LFA MASTERCLASS: Bart Layton, director of ‘American Animals’ & ‘The Imposter’

20 April 2020, 14:00-15:00

Our online Masterclass Week kicked off with BAFTA-winning director Bart Layton (‘The Imposter’, 'American Animals'). 

Our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students tuned in to watch Bart discuss the fundamentals of his unique filmmaking style - bridging the gap between real and fictional storytelling. He sees himself as a storyteller first, filmmaker second. 


"I'm more interested in stories than movies. I'm not the kind of filmmaker with an encyclopedic knowledge of film history, but I'm fascinated with stories"


He also spoke about the importance of finding empathy in all his characters, even those who are partaking in criminal activity.


"If you can find some sort of empathy with a character's problem, then the actor's job will be easier to deliver a great performance and draw empathy from the audience."


Bart used this method on 'American Animals', directing his actors to focus on their perception of the character, as opposed to the subject’s own perceptions of themselves.  


"I felt like I didn't want the actors to imitate or copy the real guys. I wanted the actors to find their own versions of those characters rather than create a carbon coby of the real person. Those guys now are 30, at the time the film is based, they were 20. They're going to have a different perspective and that isn't going to help the film. Also the real people are going to want to be portrayed in a certain light, rather than being portrayed truthfully." 


This is the first in our series of online Masterclasses, with a lineup of prominent filmmakers including Tracey Seaward (‘The Two Popes’), Corin Hardy (‘Gangs of London’), John Strickland (‘Line of Duty’) and Dick Pope (‘Mr. Turner’). This series is exclusive to our BA (Hons) Filmmaking, Filmmaking and Screenwriting Diploma students.