EDINBURGH - As we sit down in the appealingly tatty coffee shop of Edinburgh's Filmhouse – the stone-built base camp of the city's venerable film festival – Chad Hartigan admits feeling pleasantly bemused at being interviewed for In Contention. As well he might do. It's not that long ago that Hartigan's name appeared in bylines rather than headlines on this site – one of several where he plied his trade as a box office analyst for five years, while laying the foundations of an independent filmmaking career.
I'm half-tempted to ask Hartigan for a projected gross for his own film; after all, it's not every scrappy indie writer-director who can boast such cool-headed commercial instincts, even (or perhaps especially) with regard to blockbusters fare a million miles from their own. “A lot of people wonder if all that work has given me some kind of like secret code,” he says, with a dry laugh. “Like I could make the failsafe blockbuster. After five years, I still don't know what exact science makes a hit. But I do know that 'This is Martin Bonner' is not it.”