Why did you decide to leave politics to pursue film-making?
Film was always what I wanted to do, but the film industry is really difficult to break in to, so I thought, ‘I should be getting on with something while I'm working on the film stuff’. I'd always been interested in politics, and I did a couple of really interesting jobs that kept me in there for some.
What was your inspiration?
I’ve always loved documentaries. I find them incredibly funny – look at the likes of Louis Theroux, whose work heavily influences this film. I love that they let the subjects hang themselves just by talking to them. I hate documentary-makers who try to propagandise, like the Michael Moores of this world, when actually it would be better if they just posed the question and stood back. I'd always wanted to do a comedy; I've always really enjoyed understated dark humour, and to make something really funny, you have to understand the subject. Because I worked in politics for a number of years I felt I understood it enough to do it properly. I've witnessed countless surreal, funny episodes that you really couldn't have made up.
It doesn’t offer the most flattering image of politics. Do you think this reflects the current state of politics?
I feel a great deal of sympathy for politicians and people in the political world because of all the different pressures they face. But if you're going to take the Mickey out of something, then inevitably you're going to portray it in an unflattering way. If you portray things too positively it's not going to work as a comedy. It might be seen as a little bit smug.
What do you think about the government's cuts of the British film industry and the UK Film Council?
I'm probably in a minority of one, as I think the cuts to the UK Film Council were no bad thing. It will force the film industry in this country to think about what it really needs from the public sector.
Do you intend to go back into politics or continue with film-making?
A bit of both, as breaking into the film industry takes a lot of time. But first I want to make a success of this film, and hope people think it's worth giving me a shot at doing something else; we have a couple of projects we're looking at. In the meantime, I'll do a bit of political work as well.
To find out more, visit www.greatmanfilm.com