Prime Time: An interview with director Jakub Piątek
What steps would you take to be heard? In an age before social media, options were severely limited; in order to get a message out, one would need to get on TV – by any means necessary.
The new feature from writer/director Jakub Piątek, Prime Time is set in 1999 and follows 20-year-old Sebastian (Bartosz Bielenia) as he takes a Polish TV studio hostage, with the singular goal of sharing a mysterious statement. Currently playing in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, the movie is more than just a tense thriller – for Piątek, it’s a response to his feeling that “things need to change”.
“We made this film as guys in their mid-30s who are longing for rebellion,” he tells me over Zoom. Shot during the pandemic, Prime Time is a visceral response to a number of pressing issues: to feeling trapped, helpless and ignored by hegemonic powers. Set at the turn of the millennium but inspired by contemporary themes, the feature is Piątek’s love-letter to the thriller genre, using its well-worn tropes to reflect his feeling of alienation.
We were lucky enough to speak to the Polish director, discussing what it means to produce a film during a pandemic, why a sense of “rebellion” is so important and what 2021 could learn from 1999.
Prime Time does not have a UK release date yet.
For further information about Sundance Film Festival 2021 visit here.
Read more reviews from the festival here.