Rory Alexander Stewart

The Scotland-based writer/director will have his film Wild Horses premiering in Cannes.

Rory was awarded the BAFTA New Talent Writer Award in 2013 for the short film Liar. He later made the shorts Good Girl, Misery Guts and In The Grass.

His newest short Wild Horses -- made as his NFTS graduation film -- has been selected for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival Cinefondation section.

What’s your connection to the British Council?
The British Council very kindly help with travel grants for the last festival I attended (Clermont-Ferrand) and the next (Cannes). Hopefully they will collaborate on helping me further!!! (Read more about our travel grants here.)

What are you working on right now?
I’m working on a few projects but mainly one about an incompetent murder detective.

What/who originally turned you onto film?
When I was around 10 or 11 I stole a copy of Metropolis and a copy Reservoir Dogs from my uncle and they both blew my tiny brain away. Later on, I joined a filmmaking club called SKAMM (Scottish Kids Are Making Movies), which was run by a very brilliant woman called Shona Wood who spoke to us like adults and drove us to make unique films even though we were bratty little teenagers.

What has been your career high so far?
Getting selected for Cannes!

What was your first job in the film industry?
Haha. I don’t know if I’ve ever had an official job in the film industry. I did a two week placement at Thin Man Films when I was 19 and never once met Mike Leigh.

What advice would you give to someone starting off in filmmaking?
Just do whatever you want to do ASAP, don’t wait for permission or (especially) validation.
What is your favourite British film?
The Bill Douglas Trilogy because it’s totally unique, personal cinema achieved through a complex visual grammar. Bill Douglas is this country's Robert Bresson and it’s shameful how rarely he gets mentioned as such.

If you could have directed/been involved with any film ever made, which one would it be?
I think great films are usually quite painful to make, so probably a not great film. Maybe one of those Adam Sandler films where he just riffs with his mates, those are probably fun to shoot. Or Punch Drunk Love which is the best Paul Thomas Anderson film and also the best Adam Sandler film.

What’s the first film you remember seeing?
I think my earliest cinema memory was seeing Contact with Jodie Foster and being incredibly bored, then very angry when (spoiler) the aliens were just her dead father!? I was raging, I wanted aliens!

What’s your favourite line or scene from a film? Why?
The opening titles of Raging Bull, I don’t know why exactly but it makes me tear up every time. It’s very pure.

Favourite screen kiss?
Videodrome when James Woods puts his head in the telly. I think we’ve all been there.

Who’s your favourite screen hero and/or villain?
Objectively the most terrifying on-screen villain of all time is Mr. Toilet Man from Look Who’s Talking Too. Look up the clip at your own peril.

Who would play you in the film about your life?
Who would even want to see that? My life is pretty dull stuff, maybe cast Elisabeth Moss to shake it up a bit? You’d get some buzz with the stunt casting and sell a few extra tickets. She would probably make it work as well.
View the Wild Horses trailer at the Cannes website.