All My Friends Hate Me

UK 2021, 94 mins
Director: Andrew Gaynord

Just because you’re paranoid, Joseph Heller noted, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. This is birthday boy Pete’s own Catch-22: invited by his old university crew to a country mansion celebration, from the outset something feels off. He’s constantly the butt of strangely pointed jokes. And what about the local chancer who has latched onto the group and seems to be studying him rather too closely?

Andrew Gaynord’s feature debut, scripted by lead actor Tom Stourton and Tom Palmer, is a stiletto-sharp comedy nightmare. There’s misunderstandings, micro-aggressions and the fear that our youthful friendships aren’t – or maybe never were – what we thought. Imagine The Big Chill as a psychological horror, with an expert ensemble of rising British talent making us squirm with dread and laughter.
Leigh Singer, BFI London Film Festival

Director’s statement
Have you ever read a script that has as much tension and hard laughs as this does? If so, can you send it to me?

I’ve been on the prowl reading feature scripts sent to me by my reps at CAA for a few years now, and I haven’t come across a script that is as funny, alluring, and unsettling as this one. I’ve been an admirer of both Toms for over a decade, and I’m chuffed that this has come my way.

My ambition is for this film to be gut punch funny but with a palpable dramatic tension that pulls you deeper throughout – I want the audience to be constantly guessing, as I was when I read it, is Pete paranoid? Or is he truly unravelling something more nefarious? I want all the performances to be next level REAL… I don’t want to see people ‘movie acting’ or scripted lines to sound like lines – I want to see how this would genuinely play out in real life. And in fact, we will be genuinely shooting in sequence. It won’t add any real amount of time, but will add to the close tracking of Pete’s psychological breakdown throughout the course of the film.

We’ll also be occasionally harnessing film’s powers to slowly induce paranoia, claustrophobia, disorientation… we’ll also use film’s strength to seep an unsettling atmosphere, and crank the laughter to 11. Through Pete’s POV we’ll feel his psychological state deteriorate to breaking point.

Our audience will be completely in sync with Pete’s desperation to be liked. Pete feels alone, lost, and wanting to connect. He just wants to have a good birthday party, guys! To me, this is funny.
Production notes

About the filmmakers

From Jamie Demetriou, Natasia Demetriou and Lolly Adefope in the U.K. to John Early, Phil Burgers and Tim Robinson in the U.S., Andrew Gaynord has a track record of working with comedy’s most exciting rising stars. Andrew is known for Netflix’s The Characters (John Early, Tim Robinson), Comedy Central’s Detroiters and C4’s Stath Lets Flats (Pilot+S3) for which he earned a BAFTA nomination (Best Scripted Comedy).

Prior to this Andrew directed (and helped create) a string of UK comedy pilots including the critically acclaimed People Time (‘best comedy thing I’ve seen in a while’ – Adam Buxton / ‘every beat is perfect’ – The Guardian), award-winning comedian Dr. Brown’s C4 show Dr. Brown: The Outing. And, more recently, BBC’s Ellie & Natasia [Pilot] starring Natasia Demetriou and Ellie White, Lolly Adefope’s debut short film Sorry and Jax Media’s Everyone Else Burns [Pilot] starring Simon Bird. In his debut feature All My Friends Hate Me, Andrew reinforces his fresh, distinct and pioneering comic vision, distilling the talent of a typically striking cast.

This is the third time Andrew has collaborated with the writers having directed the Toms in Live at the Electric (2014) as well as directing their Award Nominated Edinburgh stage show Totally Tom in 2012.

Tom Palmer & Tom Stourton began their career at The Edinburgh Festival where their show Totally Tom received numerous accolades including a nomination for The Fosters Comedy Award – Best Newcomers, 2011. ‘Feverish imagination’ ★★★★ (Metro) ‘Refreshingly original’ ★★★★★ (Telegraph)

Their subsequent Edinburgh run of The Prison Show was met with equal critical acclaim and commercial success, with a national tour and an extended run at the Soho Theatre. ‘Deliriously funny’ (Independent), ‘The writing is razor sharp … dramatic ability beyond the call of comedy’ ★★★★ (Herald), ‘ludicrously inventive characters’ ★★★★★★ The Skinny, ‘Warped, clever, funny and well-acted’ (Times)

Their screen work has been broadcast on Channel 4 (Comedy Lab) BBC3 (Live at the Electric, Bamboo), Sky Atlantic (Common Ground) and BBC Online (Dean & Midu).

Directed by: Andrew Gaynord
Presented by: Ravanburn, Totally Tom Films
Executive Producers: Jon Plowman, George Cave, P.K. Fellowes
Produced by: Tom Palmer
Co-producer: Esme Hicks
Casting: Lucy Rands
Location Manager: George Cave
Script Supervisor: Linda Gibson
Written by: Tom Palmer, Tom Stourton
Director of Photography: Ben Moulden
Edited by: Saam Hodivala
Production Designer: Frederick Allsop
Costume Designer: Helen Bolter
Make-up Designer: Sarah Jane Marks
Composer: Will Lowes, Joe Robbins
Sound Recordist: Blai Escayola Bosch
Re-recording Mixer: Christopher Swaine
Dialogue Editor, ADR Supervisor, Sound Effects Editor: Tim Bamber
Stunt Co-ordinator: Dan ‘DJ’ Johnson

Tom Stourton (Pete)
Charly Clive (Sonia)
Georgina Campbell (Fig)
Antonia Clarke (Claire)
Joshua McGuire (George)
Graham Dickson (Archie)
Christopher Fairbank (Norman)
Dustin Demri-Burns (Harry)
Kieran Hodgson (Graham)

UK 2021
94 mins

A BFI release

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
Questions/comments? Contact the Programme Notes team by email