Interview with Jak Hutchcraft

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Here you can read something more about “Fatboy Slim: Right Here, Right Now,” such a cool documentary screened at SEEYOUSOUND 2024

Many good films and a meeting, at the 10th edition of the Turin festival SEEYOUSOUND. The meeting, which took place outside the Cinema Massimo, was with the British filmmaker Jak Hutchcraft, author of one of the documentaries most appreciated by us and the public: Fatboy Slim: Right Here, Right Now.
Stopping for a moment to talk to him about Brighton, the now legendary Big Beach Boutique 2 and of course Norman Cook a.k.a Fatboy Slim was extremely pleasant. And from this first live contact the interview then developed, which we are preparing to share with you!

Something more upon Fatboy Slim and Brighton

First, Jak, tell us when the project to dedicate a documentary to Fatboy Slim was born. Is this an artist you’ve followed for a long time?

The Big Beach Boutique 2 is a famous, almost notorious, gig here in the UK. My older brother had the Big Beach Boutique 2 on CD when we were growing up so I knew the set but I was too young to have attended the concert. I’ve loved Fatboy Slim for years but that wasn’t the reason I wanted to make the film.

The idea came to me during lockdown. I was watching a lot of videos of concerts and raves online to quench my thirst for live music. I remember watching the footage of the Big Beach Boutique 2 and thinking to myself, “I wonder what the story is there?!” My journalistic brain ignited and I wanted to dig deeper and find the real story of this concert. I wanted to tell the story from the perspectives of the ravers and the people of Brighton, as well as of Norman Cook.

Talking about Fatboy Slim also means, especially given how your story was set up, talking about Brighton. What relationship do you have with this city and how do the locals see an icon like Fatboy Slim?

My relationship with the city is a new relationship. Well, a new romance. I moved here from London while I was researching the story and I have fallen in love with the place. Living here helped me understand Brighton and understand the story of the BBB2 even more. The locals here love Fatboy Slim. He’s a big part of the city’s cultural heritage. If you walk around Brighton and Hove you can see his face on murals, ‘Right Here, Right Now’ spraypainted on walls, artwork inspired by him in the art galleries here and he even owns a cafe here – the Big Beach Cafe.

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The research for the documentary: many characters on the screen

Your movie firmly attemps to reconstruct an event like the Big Beach Boutique of 2002, but first there is time to briefly retrace the career of Norman Cook alias Fatmoy Slim, from band bassist to superstar DJ. Are there moments of this journey that particularly struck you?

I loved the early photos and footage of Norman Cook as a fledgling DJ. He would play at house parties in the beginning, while at school. Then when he was in the Housemartins and they were doing really well he was still DJing on the side and honing his craft. To me it suggests that he was always destined to become Fatboy Slim. It was his fate.

Among the situations of the Big Beach Boutique II that we appreciated the most are those told by ordinary people, who attended the show, ending up in photographs, in reportages of the time, etc. Can you tell us how you tracked down these people?

Through months of speaking to people online, on social media and on forums, meeting people for coffees, asking people in pubs and shops in Brighton if they had any stories, attending Fatboy Slim gigs and talking to the crowd, and other ways. It feels like everybody in Brighton was either at the BBB2, or knows somebody who was. I really like meeting new people and hearing their stories, so it was a lot of work but I loved every minute!

We talked about ordinary people, but among the Fatboy Slim fans who didn’t want to miss an event like this there are other celebrities or high-level artists, such as the excellent actor Simon Pegg. What can you tell us about the interviews conducted with him and his other colleagues?

Simon Pegg was very generous with his time and with his memories. Him and actors Nick Frost and John Simm seemed to really enjoy talking to me and sharing their stories. It felt like they were reflecting on halcyon days in their lives, and nascent times of their careers. Also, they all have a deep love of music and I think this shines through in their interviews.

The DOC’s relationship with public and festivals

We read that this first documentary of yours came after many journalistic experiences, including for important British broadcasters. How important was it to learn how to build, for example, a narrative through images that has the right rhythm and touches on all the main points?

I learned so much while making this film. At first I had no idea how I would fill 90 minutes and then it became clear that I had way too many ideas and too much footage for 90 minutes so I had to edit it down. I owe a lot to my producer Ben Lowe and editor Eoin McDonagh, they were amazing. When making this film I learned a lot of really important things about creative risks, collaboration, editing, subtext, storytelling, pace, rhythm, intensive researching, budgeting, diplomacy and much more. But I also learned about music, community, empathy and life itself.

Finally, has the protagonist Norman Cook already had the opportunity to see your work and make any comments? What has been the reaction of the public so far in cinemas and at festivals?

Norman told me he loves the film. He said he’s watched it eight times with different friends and family members! He was really helpful while I was making it too. He gave me his personal videos, photos and stories, so I’m happy he likes the finished documentary. The public seem to be loving it too! I enjoy screening it at international film festivals because sometimes the audience has never heard of the Big Beach Boutique 2. I think it must be fun for them to watch Right Here, Right Now and discover this crazy event for the first time! Although it’s about a British event, I hope the story is relatable and interesting outside of the UK. Everybody loves music, parties and sunshine, right? We are hoping to get a TV deal in Italy now, so everybody there can watch it. Figners crossed!

Photo credits: Davide Tacco and Elisabetta Ghignone

Stefano Coccia

Stefano Coccia

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