Cambridge Shorts: Dinner Out

Image credit: Rebecca Guthrie

In the week leading up to Cambridge Shorts, I interviewed Becky Guthrie to find out a little bit about the experience of creating her new film Dinner Out, and why we should be excited to see it premiere this Saturday!

How did the idea start?

The idea started after a long night of watching before and after videos made by Korean cosmetic surgeons.

Are there any directors that inspire you/who you were hoping to emulate?

I love any films that involve elements of camp design. They’re more fun. During this short I was really into What A Way to Go! (which is an absolute banger and doesn’t get the love it deserves imo), and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. In regards to script and characterisation, things by Billy Wilder and (weirdly enough) the Molesworth books by Geoffrey Willans were helpful.

The film is incredibly visually striking – how important is it to you that your films are beautiful? And who prepare the stylised shots of the food (they’re amazing!)

Kate Emden did the food, and we planned how it was going to look together. I had a very clear vision for the intertitles – they’re based on the photography in a cookbook called The Romance of Food, by romance novelist Barbara Cartland. I wanted the food to look kind of gross but also incredibly stylised. One nice touch Kate did was liquidised versions of the main meals for Binky -watch out for them. The virtue of a film looking quite nice is that it distracts from the plotting/writing.

Your film is very atmospheric. How did you achieve this? Were there any unexpected difficulties?

My friend Stephen Allwright sat in the corner of the room and smoked cigarettes, which gave the film a nice hazy quality. The unexpected difficulty was me editing it myself. Also I realised 3 days after we finished shooting that we had forgotten about table mats.

What do you want your audience to take from your film? And where do you want to take it next?

That while older people have lots of wisdom to impart and should be respected, they aren’t always out for your best interests. Also that women are fab – the crew was entirely made up of self-identifying women, and it was a dream. In terms of where it should be taken next, I had ideas for an Angela and Perce centric prequel where they kill a man, but I doubt it will be made because I don’t know if I could fit the use of a yacht and a Mediterranean island into a student budget. 


Dinner Out will be shown at the ADC Theatre on Saturday 20 May, as part of Cambridge Shorts.

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