Out of boredom and frustration, a writer picks out strangers at random from the crowded streets of London and follows them. He shadows people to see where they go, how they spend their days. Reasoning to himself that he is gathering useful material for the fictional characters in his writing, he starts following the same people more than once, drawn to discovering more about their lives. He is confronted by a professional burglar named Cobb who demands to know why he is following him. Cobb then takes him along on a robbery, showing him the ropes and demonstrating his ability to make deductions about his victims from their possessions. Increasingly involved in Cobb's nefarious activities and obsessed with a woman whose home they've burgled, the writer becomes enmeshed in a perilous web.
The director shot the film himself on 16mm black and white film. Most of the filmmaking was handheld and much of it was done with only available light.
On many of the shoots, the entire production (cast, crew and all of the equipment) could be squeezed into a single London taxi.
Shooting was usually done on Saturdays over a year since all those involved had full-time jobs during the week.
Since the production's main expense was raw stock and processing, each scene had to be rehearsed extensively so that the film could be crafted from first and second takes.
Towards the end of the shoot, certain insert shots were made more difficult when some of the items which are stolen in one of the film's fictional burglaries were stolen for real during an actual burglary.
From the director of Memento, Christopher Nolan Born was born in London and began making films at the age of seven using his father's super 8mm camera and an assortment of male-action figures. He graduated to making films involving real people, and his super 8mm surreal short 'tarantella' was shown on PBS' 'image union' in 1989. Chris studied English Literature at University College London while starting to make 16mm films at the college film society. His short film 'larceny' was shown at the Cambridge Film Festival in 1996, and his other 16mm shorts include a three-minute surreal film called 'doodlebug'. 'following' is Chris' debut feature.
Nolan shot Momento in September, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA. Wally Pfister, the cinematographer of The Hi-Line shot the film.
Jeremy Theobald has been involved with the theatre since his school days when he had a backstage role as lighting and sound operator. It wasn't until he was studying at university several years later that he started acting, playing roles in productions as diverse as West Side Story and Peter Schaffer's Shrivings. Jeremy's first film acting experience was as the lead in Christopher's short film 'larceny', and he went on to work with Chris on 'doodlebug'. This led to their collaboration on the feature length 'following', which Jerry produced and starred in. Jeremy has recently left a career in medical publishing to pursue acting full time.
Emma Thomas got her first experience of producing low budget films at University College London's film society, and enjoyed it so much that she decided to abandon any plans she'd had to further pursue her field of ancient history. After university, Emma went to work for Working Title Films, and carried on working there as in-house production co-ordinator throughout the year-long shoot of 'following'. Emma recently moved from London to Los Angeles.
'following' was Lucy Russell's first experience of film acting. Her previous theatre credits include The Man Who Came to Dinner at the Bloomsbury Theatre in 1996 and The Games People Play at the Edinburgh Festival in 1995. After her graduation in French and Italian from University College London, Lucy took a summer course in acting at the Poor School in London. After just three days she was offered a place on the full time course which she now combines with a full time job - by day she is a personnel assistant at an Austrian bank in the City of London, by night a driven acting student.
Alex Haw was awarded a first by Bartlett School of Architecture in London, but while studying for his degree he also found time to act in more than ten plays for the University College London Drama Society, including Pinter's Betrayal and Peter Schaffer's Shrivings. Since playing Cobb in 'following', Alex has spent time working for a firm of architects in Sydney, Australia, and is about to start his masters degree at Princeton for which he has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship.
Download the Trailer
Following Trailer 1 - 3.8 Meg QuickTime
Following Trailer 2 - 3 Meg QuickTime
'following' screened in the Discovery Program at The Toronto International Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and in Tiger Competition at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, New Directors/New Films in New York City, and was released domestically by Zeitgeist Releasing in the Spring-Summer, 1999.