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By midlandsmovies, Sep 17 2018 08:29AM



Midlands Review - Vigilante Style (2018)


Dir. Edward James Smith


A Pictured Visions Production


Vigilante Style is a new independent feature film written, directed and starring regional filmmaker Edward James Smith. Starting out as a short film all the way back in 2013, the filmmaker developed sequences over many years which eventually became this feature-length production.


The film begins with the “Our Feature Presentation” logo from Tarantino’s Kill Bill and Grindhouse and this ‘Funky Fanfare’ combined with a fast-paced montage a la Guy Ritchie hints where the filmmaker’s influences lie.


It starts by using voiceover as it flashes backwards and forwards in time concerning events from 10 years ago and how they affect the present. Vigilante Gilmer Diamond (Edward James Smith himself) is captured by Alex Steele (Jon Peet) and with revenge on almost everyone’s mind and a wide set of criminal characters, the movie tries to balance multiple story threads in a seedy tale of deception.


However, that is easier said than done. Characters are not fully introduced or fleshed out and the story becomes a mix of confusing tales all explained using expositional dialogue.


And it’s unfortunate as the dialogue is one of the problems here owing to a sound mix that varies so wildly it’s difficult to concentrate on the matters on screen. With amazing HD cameras available, it’s such a shame to see a film with a lot of potential undermine itself with poorly recorded audio. And although the acting verges on being suitably over the top, all the performances are undercut by that poor audio production.


As characters get their comeuppance and gangs cross-paths with each other, we see an increase in violence with fights, shootouts and even a cricket bat making an appearance. Because it was filmed over many years (it was one of our first blogs back in 2014), maybe the filmmaker’s focus changed and so the movie’s broken narrative reflects those altered ambitions.



I enjoyed the Leicester locations of my home town and it was great to see the filmmakers utilise so many varied buildings and streets around the city to keep a variety to the proceedings. Yet filming around the city exacerbates the sound issues with city traffic, background hums and windy alleys all causing their own issues.


Smith throws in a lot of varied techniques in his fast-paced film though. Voice-over, freeze frames and subtitles are added to his guerrilla filmmaking style and the use of chapter titles again show a nod to Tarantino. Yet the good editing is undermined by a lack of cinematography as a huge percentage of the film looks like mobile-phone footage at times.


But in reality it keeps coming back to sound – at times a decent soundtrack is used from artists like Suicide Bees, Blake J. Carpenter and Soul Release – but the dialogue and conversations need much more work. Better mixing and some ADR would go a long way – especially with the voiceover – and improve the viewing experience 10-fold.


Clearly a passion project, it has the vibe and seemingly the budget of a student film and it wears its b-movie credentials proudly on its sleeves. In many respects it seems more like a film that was good fun to make and I admired the passion of a group of friends getting a project together. However, willing friends doing you a lot of favours is one thing, trying to pull it together over a number of years is another.


And so, although it’s all undertaken with a lot of devotion you just have to try and ignore the lack of technical expertise. A number of different quality issues – some sections underlit, others overlit – continue to show a lack of consistency and ultimately it pays the price of its cheap shortcuts.


Maybe it’s a case of running before it can walk. Vigilante Style has flashes of editing and story proficiency but they are drowned out by some sloppiness and that one fatal flaw I keep coming back to – the sound and its design.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, even with a low budget a filmmaker needs to know what their budget is, and of course the limitations that brings. It’s a badge of honour to say you’ve made a feature film but sometimes the filmmaker is stretching that little bit too far with the resources at hand.


Expanding what I would imagine was an inventive short into a full feature is no easy task and Vigilante Style shows that good intentions can only go so far with a passionate but slapdash approach. More Neil Breen than David Lean, Smith has stretched a short concept to breaking point and only the most hardcore exploitation fans need apply.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Sep 15 2018 04:28PM



Midlands Review - The Night They Crashed Here


Directed by Jack Veasey


“It was just another normal day” proclaims a voice at the start of new sci-fi drama The Night They Crashed Here, but this new short from Jack Veasey moves very quickly away from any sense of “normal” to much more sinister themes.


Filmed in early 2018 around Coventry and from the director of Tony, George Wills stars as Paul Jones who introduces himself via a Bogart-like voiceover. However his interviews are the product of his press reporter credentials rather than those of a private detective. The film is entirely shot in black and white and along with the voiceover, the noir influences can be seen from the start including the brick wall motifs and the low-key lighting.


As Jones exits his vehicle after a particularly strong storm, he stands against a cloudy sky and as great tension building noise reaches a crescendo he witnesses strange lightning which bolts to the earth. This eerie phenomenon is excellently realised and the filmmaker’s insistence on holding on the shot an agonisingly long time was just perfect to keep the viewer on edge.


The inventive and creative special effects compliment the very well-lit locations and the film echoes Sin City at times - but here the director has achieved his look without green screen. And the stark contrasting lighting lets the shadows do a lot of the work to create a sense of mystery and intrigue. As Jones arrives at the landing site, he spies a mysterious pod in the rubble and removes a strange device which appears to infect him when the deceased alien arm originally holding it shocks it back into life.


About half way through the music changes to a slightly odd glockenspiel style ditty which although evoked the Raymond Chandler-based flicks of the 40s seemed at odds with the sci-fi direction of the plot. Although no doubt intentional this clash between the old and new became a bit of a concern throughout.


The voice from Jones is sadly a little monotone too and could have used a bit more energy or verve in the delivery of the dialogue. The importance of one line is no different to any other which was unfortunately a little bland. Very soon after, a couple of fellow reporters arrive (Andre Pierre as Smith and Becki Lloyd as Williams) and they discuss the dead body. With the possibility of a high-paying scoop about an extra-terrestrial, they plan to claim the discovery as their own. Which will be to the detriment of Jones who they need out the way.


When Jones is approached from behind by Smith, he lashes out in surprise and we start to get hints that he may be succumbing to an alien infection as his ears bleed and his emotions drain. The tale twists again as another morally ambiguous deal is suggested between Smith and Jones to get rid of Williams. And whilst Smith plays a con on both sides to cover his intentions, Jones is hiding a lot more from them both.


The music changes once more at the film’s end – echoing a melodramatic silent film score of sorts – and the short again hints to its retro influences. Like a good noir, there are double crosses and dark realisations that materialise towards it conclusion. And on a technical level, the film uses noir traits like unbalanced compositions, dramatic shadows and skewed shots as well as, literally, an ‘alienated’ protagonist.


In conclusion, looking back with its music and style but forward with its fantastic effects and sci-fi approach, The Night They Crashed Here is an interesting experiment to mix two unlikely genres. And whilst not always delivering the cohesion needed to blend old and new influences, has enough going for it to make it an inventive hardboiled slice of noir and science fiction.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Sep 7 2018 03:41PM



Midlands Review - I'll Be Here After the Factory Is Gone


Directed by Luke Radford


Them Pesky Kids


This new film is the latest short from filmmaker Luke Radford which features a soundtrack from Nottingham band The Ruffs but contains far more narrative than you would expect from your average local music video.


The inspiration behind the short is Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, the 1960 British drama film directed by Karel Reisz. That itself is an adaptation of the 1958 novel of the same name by Alan Sillitoe, who also wrote the movie’s screenplay.


And like the book and the film, Radford has featured a young man drinking and partying whilst maintaining affairs and relationships that cause him more than his fair share of trouble.


We open with a young man (Aaron Lodge as Arthur Seaton) who types away at a keyboard in an office that could be any in Britain. However, Radford scores this sequence with the hard clanking of machinery which contradicts the formal office location we see on screen but is a fantastic nod to the Raleigh factory in Nottingham which provided this setting in the 1960 film.


As spreadsheets are discussed, coffee is drunk and staff chat on mobile phones, we are quickly shown the demoralising nature of a desk job that drains your soul. Much like in Fight Club (1999) or Wanted (2008) we get a young male protagonist sick of this grind and itching for the thrills of real life.


Radford speedily edits to upbeat music once Arthur leaves work and the quick cuts capture the excitement of a weekend. As the evening goes on, the rock n roll song is the perfect soundtrack for a night on the beers where pool is played and laughs are had. The inherent machismo is clear to see as Arthur heads to a club and the excellent neon and strobe lighting shows fantastic cinematography skill.


After chatting to a woman, we are then shown the couple waiting for that elusive post-clubbing kebab before cutting to the next morning where she wakes up to find him getting ready to leave. And his problems begin as the lady (Kelly Jaggers as Ruby) has a picture of her family next to the bed. This being a music video, there is no dialogue so Radford expertly creates meaning and plot through small details like this photograph. As Arthur consumes a traditional British breakfast, he returns home to his mum as Ruby’s husband returns to her.


The next sequence shows Arthur again on the town and this time takes a shine to another lady – slightly more his own age – and as the beers flow we see him cosy up to Anne (played by Esmee Matthews) back in another nightclub.



The film pauses briefly here and as the book itself is in two parts (the Saturday night and Sunday morning obviously) this short also establishes its own break as a secondary – more melancholic song – begins.


Arthur spends time with this new girl at an arcade and at a bowling alley (echoes of the amusement ride from the original film here too) but Ruby and her family are also here. The film then pulls no punches as Arthur enters a city underpass and a violent retribution is enacted by her husband and his friends.


There are consequences to his hedonism after all but does he deserve this? Well, the film doesn’t answer this question and like the book it’s inspired by, we see that as time passes his wounds slowly heal yet one final encounter with Ruby suggests he still has mixed feelings of settling down.


Radford’s film is a great adaptation of a classic British kitchen-sink drama and although he brings the story into the 21st century he does not let the core messages and themes get overshadowed by his update. With no dialogue the actors do well to convey their characters and Radford allows the images to direct the audience to the important plot developments. With love, violence, relationships and more all covered in its short 8-minute run time, Radford has admirably condensed a large cinematic tale into a succinct adaptation without losing any of its power.


Mike Sales


I’ll Be Here After the Factory Is Gone is screening before the original film on the 23rd September 2018 at 1pm at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham


More details here: http://www.broadway.org.uk/events/film-saturday-night-and-sunday-morning1




By midlandsmovies, Sep 6 2018 11:59AM



Heather (2018)


Directed by Scott Driver


A scream of ecstasy or agony opens new 3-minute short Heather, the latest from Midlands filmmaker Scott Driver


Previously directing other impactful shorts such as HIM and Restroom, it is quickly made clear by the director that these cries are not from pleasure. Or are they? We cut from legs writhing on a bed to a bespectacled woman raining hammer blows on a body in the bedroom who seems more than happy as to what she is doing.


Scrubbing the resulting blood from her face in the mirror, our assailant is then seen dragging a heavy black bin bag outside.


“What’s in the bag?” asks a delivery man who is passing by, leaving us with a palpable tension in the air as she struggles to come up with a suitable reply. And whilst leaving a package he runs off disturbed with what he has witnessed.


A nearby DIY shop comes to the rescue as our unidentified lead purchases a shovel and the audience may guess where this could lead. And yes, a we’re soon off to a wooded area for the body to be disposed.


Director Driver has an eye for showing not telling an audience the main points of his plot and keeps the dialogue at a minimum. The confines of a short run time can force directors into making snappier edits and trims which I’d love to see continue into their longer local feature films.


Created as part of the regional High Peak Independent Film Festival, the short was entered into their 10 hour film challenge. That’s right. Make a movie in just 10 hours – from start to finish. This goes some way to explaining the lack of dialogue but the short is all the better for its visual, rather than expositional, story-telling.


An ending involving a make-shift wooden headstone and a heavy suggestion this may not have been the first killing the perpetrator has committed draws the film to a close. Will she get caught? It’s not looking likely. Lucky Heather indeed.


Driver’s speedy construction of plot, script and narrative combined with the more than fine high production values and shot choices sees a superb short created in super-fast time that also contains a hard impact and an assured confidence from a talented group of local filmmakers.


Mike Sales





By midlandsmovies, Sep 6 2018 10:00AM



Margie's Garden


Directed by Ash Morris


An official selection of the NO/GLOSS Film Festival, Margie’s Garden is a new dark comedy-drama from regional filmmaker Ash Morris.


We open with a pensioner – Abigail Hamilton as Margie – who watches a bomber-jacket clad man working on an allotment as she takes a sip of a warm drink from a flask. Appearances can be deceiving however as we soon discover that this kindly old lady – next seen as high as a kite in her front room – is a local drug dealer with her home filled to the ceiling with cannabis plants.


Her similarly aged friends also seem to be enjoying the “high” life where copious amount of munchies in the form of sugary cakes and chocolate eclairs being consumed.


The film uses a realistic slice-of-life handheld aesthetic which gives it an air (smoke-filled of course) of authenticity despite the large leaps in imagination.


The story continues as Steven Arnold – from Morris’ previous film BARE (see Midlands Movies review here) – plays the mysterious Adam. And he suspects the house is a drug den, and one he could exploit for his own nefarious ends.


Showing up uninvited, the dope appears at the front door and threatens to expose the operation to the authorities unless he gets his slice. Margie seems less than fazed by the pressure and reminds him of his manners as he greedily downs tea and biscuits.


The film cross-cuts the main narrative with dream-like shots of people getting high on bongs and reefer. This is reflected in the cinematography where backlit rooms are filled with smoke and an air of hippie-infused haze. And slow motion, Dutch angles and heavily reverbed voices all lend the film an eerie tone too.


A strange comparison admittedly, these sequences reminded me of the melancholic slo-mo drug taking scenes in sci-fi reboot Dredd (2012) but they are hilariously cut with shots of domestic chores. Margie indulges herself in washing up and (pot?) tea served up in her best china as a lullaby style soundtrack plays in the background.


Margie then sends her son Kieron (This Is England’s burly George Newton) to face Adam in order to “tenderise the meat” in a brutal scene of retribution. She’s one old lady not to mess with! But after he returns to apologise, her nice side returns by offering him a pain-relieving spliff. Perhaps gaining a new customer in the process? Well, actually no. As he passes out from the herb, his ultimate outcome is far, far worse than you could imagine.


Written by Nicola Monaghan, she channels the British eccentricity of Ben Wheatley and a hint of The League of Gentlemen. And whilst it has a story similarity to the French film Paulette (2012), Monaghan balances the difficult task of being humorous yet grim and serious just moments later.


But the true star is the funny and sweet, yet very menacing, Abigail Hamilton as Margie herself. Seeing an old lady using the vernacular of the streets is comical alongside her animated face when in a drug high. However, as the tale turns more dark so does she, and her intense stare may haunt audiences' dreams for nights to come. Clever, and well shot on a technical level, I’d highly recommend checking out this strange Scarface of suburbia.


Mike Sales


By midlandsmovies, Sep 5 2018 07:40AM



Midlands Spotlight - Ocean-Eyes Pictures Announce New International Joint Project The Guiding Light


Lincolnshire based production company Ocean-Eyes Pictures have announced a new joint production with Nottingham based production company Polymath Productions and Argentinian producer Gisele Mauvecin. The new project, titled “The Guiding Light” is set to film in Autumn and will be directed by Tom Brumpton, from a script written by Ocean-Eyes owner Adam Luff.


The news comes off the back of a successful few years for the trio. Ocean-Eyes last project, “Nurture of the Beast”, which starred Brumpton, was picked as an Official Selection by various film festivals around the world.


Mr. Luff also enjoyed success for his screenplay “Lunar Art”, which picked up two awards at the inaugural New Renaissance Film Festival in 2016, while Mr Brumpton secured a place in the BAFTA Crews 2018 Programme as a director and producer. At the same time Mauvecin’s latest film, “Gender”, recently enjoyed a sold-out screening in London and has been picked up as an Official Selection by international film festivals.


The inspiration for “The Guiding Light” comes from a particularly difficult period in Brumpton’s life. He lost his Aunt Pat in April 2016 and later his Aunt Kath in late June 2017. “My aunts were wonderful people. I was very close to them and losing them felt like losing a family home".




As the pair began working on “The Guiding Light”, Brumpton aimed to create something life affirming. “I didn’t want my last memory of these women to be death and misery. I wanted to turn that grief into something positive”.


The film follows Barbara, a world champion dancer who after years of struggling with autoimmune disease is forced to retire. Shortly after, she contracts pneumonia and becomes critically ill. Minutes from death, she’s visited by her younger sister, Angela. The two embark on a journey through Barbara’s happiest memories before she’s forced to face her own mortality. The film, which brings together musical elements with surrealism, is set to be filmed in the East Midlands in late Summer/early Autumn.


Asked on their inspiration for the film, Brumpton stated “Whatever happens, blame Nicolas Winding Refn!” he jokes “I discovered him in 2009 when I saw “Bronson”, and fell in love with his work. His use of music and lighting is a massive inspiration. As for the musical side; Rob Marshall had a big impact. “Nine” is one of my favourite musicals but seeing what Damien Chazelle did with “La La Land” really stuck with me. As Adam and I worked on the film we saw it as a film of various parts. There are nods to European arthouse cinema and musicals, with moments of body horror and the surreal.”



Despite the bleak sounding subject matter, Brumpton thinks of the film as a celebration of love and life. “The film is a reflection on Pat’s life, and her relationship with Kath and my Mum. It’s about looking back on the things you achieved with a sense of pride and completion, and the role the people closest to us play in the value of those memories".


Mr. Luff had this to say on his involvement, "I enjoyed discussing the premise with Tom and I'm proud of the script. The juxtaposition of musical elements and surrealistic visuals is something terribly exciting, and I cannot wait to see where it takes us".


The trio have teased a premiere at a highly respected venue in 2019 and are running a crowdfunder via Indiegogo which can be found here https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-guiding-light-short-film#/


By midlandsmovies, Sep 4 2018 08:45PM



Midlands Spotlight - StarMan


Regional film production company Nine Ladies Film return with StarMan, an ambitious short about human frailty and an alien encounter. Midlands Movies Mike Sales uncovers more about this stellar new production.


StarMan is the most recent release by British filmmaker Stuart Connock Wheeldon who explains that the film is not just a tale of financial hardship. In fact, StarMan "seeks to topple the film industry’s under-representation of people of a poor socio-economic rank", says Stuart.


As a timely criticism of the abandonment by the UK Government of ex armed forces personnel, the film tells a journey of homeless ex-paratrooper Mark (Nigel Barber) and his efforts to survive in a world of judgement and misconception.


His chance encounter with the open-minded Lisa (Mia Mills) spurs him onwards to realise his final mission: that of returning to a life beyond the constellations.


The story continues as Mark’s interactions with Lisa urge the viewer to question the modern-day surge of prejudice and spurious charity. Stuart explains that Lisa’s husband (Elliott Rennie) offers "condemnation of her efforts to help Mark; his opinions representing the ever-growing cultures of narrow-mindedness and self-servitude".

As well as looking at current issues regarding army personnel, the film hopes to be an indictment of our plastics epidemic and propensity to waste food as well as our discarding of religion.


Derbyshire writer-director Stuart has been able to assemble a formidable group of actors and crew for the filming in and around Wirksworth in Derbyshire.


The film was written by Stuart himself and Nick John Whittle. Doug Cummings was 1st Assistant Director, Jordan Frater Sound Recordist, Jennifer Whitmore Production Designer and Wheeldon was the film's director.

With a zero budget, the filmmakers have pulled together all their resources and have released the films's first trailer below and be sure to check for updates at the official website http://www.nineladiesfilm.com/starman.html






By midlandsmovies, Sep 4 2018 07:50PM



Midlands Interview - Emmeline Kellie


From Nottingham's Film and TV Tweet Up to acting in recent action film Outlawed, Emmeline Kellie is a force to be reckoned with after being involved in film in front of and behind the camera at every level of production.


With such a diverse cinematic background and with her new project Keep Breathing recently launched, Midlands Movies writer Guy Russell speaks to Emmeline about her short film which has been created in light of the #metoo movement.


Guy Russell: You’ve recently launched the funding campaign for Keep Breathing, is crowdfunding a format you have used before and if so were you successful?

Emmeline Kellie: Nope, this is the very first time! I still feel extremely nervous about it even though we’re already two weeks in! It’s been really hard because all of us have been working full time while running it so it hasn’t had the TLC it needs. I’ve come to realise that Crowdfunding really is a full-time job. I probably wouldn’t advise doing it unless you have a dedicated team to do shifts, or you can take four weeks off of work!


Please tell us more about Keep Breathing, I understand it tackles the importance of sexual consent?

Keep Breathing is a powerful and incisive look at attitudes towards consent, rape, and victim blaming. It has a tightly plotted script that challenges two characters that don’t conform to the typical depictions of victim and perpetrator. The situation we explore is extremely common and goes widely unreported, yet when it is reported, both parties often have very different perceptions about what they’ve encountered. Not every victim of rape says no, and not every perpetrator understands the boundaries of consent. This film will engage the audience, provoke thought, provide a voice and encourage discussion, which is the essential next step towards changing attitudes.


Whilst the message is extremely important to us, the script is actually something we’re very proud of as well. It has interesting characters and it’s gripping, pacey and emotional. The message is actually drawn out very subtly through it. Most of the dialogue is ambiguous and laced with deeper meaning, so it’s a drama on the surface, but an eye-opener underneath.


What has the reaction been so far?

Amazing. Of those who have been sent the script, we’ve had a few say it’s the best short film script they’ve read which is so encouraging. I think the last person to read it was a documentary filmmaker called Miguel Gaudencio who our writer Tommy Draper worked with about ten years ago. He said “I think this is Tommy’s best script. I LOVE it! It screwed my head, which is great, and I love the fact that characters are not stereotypical. It’s a very powerful drama and so well set up.” I was quite pleased with that reaction! Especially as Tommy’s other work is just incredible.


Since putting the campaign out there, we’ve also had a lot of people getting in touch saying much it resonates with them and how glad they are that we’re trying to do something about it. So overall, a really positive response!



Was there a specific moment which inspired you to start writing Keep Breathing, or was the idea brewing for a while?

I believe it was at 2:39am on Christmas morning just gone. I was in bed and couldn’t sleep. My head was swimming with #metoo stuff, and how even though everyone else had publicly nodded to their experiences of sexual assault and rape, I hadn’t felt I could because there were some incidents I just didn’t want to open myself up to talking about, and then there was one where I was still convinced that what had happened was my fault. I was drunk and had said no repeatedly, then after about half an hour of persistence while I was trying to sleep, I gave in because it was easier. I didn’t say the word ‘yes’ but my body gave in. Why didn’t I stagger out of there? Why wasn’t I firmer with him? Why did I even agree to staying there? But I was so drunk and verging on the edge of consciousness. He was sober. It really messed with my head afterwards for so long. But why? It seemed so trivial- just one of those things that happen when you get too drunk.


I then deliberately shifted my mind onto film because I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I said to myself “Right, come up with an idea for a film with two characters in one location so we can just crack on with it and make something decent in a month’s time”… and that’s when the idea just came to me. Checked the time. 2:39. Bam. Except it grew into something so much bigger that we wanted to put a lot more time and effort into, to do it justice.


You co-wrote Keep Breathing with Tommy Draper, what was Tommy like as a writing partner?

Amazing. The thing I’m really bad at is writing a first draft, but he did it quickly, threw some brilliant ideas into the pot and then we had a really solid foundation to work with. Mark, our director, was also involved every step of the way giving notes on every other draft. The first two drafts we did actually went in a completely different direction, and then we sat down to work out exactly what we wanted the piece to say which is what turned it into the compelling story we have now. Tommy and I took in turns to play with the script. He was fine-tuning the action and the drama while I was fine-tuning a lot of the dialogue. We had a good balance and I don’t think we had any disagreements. Having said that…. I’d love to see his response to this question! Probably quite different!


Your short film Cadence was quite the success, it has had over a million views and is currently being used as an education tool about driving awareness, is there something similar you’d like to achieve with Keep Breathing?

Definitely. We want to tour it around schools, colleges and universities with a workshop and presentation. The film will get students’ attention (we all liked watching videos in school!) and afterwards, we can kick off the conversation with a discussion about the story and characters. Getting people talking about it, thinking about it, and aware of it is the first step to solving it as it should mean that they are more mindful when in the moment. Once it’s done its educational tours and film festival circuit, we want to release it online with a campaign, containing some facts and statistics found in our on-going survey and research. Hopefully the festivals will help give it the buzz it needs for a strong online launch.


Keep Breathing and Cadence are quite similar in the sense that both short films have an important story to tell, they have narratives that will feel familiar to a lot of people but are not shown enough in the media. Is there a reason you’re attracted to telling stories like these?

I think the reason I found an interest in filmmaking was because of how movies made me feel, and the things I learned from them. For example, take the film The Butterfly Effect, this film realigned my thinking and outlook on life. I’m not even sure it intended to. I used to constantly be living in the past thinking “what if I’d done that differently, where would I be now?”.. I’d really dwell on my decisions after I made them, and it’d keep me awake at night wondering if I’ve done the right thing. Even when I was 6 I ran down to my mum crying at midnight because I regretted the choice I made about which sunglasses to buy three weeks previous. The Butterfly Effect made me realise that going back and trying to fix things would disrupt everything else, and that everything happens for a reason. Some other films that have influenced my thinking or taught me something valuable are Seven Pounds, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Detroit, The Day After Tomorrow and tonnes more. Filmmaking is such a powerful tool. It provides entertainment and escapism, but it can also change the world.



Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018
Alex Stroud & Emmeline Kellie at the Midlands Movies Awards 2018

You’re an Actor, Producer and Writer, do you have a favourite and why?

I’d say my heart belongs to acting but I really do love it all.


Do you see a future where you actively undertake all three roles or is there one you would like to focus all your efforts on in the future?

I think acting is what I actually want to do for a career. I really, really want to go into TV and work on lots of amazing projects with talented and inspiring people. In an ideal world, acting is where I’d make my income, however, I think I’m always going to have a passion project on the go as well. If I can produce at least one really decent film every year, I’ll be happy - it’s such a fulfilling experience.


What is your experience filmmaking in the Midlands, is it a good region to make films in?

The East Midlands is fantastic. We have such a wonderful close-knit film community and everyone is so keen and supportive. I think everyone has worked with everyone at some point, and we have at least a handful of amazingly talented people to fill every single position in a film crew. Apart from a grip maybe- I’m not sure I know any grips.


Was there a specific moment in your life where you knew you wanted to embark on a career in the media/film?

Not that I can remember. I’ve always wanted to act since I was small. I loved school plays, loved going to the Valle Academy of Performing Arts and loved making my mum sit through many private performances that I’m sure she was a huge fan of. Film came about quite suddenly when I was presented with the brief for my GCSE art coursework. My teacher said “you can do whatever you like, whether it’s a painting, a sketch, pottery, a sculpture, a cross-stitch… hell you could even make a film if you’re crazy enough!” … I chose crazy and I loved it. Picked up a crappy digital camera from my mum’s drawer, flicked it into video mode and bribed my friends to act for me, and then started shooting. Never looked back.


What should the industry be doing that it currently isn’t for independent filmmakers such as yourself?

Funding. I just feel like the amount of hoops you have to jump through to get any kind of funding secured for a film, whether it’s a short or feature, is soul-destroying. Although I do understand that there’s sadly not much money in the pot anymore. Maybe there should be more peer-mentorship and shadowing opportunities set up with the people who are achieving the things we all want to be achieving. I don’t really know but it’s so hard to move forward.


Keep Breathing aside, have you any other projects in the pipeline?

There’s lots of ideas being thrown about at the minute - I think it’ll either be a fun, snappy short that we can do on a couple hundred quid, or our first feature!


If people would like to take part in the funding for Keep Breathing, how can they do so?

You can find all details on our campaign page: www.crowdfunder.co.uk/kbshortfilm


Be sure to check out all the rewards! The campaign ends on 17th September at 10:00am.



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