A journey that we all make in life is the “Coming of Age”. I took the Eurostar over to London to meet with director Chris Foggin at L’Escargot in Soho for morning coffee. The train ride over always makes me nostalgic, because I still associate it with weekend getaways during my student years than with work. What attracted me to Foggin’s feature film directorial debut, Kids in Love (with Will Poulter, Alma Jodorowsky, and Cara Delevingne), was a director of my generation just shy of Generation X doing a film of self-discovery in the millennial era.

Foggin has been dubbed the “next big British director”, carrying with him the experience from working behind the scenes on several widely acclaimed films including My Week with Marilyn, Jane Eyre, The Double and The Iron Lady. It was time to pick his brain a bit.

Kids was a dark yet influential coming of age story that came out when I was around the same age as some of its characters, and twenty years later Larry Clark did The Smell of Us. Seeing as you just turned thirty how was it different making a coming of age story for a generation that you weren’t a part of?

Now, there is a worry of what people think more than ever. I feel that the youth today share everything they do down to uploading photos. There is a stress that some feel when they can’t share, it is more important for them to show and document than to actually experience. I find it really fascinating the need to show everything. I would like to explore that when it starts to change, then we can really reflect on its effects.

Does Kids in Love have biographical moments?

In the sense that everyone that ages comes to age. Around eighteen there is always a relationship that opens your eyes to the world around you, and that’s what we wanted to get across in Kids in Love. The people around that age who you meet, be it good or bad, shape you in a way.

When you first started production in 2013, Cara Delevigne and Alma Jodorowsky, who had wrapped up Blue is the Warmest Color, were just starting to dip their toes in feature films. Kids in Love was actually Delevigne’s first feature film. How was it working with these two new actresses?

When Cara came in at the casting, she was full of life, full of energy. I had this idea in my head of what Alma’s character would be like and she originally wasn’t written as French, just a young free girl, and then when Alma came in I thought, “That puts an interesting twist on it, this French girl in London.” Both actors were a delight to work with. Coming from a background as an assistant director, I’ve worked with actors from all across the board.

Including Judi Dench!

She is such a delight! I pray that I will work with her again.

There is this decadent life around eighteen to twenty-three, going out, drug use, running around, that we mostly will never have again.

All of that missed me completely; I didn’t go out as much as I maybe should have. I left home at a young age to get into the film industry and moved to London. I dedicated myself and worked hard, I started out as a runner, then a third director and then I realized I wasn’t young anymore.

With Kids in Love, I thought it is about kids in love, it should be made by kids and most of the crew was quite young like when I first started in the industry. The average age of the crew was twenty-five, that young energy continued through to the cast too. What I enjoyed the most was with my background in production being very regimented in preproduction, which allowed me to be very free on set with the cast. When I made That Night with James Corden and Alexandra Roach, it was mostly improvised. I enjoy it, because that’s when you find the characters, not struggling with a script.

Very new wave. Going back to your own youthful journey, did you have an awakening moment when you knew you wanted to do film?

I don’t have any cool stories about making 8mm films or anything; it wasn’t part of my upbringing, no one in my family was ever close to anything media related. Every Saturday night without fail, our family would watch a film together, this was the time the video man would drive around, open up his boot and rent out VHS. The ritual of watching films was a way to bring the family together. I remember us watching Arthur with Dudley Moore and my parents were laughing at him being an alcoholic and my brother and I were too young to understand so we laughed at my parents laughing. I thought that if this is what brings people together, then that’s what I want to do.

Kids in Love was done on a low budget of a humble 250,000 pounds. Production-wise, what are some of the advantages/disadvantages of a having a small budget?

The advantage is that it tests you creatively; having a small budget makes you think more. The downside is sometimes you can’t get the equipment you want and crews are hard to come by, but I like the challenge of working small and making it big.

Even though you studied film and media, your foray into first working on productions was quite accidental. Can you tell us how it came about?

I was studying media in Newcastle and working in a sandwich shop part-time, two weeks shy of graduating. I was thinking about what I was going to do and not many people up North moved down to London. One day I said to my boss at the shop, “See you Monday,” and he said, “No you won’t, I know a set organizer in TV and film and I’ve organized you your first job as a runner.”

Monday morning, I was standing in a car park as a runner on a big ITV production. I met the assistant directors who said, “I like you, come to the next job.” So I went from job to job. Having that experience, I learned how to work with a crew and talk with actors. As a runner and AD, you look after them. Obviously, I’m learning stuff to this day.

You are from the North and Kids in Love is set in London. Would you consider London to be a muse?

Every day, I believe that this is the greatest city in the world. I guess it’s the same for anyone who grew up in the suburb or isolated, when you come to London you have the culture, people and little stuff like the Underground that I absolutely love. In Kids in Love, I set scenes around the city like Notting Hill Carnival; it is my love letter to London.

One day, I hope I can return home to make a film in the northwest of England, because it is the most beautiful place and I’m proud of where I’m from. I feel very fortunate when I go home to have that piece of fresh air and take time to think. If you don’t leave for a while, you get caught up. London is my muse though, it inspires me.

What can we expect further down the line? Can you tell us about your second feature?

I just signed on to do this film The Summer House written by a lovely young writer, Laurie Nun. I want to do films about marriage and parenthood now.

Now that your journey to film is in full swing, what is your destination?

I want to keep busy, if I could make a film a year, that what I want to do. I want to travel with my films to festivals and also make films abroad. My favourite filmmaker of all time is Woody Allen, if I could make a film in New York that would be a dream come true.

Portrait by Marica Innocente at L’Escargot in London