Based On a True Story: An Interview with the Directors

Bella Spencer interviews twin filmmaking duo Jack and Gabe Whitehead about their latest short film, Based on a True Story.


The short follows the story of Henri and Verity, two amateur photographers who chance upon a competition to take a photo of ‘The Truth’. A discussion of art and pretension, it delves deep into the world of aesthetics, celebrating all that is unknown and subjective, in a world where the line between fact and fiction is increasingly blurred.

Could you tell you sum up your film in ten words?

The Twins, in complete unison: A short film that was maybe based on a true story. Or maybe it wasn’t.

How did you begin?

Jack: Gabe and I were bored at the end of the summer and we were thinking about writing a short film anyway so we did. Then we sent a lot of emails and 2 years later, BOOM, you’ve got a film.

Gabe: We wanted to write a story based around the idea of a photography walk, but also wanted to try and depict an awkward friendship that ultimately resolves when they create something together. Unlike mine and Jack’s relationship.

Who inspired and motivated you?

Jack: Well for me, I’ve always looked to Gabriel for any sort of inspiration really. Life decisions. Creative decisions. He’s the one who I’ve always put up on that pedestal and said, you know what, I want to be more like him some day.

Gabe: Yeah same actually. But for this particular project we looked to Buster Keaton and Wes Anderson to influence some of the look and vibe of the film. We also wanted to recreate a bit of the awkwardness of Yorgos Lanthimos’ films.

How has your work developed over time?

Jack: You hear people say a lot that film is just lots of photos played really quickly. Originally me and Gabe were both taking photos and we thought, you know what, we should put some of these together in an order. And things sort of just unravelled from there really.

Gabe: This is only really our second short film. We shot our first on an ipod touch with our younger brother in the lead role. On this one Jack used a really big camera. So, you tell me!

What’s your proudest achievement?

Jack: Making it out of the womb first.

Gabe: Having the confidence to know that even though I was second, my parents love me just as much.

The Twins, again in complete, uncanny unison: We’re both quite proud of this film to be honest. We got a 5 star review in the Tab so we must be doing something right!

What is your biggest embarrassment?

Jack: Gabe says I embarrass him on a daily basis.

Gabe: It’s hard to watch a worse version of yourself walking around. Speaking to your friends. Coming to your work.

How do you hope your project will evolve in the future?

Jack: We’re hoping to get it screened a few more times, and obviously it would be nice if it did well online. I’m out a few hundo with Elon Musk so it better do well.

Gabe: Our project as a short film is coming to and end. But our project as twins is only just beginning.

Watch ‘Based On A True Story’ online now.

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