The spotlight fell on emerging filmmaker, Josef Bates, late last year when he released his second short film, TIC, a tense black comedy about a man trying to hide his Tourette syndrome on a first date with a witty young woman. Bates was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome as a teenager, and he reached out to fellow Tourette’s sufferers when TIC was in production, in the hope that people would contribute their experiences to a short film, which he wanted to be an insightful portrayal of the syndrome. The main character of TIC has a particularly aggressive tic in his left arm, which leads to some tense moments during the date, and was based on Josef’s own tic, which he called Dave Tickingtons. Bates hopes that TIC will address some of the common stigmas associated with Tourette Syndrome.
TIC premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2019, and received an effusive response from the industry. The film hit the big screen again during the London Short Film Festival on January 11, 2020, and is now scheduled for special screenings at some of London’s top ad agencies.
Prettybird has signed the Gen Y writer-director, for his “effortless flair for comedy, which he combines with a deep knowledge of iconic films populating his visual vocabulary”.
Josef Bates commented, “I have been a secret admirer of everyone at Prettybird for a while now. The work they’ve done, and the directors they work with are some of the best. To go into the next stage of my career side by side with Prettybird makes me feel giddy, like they’ve just asked me to the school disco.”
PRETTYBIRD UK co-founder and executive producer, Juliette Larthe, commented, “Josef Bates, our Gen Y auteur, is already establishing a fast-paced kinetic and satirical edge to his storytelling. I am delighted that our determination to show him how much we want to work with him has paid off and he’s now with us. He’s an extremely talented director, able to create characters and well-timed comedy-drama that’s drawn from real-world troubles, while retaining a level of sophistication and aptitude in creating a clear path that makes the work funny. This skillset is gold, and we cannot wait for the opportunity to show this off in spots galore. Bring on the comedy scripts.”
Bates developed a signature dark comedy style early in his career, which was first shown off in his inaugural short, Meat. The film made waves on the European film festival circuit and won him an award at the British Horror Film Festival in 2018, as well as a shortlist at Molins de Rei Horror Film Festival.