Philip Barantini is an award-winning BAFTA and BIFA-nominated director who started his career in 1996 as an actor, appearing in Band of Brothers, Ned Kelly and Chernobyl, amongst others.
Philip’s critically acclaimed second directorial feature Boiling Point was nominated for four BAFTAs in 2022, including Outstanding British Film, and received eleven BIFA nominations. He was awarded the Breakthrough British Filmmaker at The Big Screen Awards 2022, alongside a further six nominations for Boiling Point which, included Best British Film of the Year. Philip also won Best Rock Video at the 2022 UKMVAs for his music video for Sam Fender’s Spit of You.
April 2023 saw the release of ITV’s thriller series Malpractice, starring Niamh Algar, with all five episodes directed by Barantini.
We can soon look forward to his next feature, Accused, which is due for release later this year. He has most recently completed directing a BBC-commissioned series sequel of Boiling Point, on which he was also a co-creator and executive producer.
When did you know you wanted to be a director?
I started acting when I was fifteen-years-old. I was lucky enough to work on some incredible movies and TV shows, with some wonderfully talented people over the years. During that time, I had a real interest in what everyone’s job was on set. I used to stay on after my scenes were finished, just so I could see how it was all coming together. On a couple of projects, I asked the director if I could shadow them, and they said yes. It was exciting for me because I was able to see how they worked and how they spoke to all the cast and crew – plus what it was like to be the director. I must stress that at this point, I had no intentions of becoming a director, I was just really interested in how films were made. However, subconsciously the seed was well and truly planted.
Then around the age of thirty, I started to wonder what it would be like to maybe try and direct one day. The problem I had was that I was very self-conscious, and I used to think things like, ‘I’m just an actor, I could never be up on that pedestal like the director!’ and ‘I’ve never been to film school!’.
Then, in 2015, my Mum passed away quite suddenly, and it turned my whole World upside down. But, instead of going into myself and being sad and down, I had this sudden new burning desire to get out there and do what I’d always wanted to do. Direct! And my Mum was/is pushing me every single day! I’m not a hugely religious person, even though I was brought up as Catholic, but I believe in energy, and that energy is all around me, like I’ve never felt!
Once you knew you wanted to pursue a career as a director, what where your first steps in achieving this goal?
As soon as I realised that directing was what I wanted to do, the first thing I did was investigate going to film school. I searched high and low for the right one for me. However, something inside me didn’t feel right and I couldn’t put my finger on it. So, I called a producer friend of mine and asked him what he thought I should do? He basically said, ‘You don’t need to go to film school, you’ve been at film school for the last 20 years!’.
Then it suddenly dawned on me, he was right. All the time I’d been that annoying kid on set, asking all the questions, was me learning how it all works. That gave me a new lease of life. That’s was it then – I was off.
What obstacles or set backs did you face in becoming a director?
I think the main obstacle is myself and the self-doubt I sometimes get. I’m forever getting ‘Imposter syndrome’. It’s a real thing. However, sometimes you must believe in your abilities and take the leap.
How did you develop your voice and hone your craft?
I mean, I’m still very new to being on the ‘other side’ of the camera, so I’m still tuning my voice as it were. But I still feel like I have a certain style and I know what kind of stories and themes I want to tell.
Realism is what I strive for. If it doesn’t feel real to me, then I’m never going to be sold on it. That goes for performance, costume, makeup, production design, EVERYTHING! It must feel real and natural in its place.
How did you get your first break?
My first (paid) Job as director was on the feature Villain. I was lucky I guess, because the producer friend that I mentioned earlier, was the same person who funded my second short film Boiling Point (Which is technically my first break, as it has done quite well since we made it). Anyway, it was literally the day after we had wrapped on the short, he called me and said, ‘I have this script here and we basically have the money ready to go, can you put a pitch together for it asap’.
I was like, ‘FUCK YEAH’ – before Id even read it. So, after reading it, I thought there is something in this, it was good. So, I put together a pitch and said to the producer, ‘I only want to make this if I can do it my way’. Luckily, he was totally on the same page as me and he loved my pitch, and away we went!
TV Credits: Boiling Point (2023), Malpractice (2023), The Responder (2022).
Film Credits: The Accused (2023), Boiling Point (2021), Villain (2020), Spanish Pigeon (2020), Boiling Point (2019), Seconds Out (2019).
Photograph: Alex Fountain