A while ago, the Eurocrisis was cleverly satirised in the YouTube hit A Very European Break Up. E&M contacted its producer, Bob Denham from the UK, to ask about his views on comedy, the Eurocrisis, and more.

E&M: Tell us a bit more about yourself - your background, your prior experience in comedy, how you met the cast...

Image: Bob Denham (all rights reserved)
Bob Denham, Producer of "A Very European Break Up"

Bob Denham: I'm an economics PhD dropout who flirted with investment banking, then tried to become a journalist, before deciding to do what I really want to do: make films. Before making A Very European Break Up I had just made mini documentaries. But the key is to make films about what you know - that's all the experience you need.

For A Very European Break Up I found actors online. I said we'd make a film about something affecting all of Europe and that would get people talking.

For the A Very European Christmas I teamed up with Lara Doree of Ludere Productions and online entertainment specialist Elisar Cabrera. They helped me put together the much bigger team for the second film.

What was it like working on the set and how different was the experience of having a cast of different nationalities to that of having actors from a single country?

I wish some of those people arguing about Europe's future could have seen us on set. I haven't worked on many sets but those who have tell me it was one of the most fun films to work on. It really feels like a family.

We all know there are different types of humour in different EU member states, but do you think there is such a thing as "European humour"? If so, do you consider it central to the European identity?

While there are of course national traits in humour, I would say a lot of humour is universal. At least that's what I hope! With A Very European Christmas, I'm hoping the film gets watched throughout Europe.

What are your views on the eurocrisis - how do you think things will develop, is the end in sight? Where does humour stand in such times of turmoil?

Of course, making a comedy about a controversial subject always runs the risk of offending people. But people have been making comedies about controversial subjects for a long time. Some of Britain's most successful comedies are about the First and Second World Wars. These comedies aren't laughing at the deaths of millions of people but instead laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. My films are no different.

If you want my views on the crisis it is best to watch the film! What I will say is that, just as with any family arguing, all sides are right about some things and wrong about others. And just like in any family, at Christmas they are reminded that there are more important things than money.

Image: "A Very European Break Up" still (w. author permission)
Can Germans and Greek trust each other?

To me, what distinguishes "A Very European Break Up" from other popular YouTube videos is its subtlety - how explicit do you think humour should be, and why is there a relative lack of subtle humour nowadays?

That's a very good question. I don’t know the answer. I'm still experimenting, even with the second film. I'll just have to listen to people's feedback on the second film, which is different from the first, and then I'll know more. The good thing about YouTube is that it's more interactive than a film because people can comment and share the film and point out some of the subtle things they liked and some of the things they didn’t like.

What can we expect from you in the near future? Could "A Very European Break Up" develop further as the crisis progresses?

YES! 'A Very European Christmas' is out now!

Teaser photo: "A Very European Break Up" still (all rights reserved)

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