T in the Park movie You Instead makes its mark at SXSW

They say that it takes years of preparation for an overnight success, but You Instead, which took less than eight weeks to make, has done just that at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival. After delighting the Berlin and Glasgow Film Festivals with a fast, chaotic, razor-sharp rom-com set at T in the Park, it looks like America is falling in love with David Mackenzie's film.

After the North American première here in Austin, Texas, the interest from the industry is incredibly high, putting the film at the top of the “must see” list of many attendees. You Instead is fast paced, uplifting, and one of the few films that really captures the feeling of a huge outdoor musical festival. But what really makes it stand out is fact that it was filmed in just four-and-a-half days at Balado, with 85,000 extras crowding every shot. It lends this narrative film an air of a documentary, bristling with energy and danger from the cast and crew working against the clock of the schedule of T in the Park.

“Our director, David Mackenzie was bold, intuitive and instinctive throughout,” lead actor Luke Treadaway told me. “He was always filming in the chaos of the festival, using whatever camera worked, be it a camcorder, full size movie camera, or a small Canon 5D SLR that also records video.”

That pace was also  present in the schedule and preparation of the film. “After it was greenlit, four weeks later we were rehearsing, and three weeks after that was the first scene, in the back of a van, on the way to  'T',” Treadaway lays out. “And after thirty minutes I threw away my safety net of the call sheet and script and trusted David.”

The crowds at T in the Park unknowingly joined in the fun. After one scene where Treadaway is on the main stage, handcuffed to Natalia Tena, asking the crowd if anyone had some bolt cutters, the recognition factor shot up. “We're filming a scene, and this girl runs up and shouts 'I know you, you're Adam!” Treadaway stayed in character for this moment, and many more that required the cast and crew to heavily improvise.

Would he do a film like this again?

“It did take me away from my normal working mode and island of comfort. There was no time to work on a scene, to try and find a different way of doing it. It felt more like playing make believe as a kid where you just ran through the story.”

The audiences are loving all this adventure and spirit that has  made it onto the screen, and I wonder what Treadaway thinks will happen next. “I hope it makes people want to go to music festivals” he joyfully replies. “And I want the film to do well. I want it to get a distribution deal in the US and become a success, because that's what it deserves.”


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