GFF blog: You Instead premiere creates perfect T in the Park vibe
Featured musician Jo Mango talked to us at the after-party
Sigma Films – the Glasgow-based company behind the likes of Red Road, Hallam Foe and Young Adam – celebrated its 15th birthday with the premiere of You Instead on Friday night. The film tells the tale of two bickering rockstars – played by Luke Treadaway and Natalia Tena – who get handcuffed together at T in the Park, and have to learn to put up with each other. Once the film gets rolling, though, the plot almost takes a back seat while the audience are immersed in the festival atmosphere – something director David Mackenzie faithfully captured by filming onsite at T 2010.
No expense – or rather, only the right expenses – were spared in recreating the T experience. The bus that I boarded to get to the premiere’s after-party appeared to be the very same scrappy-yet-reliable double decker model that trundles up the motorway to Balado every July. The guy sat next to me on the bus told me he even helped supply all-weather turf for the party, which greeted us as soon as we stepped inside Sigma’s offices in Govan. Upon entry, I managed to find myself some quasi-gourmet festival food (venison cheeseburger) and a can of Tennent’s (displayed a precarious pyramid shape in a tented stall) to complete the image.
The partygoers themselves also gave off a festival-y vibe: members of The View and Kassidy were swanning about about (both bands have cameos in the film), as were the film’s stars Treadaway and Tena, who later played their characters’ live sets to an an energetically appreciative audience. While the majority of the music in the film is genuine noise from the festival – and, by the by, it is extremely satisfying to see the actors genuinely shouting to communicate, as opposed to the phoney loud-speak you get in many films where the soundtrack is added in post-production – Mackenzie requested the presence of one particular artist for one of the film’s most memorable scenes. I managed to grab a few minutes with the Aberdonian singer-songwriter Jo Mango, once she had completed her own less bouncy, more cosy set at the party.
‘It was so exciting to see the film,’ she said, ‘especially after getting involved with it fairly early, then working with everybody during the filming. Seeing it all on the big screen – it was a very moving thing.’ Her musical performance in the film is extremely intimate: it takes place in a yurt, with about a dozen people sitting around her, including the two leads. ‘I wish that was typical of festivals! It suits my style better – quiet, small and cuddly. I’ve done one festival that was really amazing: they ran over time, and they weren’t allowed to have the sound on any more, so they asked me to stay in the middle of the tent, and people were all crowded round me. They weren’t allowed to clap, they just had to do this [she gingerly taps palm of hand with two fingers]. It made the most amazing sound. But generally at T in the Park, there’s lots of noise from other stages, so it doesn’t suit my musical style so well.’ The song – Mango’s own Black Sun – comes at a moment when the two leads start to develop a fondness for each other. ‘They used so much of my song, I don’t believe it!’ exclaims Mango. ‘I thought it was gonna be a short snippet or something, but no … It was lovely.’
What with Treadaway quickly absenting himself from the party thoroughfare to go off and perfect his rockstar swagger, and Tena reluctant to say anything on record (‘I’m far too hammered,’ she said), I eventually called it a night and headed for home. In an earlier interview, Mackenzie stated that he wanted ‘to make a film that will get people in the mood to go to a festival.’ In the taxi back, with the T in the Park line-up announcement still fresh in my head, I found that he'd succeeded. Roll on July!