals within society needs to be showcased more on screen?
After visiting most of the festivals the one piece of feedback that I hear time and time again is “I know a man like that, and I wish they’d seen this” and for me that confirms that this was the correct film to make. Emotional repression in males is something that will continue to be an issue until the outdated perception of masculinity is dealt with.
What made you decide to set the film within a rural landscape instead of say, an urban one?
The large and expansive location helped me to portray these two big, strong, working men as small, alone and vulnerable. Just as the power line cuts through the natural beauty of the forest, the mens lack of emotional communication cuts through them and cuts them off from the world. I think their characters could have easily have become lost in an urban world, leaving them without a voice.
I was also very interested in cultivating a transatlantic look to the film in hopes that this would further allow the film to be transposed to a North American audience. This is an aesthetic that I have always been drawn to, hence the denim overalls, mental tool boxes and large pine trees.
Finally, what are you working on next? Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?
Actors Neil Bell and Kris Hitchen as Mike and Rob.
Dan on set