JULY 10 - JULY 13, 2024

Interview | Tristan v Christann

Movie: Tristan v Christann
Director: Mark Forbes


Hello Mark! Welcome to SIFF!
1.Tell us how you came up with the idea of this documentary?

During the pandemic freelance artists were not supported by the UK government and  I wanted to make a film showing the struggle of being an artist in a city like London.


2.How did you meet Tristan?

I met Tristan at an artist’s studio event in London.


3.What attracted you the most towards Tristan?

He is a mixture of contradictions.  He is a very open person, yet quite provocative.

It’s so unusual to meet someone so committed to not compromising their artistic integrity.

4.Mark, would you share how your filmmaking journey began? 

It began when I collaborated with my late stepfather, Norman, as a bonding experience.


5.If you are asked to describe Tristan using five words, what would they be?

Talented, provocative,humorous, experimental, temperamental.


6.We get a close glimpse of Tristan’s life and ideology in the film. Would you share how you two worked on the documentary? What was your primary approach?

Firstly, I was surprised he agreed. He was very generous with his time and friendship.


7.As a filmmaker, what is your vision?

I want to tell stories about real people. Sometimes, I feel like when I meet someone who is special that I want the world to meet them.

8.You are doing a tremendous job as an independent filmmaker. I am sure there have been many obstacles, how do you face them?

I never gave up.  I shot 5 films during the pandemic, including 2 features. I gave up once for seven years early on in my filmmaking career when I made my first 2 short films and it was such a huge regret. So you must never give up. It’s been freezing cold outside while filming Tristan at minus 4 in a park in London and I have had no crew, no funding. I’ve also been turned down by 4 funding organizations in a row in the UK this year: The BFI, Film London, Netflix and Screen Scotland and they asked for my feedback from which I said that I’m still going to make my films, with or without your help. I’ve self-funded and made 4 out of 5 films made entirely by myself that have been well received getting into 76 film festivals, winning 15 awards.  It’s frustrating when I know that this is meant to be a collaborative industry. When an Exec Producer from BBC Studios Scotland says that they were astonished by the quality of my films. There has to be something positive there that I have to say as a filmmaker. That’s my belief.


9.As an independent filmmaker, what issues have you faced in your career?

The games and the politics of the film and TV industry in the UK are unnecessary hurdles for independent filmmakers.


10.In the film, we find Tristan dealing with societal pressure and finding his way through to survive in this brutal world. How would you assess this situation from the point of view of an artist?

If you are an independent artist it’s an almost impossible task as the UK government for many years and the death of British Cinema has not supported artists/filmmakers unless you are of course rich and well connected.

11.Mark, what suggestions would you love to give the new directors who want to step into this world of filmmaking?

Start filming as soon as possible. The technology is there to support you now. Just create something with your friends or by yourself. Always juggle multiple projects. If a door gets slammed in your face, which it will many times by the way, you must have something else positive to go to.


12.Mark, would you share what you are working on next?

I’m working on my 3rd feature. A documentary that actually talks about the difficulties of artists trying to break into the arts.


Thank you for your time, Mark!
Lastly, would you share how your experience of working with The SIFF has been?

SIFF has been amazingly supportive of my filmmaking as you have selected 5 of my film projects which are currently in film festivals.  So I am eternally grateful to the SIFF Team.  I’ve been so impressed by the caliber of the films and how professional you support the filmmakers is astonishing compared to most film festivals in the UK who need to learn a thing or two about filmmaker etiquette.


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