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Interview – Tomas Gold – ‘The Enigma Duel’ – A Short Film


Posted December 13, 2016 by

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Interview – Tomas Gold
In a dystopian society, cruelty takes an unusual form….

Director | Writer | Producer | Editor: Tomas Gold
Cast: Grace McDonough – womam | Tom Holden – man | Connor Young – judge
Director Of Photography: Owain Wilshaw
Assistant Camera: Tom Wilshaw
Gaffer: Mark Leeming
Sound Recordist | Sound Editor: Thomas Johnstone



1) To start with, let’s talk about your film ‘The Enigma Duel”, what is it about?

The Enigma Duel is a dark comedy set in a dystopian society. The only other thing I can say without revealing too much is that the characters are pitted against each other in an unusual test of character.

2) Where did the idea come from? What where the key influences?

The influence for the film came from a mixture of places. The main influence was the act of duel itself, and I found the concept of it to be quite interesting, having seen it appear in a variety of films ranging from the historically dramatic, such as Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon (1975), the unusual: Yorgos Lanthimos’ short film Necktie(2013), to the comical cowboy showdown: Gerald Thomas’ Carry on Cowboy (1965). It’s even been featured on The Simpsons (“E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt)” – S.11 ep.5). I found it fascinating how a few hundred years ago duelling was common practice, the purpose usually being used as a way of ‘defending one’s honour’ or to ‘settle a score’ in a sort of “gentlemanly” manner. There would even usually be agreed rules. It’s really bizarre to me, obviously living in a very different society, that it was something that people actually used to do. So I began to think: “What if duelling took place in the future? “What if they didn’t have any weapons? What if it wasn’t to defend honour or to settle a score? What if being the winner meant that you didn’t actually win?” And that’s when I had the idea to create this story, where in some distant dystopian society, the act of a duel, not using guns, swords, or any weaponry, that people were forced to participate in, and that there were in fact no winners. The winner would still lose, but wouldn’t lose their life. I’m afraid I can’t say more, as that would spoil the film!

3) Lets discuss the cast, who is staring in your film? Have you worked with them before?

Starring in the film is Grace McDonough as the Woman, Tom Holden as the Man and Connor Young as the Judge. When I discussed the idea and the structure of the film with all of them, I imagine they all found it rather strange, but they’re actors and my friends. I know them all personally and I think they trusted me enough to know exactly what I was doing and with their help they definitely helped me achieve the film I wanted to make.

Like I said, they’re all my friends, but I hadn’t worked with any of them before and I was excited that I finally could. I’m always wanting to get people I know involved, whether they be actors or not. I was very happy to have worked with the DP Owain Wilshaw, his brother Tom (Assistant Camera), Mark Leeming (Gaffer) and Thomas Johnston (sound recordist/sound editor), all of whom did a brilliant job in helping me mold and shape the film visually.

4) How can we watch ‘The Enigma Duel”?

There is a teaser trailer for the film on my website. It is currently being submitted to various film festivals, with a view to make its premiere sometime in 2017, so unfortunately until then the film itself will not be available to the public. I hope it can be made available for viewing as soon as possible

5) What are your influences as a Director? Do you have a filmmaking idol?

I am a lover of independent and foreign cinema and I am inspired by numerous things around me in my every day life. People, social issues and world events, any number of things influence how I make my films. And with that I’m influenced by a diverse range of filmmakers, so I can’t pick one just one.

Like I said, there are a range of filmmakers who inspire me, such as Abedellatif Kechiche, Alma Har’el, Stanley Kubrick, Jim Jarmsuch, Yorgos Lanthimos and Terrence Malick, to name a few. Malick in particular is someone I greatly admire and revere as a filmmaker. BadlandsThe Thin Red Line and The Tree of Life, are three of my favourite films. I greatly admire all their work, which serve as constant inspiration for my filmmaking ventures.

6) What advice would you give to any aspiring filmmaker? 

Partner up with a good Director of Photography, because their skill and insight is invaluable when it comes to perfecting any film. Having said that, everyone who works on a film is an invaluable part of the production and you should try your best to be open, honest and collaborative. Also, take your time. There’s no need to rush. Make sure you make the film that you want to make and one that meets your own expectations first.

7) What is the next step for you? Do you have any other films in production?

Like I said, The Enigma Duel is currently being submitted to film festivals around the world, so I will be heavily involved in its film festival run for the next however many months. I have a music video project to begin working on very soon and another short film project in the works, which I have written the script for but will not be directing. I do hope to begin working on my next directing endeavor sometime in 2017, I do have a few ideas rolling about in my head, but I don’t want to rush into something new so soon.


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