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Midlands Spotlight - Devil's Tower

By midlandsmovies, Dec 19 2014 01:17PM

Midlands Movies writer Marek takes a look at new local film Devil's Tower and asks its Derby based writer Adam Marsh about making a film with one half of Jay and Silent Bob...


Coming this September 15 to home release and limited theatres, is a new horror film named 'Devils Tower' featuring Roxanne Pallet (Emmerdale, Wrong Turn 6, Lake Placid 3) and everyone's favourite stoner Jason Mewes (the legendary Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame - Clerks, Mallrats etc) but whats really got us interested is whose behind the camera.


Directed by Derbyshire based director Owen Tooth, the film was penned by Derby Quad programmer and co-director of Derby Film Festival; Adam Marsh, and Midlands Movies recently caught up with Adam to discover more about the film, his influences and what it is like getting a major film made while being based in the Midlands.


MM: When you started out, did you ever think that being based in the East Midlands would hinder your ability to network and sell a script?

AM: Yes and no, really. I think you make connections and form relationships with people regardless of where you live, it is just a lot easier to maintain those relationships if you’re in London, for example.


MM: …and what have been the challenges industry wise of living in the region?

AM: I’ve not really had any challenges industry wise per say. I think all the challenges are about the writing. Writing the best script is the challenge. Getting it out there is the admin.


MM: You have an MA in Scriptwriting, how has this helped you develop your craft, and would you recommend a formal qualification for those interested in scriptwriting or currently writing for their own films?

AM: I would recommend it and not just because I teach scriptwriting! It helped me to formalise some of instinctive things I was doing. Understanding how films are structured helps you avoid the pitfalls and also to push the boundaries too.


MM: If you could give any advice to scriptwriters in the Midlands what would it be?

AM: Take your opportunities when you can. Opportunities don’t come along very often, and when you live outside London, they come along even less. Be flexible and pick your battles. Film is a collaborative effort and no two people think exactly the same. Compromise if you can, fight for your idea if you need to.


MM: Is there anything that you are working on at the moment that you could tell us about?

AM: Nothing firmed up yet. A couple of feature scripts in progression and I’m writing a comic erotica novel. Which should be fun!


MM: Before ‘Devils Tower’, you had three short films made - how did these prepare you for writing and marketing your first produced feature length?

AM: They prepared me in no way whatsoever for Devil’s Tower. I had written a number of short films and there is a skill in writing a good short. It is a different skill writing a feature though.


MM: Interestingly, the film appears to blend a few sub-genres, what were your key influences behind the film?

AM: We wanted to make a fun film. I’m a big fan of 80s horror, the kind that has a bit of everything in, horror, comedy, sex. 90 mins and send the audience home happy. I’m a big fan of Giallo films, so there is a bit of that in there. I’m a big fan of the Dutch film ‘The Lift’, which had an influence on this script. But there is a lot of comedy in there too.


So what of the film itself? Receiving strong reviews across the scene, it follows Sid (Jason Mewes) searching for his missing friend in the tower block where they live. Teaming up with neighbour Sarah (Roxanne Pallett), they investigate the mystery buy discover more than they bargained for as they discover a vengeful ghost and more.


Clearly this is one film that begs to be watched by all fans of the genre and it the perfect showpiece for the growth of the genre in the region.


However, one film does not make a regional scene and over the past couple of years there seems to have been an increase in the number of regionally produced horror (Leicester - Zombie Undead, The Wrong Floor; Derby - Wasteland, Nottingham - Zombie Hood).


MM: What is it about the genre that you think makes it so attractive to local film makers?

AM: It is a fun genre to make movies in and there is a market for it. I think there is always a number of horror features being made at anyone time! I think what has changed is the ability to get the word out there about them. Social media makes it much easier to let people know about independent films that are being made and released.


MM: In your role at the Derby Quad, you are obviously coming into contact with local film makers, how do you see the interaction between arts centres and local film makers currently?

AM: We host a bi-monthly night at QUAD called Five Lamps Film Night which allows filmmakers to screen their film on the big screen among an audience. It is kind of an open mic night for filmmakers. But I think the interaction cMidlands Movies writer Marek takes a look at new local film Devil's Tower and asks its Derby based writer Adam Marsh about making a film with one half of Jay and Silent Bob...


Coming this September 15 to home release and limited theatres, is a new horror film named 'Devils Tower' featuring Roxanne Pallet (Emmerdale, Wrong Turn 6, Lake Placid 3) and everyone's favourite stoner Jason Mewes (the legendary Jay of Jay & Silent Bob fame - Clerks, Mallrats etc) but whats really got us interested is whose behind the camera.


Directed by Derbyshire based director Owen Tooth, the film was penned by Derby Quad programmer and co-director of Derby Film Festival; Adam Marsh, and Midlands Movies recently caught up with Adam to discover more about the film, his influences and what it is like getting a major film made while being based in the Midlands.


MM: When you started out, did you ever think that being based in the East Midlands would hinder your ability to network and sell a script?

AM: Yes and no, really. I think you make connections and form relationships with people regardless of where you live, it is just a lot easier to maintain those relationships if you’re in London, for example.


MM: …and what have been the challenges industry wise of living in the region?

AM: I’ve not really had any challenges industry wise per say. I think all the challenges are about the writing. Writing the best script is the challenge. Getting it out there is the admin.


MM: You have an MA in Scriptwriting, how has this helped you develop your craft, and would you recommend a formal qualification for those interested in scriptwriting or currently writing for their own films?

AM: I would recommend it and not just because I teach scriptwriting! It helped me to formalise some of instinctive things I was doing. Understanding how films are structured helps you avoid the pitfalls and also to push the boundaries too.


MM: If you could give any advice to scriptwriters in the Midlands what would it be?

AM: Take your opportunities when you can. Opportunities don’t come along very often, and when you live outside London, they come along even less. Be flexible and pick your battles. Film is a collaborative effort and no two people think exactly the same. Compromise if you can, fight for your idea if you need to.


MM: Is there anything that you are working on at the moment that you could tell us about?

AM: Nothing firmed up yet. A couple of feature scripts in progression and I’m writing a comic erotica novel. Which should be fun!


MM: Before ‘Devils Tower’, you had three short films made - how did these prepare you for writing and marketing your first produced feature length?

AM: They prepared me in no way whatsoever for Devil’s Tower. I had written a number of short films and there is a skill in writing a good short. It is a different skill writing a feature though.


MM: Interestingly, the film appears to blend a few sub-genres, what were your key influences behind the film?

AM: We wanted to make a fun film. I’m a big fan of 80s horror, the kind that has a bit of everything in, horror, comedy, sex. 90 mins and send the audience home happy. I’m a big fan of Giallo films, so there is a bit of that in there. I’m a big fan of the Dutch film ‘The Lift’, which had an influence on this script. But there is a lot of comedy in there too.


So what of the film itself? Receiving strong reviews across the scene, it follows Sid (Jason Mewes) searching for his missing friend in the tower block where they live. Teaming up with neighbour Sarah (Roxanne Pallett), they investigate the mystery buy discover more than they bargained for as they discover a vengeful ghost and more.


Clearly this is one film that begs to be watched by all fans of the genre and it the perfect showpiece for the growth of the genre in the region.


However, one film does not make a regional scene and over the past couple of years there seems to have been an increase in the number of regionally produced horror (Leicester - Zombie Undead, The Wrong Floor; Derby - Wasteland, Nottingham - Zombie Hood).


MM: What is it about the genre that you think makes it so attractive to local film makers?

AM: It is a fun genre to make movies in and there is a market for it. I think there is always a number of horror features being made at anyone time! I think what has changed is the ability to get the word out there about them. Social media makes it much easier to let people know about independent films that are being made and released.


MM: In your role at the Derby Quad, you are obviously coming into contact with local film makers, how do you see the interaction between arts centres and local film makers currently?

AM: We host a bi-monthly night at QUAD called Five Lamps Film Night which allows filmmakers to screen their film on the big screen among an audience. It is kind of an open mic night for filmmakers. But I think the interaction could be stronger. I think a lot of filmmakers don’t think about the cinema as a platform for their films. They tend to get them out there through youtube, vimeo etc. Which is a shame, because there is nothing like watching a horror film with an audience.


MM: Finally, when can we expect to see Devil's Tower in cinemas in the Midlands?

AM: We had the premiere in Manchester on the 10th as part of the run up to Grimmfest and we are doing a screening at Derby QUAD on Sunday 14th September. Then the film is out on DVD and Blu-ray from Monday 15th September.


So check out the film and we look forward to the comic erotica novel from this exciting scriptwriter.


In the meantime, if you live in or around the Derby area you can get your regular big screen horror fix by attending the Fright Club screenings at Derby Quad. For the most up-to-date information, join the Fright Club and support horror on the big screen here: https://www.facebook.com/FriClub


Midlands Movies Marek

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