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South By Southwest 2014 Interview – MAY THE BEST MAN WIN director Andrew O'Connor

by Jason Whyte

“Whit and Drew, film raunchy pranks and stick them online. To try and attract more views they recruit a girl, Rosa, to appear in their videos. They BOTH fall for her and begin a series of insanely embarrassing and outrageous head to head challenges to try and impress her.” Director Andrew O'Connor on MAY THE BEST MAN WIN which screens at the 2014 South By Southwest Film Festival.

Is this your first SxSW/Austin experience and are you going to attend your screenings?

Yes and yes!

Tell me a bit about your background and how you became a filmmaker. Also what have you worked on in the past?

I was a performer, mainly comedy on TV and theater in the U.K. until my early 30s, and then I moved into production as a writer, producer and director in TV and theatre. I directed my first feature film “Magicians” in 1997. After that, I was caught up in TV again until 2010 when I moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on feature films full time. The TV shows I have made in the U.K. that people in the U.S. may have heard of include “Balls of Steel”, the “Derren Brown” TV shows and specials, and the comedy series “Peep Show”.

How did this whole project come together from your perspective?

This was an idea I had of combining a fully formed narrative story with hidden camera pranks and constructed reality where we would blur what is real and what isn’t. I approached Lee Hupfield and Matthew Robinson to develop it with me, and the three of us wrote and produced it.

What was the biggest challenge, or challenges, in making the film?

Firstly, finding an unknown cast who could act as well as be brave enough to do the hidden camera pranks and be fearless enough to take on the ‘punishments’ in the storyline. We also had to calm down angry or upset members of the public after they had been pranked. Finally, we had to make sure the whole production team kept certain elements of the storyline from the cast, because I wanted to capture their real, first-time reactions to key plot points in the film.

If you had to pick a single favourite moment out of the entire production, what would it be?

The first time I watched an audience of 300 people react to the “who can get the furthest sexually with their own mother” scene would have to be my favorite.

What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you? How much coffee?

It’s a privilege to get to make a movie and through all the stresses, disasters and lack of sleep you have to keep reminding yourself of that. You may never get to do it again.

I would love to know about the technical side of the film, your relationship to the director of photography, what the movie was shot on and why it was decided to be filmed this way.

We shot the documentary and narrative parts of the movie mainly on the Red, but we also used many other cameras for the hidden camera parts, including lots of Go Pros. My D.P. was the brilliant Greg Ephraim, and he was very understanding and supportive even though I kept telling him, “It looks too good, it has to look more home made.”

What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie at SxSW?

With this sort of comedy movie, the audience is key. I am looking forward to the audience telling me which parts of the movie are the funniest.

After the film screens at South By Southwest, where is the film going to show next? Anywhere you would like it to screen?

We very much hope it will be shown on as many screens as possible...big, medium sized and small!
Alamo Drafthouse and Paramount theaters in Austin aside, if you could show this movie in any cinema in the world, which one would you choose and why?

The Odeon Theater in Walsall, England, which was the small town where I grew up.
What would you say or do to someone who is talking or texting during a screening of your film?

Use your camera phone to film the audiences’ reaction to the movie and then post it online, please.
There are a lot of up and coming filmmakers both at SxSW and reading our site. What would you want to tell them if they are aspiring to become a filmmaker?

1) Work hard
2) Be nice
3) Work hard
4) Repeat the above
Repeat as necessary
And finally, what is the single, greatest movie that you have seen at a film festival?

I am super embarrassed to say that I have never been to a film festival before. But, if I had to pick the simple greatest comedy movie I have seen, that would have to be the Dudley Moore version of Arthur.

This is one of the many films screening at the 2014 SXSW in Austin, Texas between March 7-15. For more information on the film’s screening, point your browser to

Jason Whyte,
Twitter: @jasonwhyte / Facebook: jasonwhyte / Instagram: jasonrcwhyte

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originally posted: 03/08/14 20:48:25
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