Wow. This 43 year old man was transported back to 1982 when I was just turning 13, had my collection of Star Wars figures and finding first love. Filmmaker Andy Dodd has captured that moment beautifully in It's a Love Thing. Even the music conveys such a sense of longing that you can't help but be swept up in the lives of these two young souls. This indie film is already winning festival awards for its sheer magical way in which it tells a story honestly, awkwardly and without excuse. Never falling into the world of immature or unreal, Dodd has mastered as screenwriter and director that feeling we all can remember so vividly. His storytelling is adept with tenderness, vulnerability and a longing to go back one more time to that moment in each of our lives.
It's a Love Thing tells the story of young Andrew (Peter Overal) and his budding relationship with the new girl in school, Jessica (Hollie Thoupos). The two bond on Star Wars, Atari, and all things early 80s.
After watching the film, I knew I wanted to talk to the filmmaker about the film and was pleased he took the time to answer some questions from his UK home as he prepares to take the film to Cannes.
Gregory G. Allen: Andy, I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions. I have to ask, were you recapturing a certain past by going back to 1982 with this film?
Andy Dodd: Yes - there are certainly elements taken from my childhood and it was such a wonderful, more simple time. I remember how magical it was - watching Star Wars and Empire for the first time and I also remember, vividly, the invasion of the Falklands and one of my friends' fathers being a serviceman.
Allen: Where did the idea of young love come from as the story you wanted to share?
Dodd: It was about finding that 'nerd' love - myself, as a young boy in the early eighties - the girls liked fame and 'big hair' - I wanted to find the girl who liked Star Wars. Alas I never did - but I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if THAT girl did come along.
Allen: That's great! That feeling of not wanting to leave the other person is so well conveyed as young love blossoms. Did you know you were such a romantic at heart?
Dodd: No - ha ha. But I remember that feeling - 'that knot' in your stomach that you could feel so physically as a teenager, that alas, is not so prevalent as you get older! But I remember the feeling and wanted to portray it. I wouldn't even take the trash out when I was young, but if a girl showed interest, I used to walk miles just to see her. No texts, not everyone had a phone. That feeling of longing and needing - that feeling of willing to do anything.
Allen: They say not to work with children or animals. The two leads you had in this film were absolutely wonderful to watch. How was it directing these young people?
Dodd: They were great - I did see a lot of children for the parts, but these guys stood out. Hollie were her savvy, nervous energy and Peter with his quite assurance. There were not many times when I had to 'moan' too much - except for telling Peter not to look at the camera. They knew the lines - were very good at 'improv'.
Allen: When did you decide you wanted to share stories via film?
Dodd: From the age of around 15 - before that my world had been 'lit up' by the home video player. Engrossing. Encapsulating. This new world of storytelling where you could visit the local store and rent a movie. I saw 'dawn of the dead' and from that moment on - I just wanted to tell stories via film. It's one of those things that, when you fully enjoy what you're doing, you never get bored and once you have completed something, you want to do more.
Allen: What is next for Andy Dodd?
Dodd: Well - I will be screening the film in various venues, visiting festivals and most importantly - I will be filming my feature romance this July!
You can follow Andy on twitter to find out about all of his projects.