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By midlandsmovies, May 2 2017 08:27AM

Editor Mike Sales spotlights the latest feature from Midlands filmmaker George McCluskey who discusses his new drama-horror project called Impious.

Hailing from Coventry, George McCluskey is a writer, director and actor and with his new feature Impious, he is taking on a horror idea he’s had brewing for some years. Based around the theme of possession, George has mixed both horror elements with a more real-life drama focused around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

George has self-financed the project with a budget that has so far gone into five figures and he has a history in the horror genre where he also co-wrote, and was lead actor in, the British Independent comedy horror feature film "The Zombie King". This 2013 fright flick starred Hollywood actors Edward Furlong and Corey Feldman. He was also Executive Producer and acted in British Independent horror feature film "Jacobs Hammer" during in the same year.

This new story however is based around a suspected possession. George goes on to explain, “That it is suspected because a priest feels this to be the case whereas the psychiatrist in the film is having none of it”.

With both men friends of the family, the "possessed" man, Tim Baxter, is already suffering from PTSD which itself creates a difficulty as the audience does not know who to actually believe in the story.

George continues, “His long suffering wife Elaine, and step-daughter Mindy, have persevered with his behaviour for years, so when we join the story they are already a family in crisis, but this recent spate of erratic behaviour has taken their situation to a new level”.

“What we get then is a family in turmoil, a psychiatrist who refuses to see anything but what he is trained to see, and a priest who fears evil can be more powerful than good”, summarises George.

The project began on the very first day of 2016 with George saying that, “I wrote the script in January and had just over 16 days to shoot the film in Spring. And I hope to release the film in Summer 2017”.

As Tim refuses to eat, his health diminishing badly, and a spate of biazarre and horrific events happening in the house, all the protagonists end up in a race against time to banish whatever it is that has "gripped" Tim before the situation eventually destroys them all. "The theme for this story is demonic possession but the film is also a thriller and a drama. Inspirations for this film are definitely The Exorcist", Says George.

The film stars many great actors, most of whom are Midlands-based, including Greg Hobbs, Diane Ellis, Jade Callender, Nick Sheard, Ian Brooker and of course George McCluskey himself.

To find out more about the film, including its upcoming release date get following on their social media sites below:

By midlandsmovies, Mar 16 2017 02:49PM

Leicester film Ascension by local movie-maker Rajnish Sharma has been selected to be part of the prestigious Lift-Off Festival line up of true independent cinema. 2017's Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival takes place at Texture in the city's Northern Quarter and Mike finds out more about this impressive feat from Rajnish himself.

Rajnish Sharma's Ascension was selected out of 1000+ global entrants, to screen at Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival this Spring. At the event, all films will be judged and then scored by the attending audience, where winners are potentially screened at any of the ten proceeding Lift-Off global events. Their ultimate aim is to give filmmakers like Rajnish the best exposure possible as they embark on their continued artistic journey within the film industry.

Rajnish explains that, "Ascension focuses on a man who has barricaded himself from a broken, fractured world in order to survive. However, he eventually finds himself having to face the consequences of his actions and the people he has hurt".

"The intention of my debut short film was to create a project with minimal resources and money and still make a brilliant looking film with an engaging narrative", adds Rajnish.

Rajnish believes the screening at the Lift-Off Film Festival is important as it shows that a beginner's film can make huge waves, and that someone who is dedicated to the craft of filmmaking can see their work pay off and their give fuel to their passion.

The screening takes place on Wednesday 29th March 2017 at Texture, 67 Lever Street, Northern Quarter, M1 1FL.

In addition, Lift-Off currently has festivals in Manchester, New York, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam, Seoul, Sydney, Tokyo, Los Angeles and London.

Ben Polhman Co-Director and Co-Founder of Lift-Off says…

"This years competition was extremely tough. It is clear to see that indie filmmaking in Manchester and the surrounding areas are quickly becoming some of the best in the world. Getting into this programme whether you are a local filmmaker or a filmmaker from elsewhere is a really great achievement. These artists are well on their way to becoming industry players!"

Midlands Movies wishes Rajnish all the best as he expands his screenings beyond the region and readers can find out more information about the film on Facebook here:

By midlandsmovies, Jan 15 2017 09:30AM

Midlands Spotlight - The Collector

Coming up later in the year is The Collector, a new indie horror film from Stuart Wheeldon which combines dread and survival in brand new project from two established Midlands filmmakers.

With In Limbo and The Telephone already released, The Collector is the new film that has emerged from the mind of the award-winning production company NineLadiesFilm and AnonMotionPictures.

Billed as an abstract horror, the film follows Elliot who awakes one day in a crowded street begging for food before heading to a derelict house trying to survive his new primal existence. Casting a shadow over Elliot is a mysterious stranger who calls himself the “Collector” who, by rolls of dice, alters the path of our unlucky hero with every intention of sending him to his doom.

Written by Midlanders Nick John Whittle and Stuart Wheeldon, the film will be shot on location in Spain and has already lined up an impressive group of actors for production to start. Playing The Collector himself will be Nigel Barber (above) who has appeared in ‘Spectre’ as well as ‘Rogue Nation’ ‘M:I5’. Also on his CV is ‘Roboshark’ for BUFO/Sony Pictures and Bollywood feature ‘Welcome to Karachi’.

As Elliot, the filmmakers have cast Daniel Booroff who was the winner of the Southern Shorts Award for Excellence in Acting as the character Terry in ‘Evil’s Evil Cousin’. In the role of Lucy is actress Sophie Ablett who has studied drama at Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. Her first job was in Taboo starring Tom Hardy for Scott Free Productions on BBC1/FX. And her later work has included ‘The Railway Children’ in the West End where starred in the lead role of Bobbie before being named as ‘ONE TO WATCH’ by The Independent in March 2016.

Another coup for the filmmakers is the inclusion of indie band Frank who will be supplying a new song for the soundtrack entitled ‘Way We End’. The group have gone from strength to strength with support slots for Manchester’s Proud Mary , Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays and the band recently played their biggest gig to date at the local Derby Arena.

With production well underway, the filmmakers hope to collect many more fans so please support this fantastic new project by following the film’s updates and news at the official website and social media sites:

By midlandsmovies, Jan 2 2017 09:53AM

Midlands Movies finds out about a new sci-fi film from the region called Rogue which is set to land in the Midlands in 2017.

Rogue is the story of an under-siege Earth after the catastrophic results of a rogue planet passing by. Without its own star, the planet is left to roam in space and although most of the world celebrates its passing without collision, one professor may be the only man with the knowledge to truly save life as we know it.

Envisaged by Lincolnshire writer-director Hannah Smith, the film is a student project aiming for high professional standards of production and a passion project for the entire crew who are giant fans of science fiction. The pre-apocalyptic narrative asks question about what people would do if a catastrophe strikes and what to do if you were given a second chance.

After an intense and well supported crowd funding campaign, the filmmakers have raised over £1000 to help cover their production costs

For many years, this film has been in the back of the director’s mind with Hannah explaining that “now is the perfect time to create Rogue and let people into the mind of Quinn, our odd yet compellingly relatable protagonist”.

“Our crew is made up of four hard working and successful students who have created a variety of projects in the past, spanning from the documentary form to a fictional world such as the world of Rogue”, explains Hannah.

“With this experience, we hope to bring an entertaining story forward with Rogue, something that you, as our backers will be proud to have helped us achieve”.

As well as Hannah, her close team is made up of Natasha Cooke as producer and VFX artist, William Gee as director of photography and film editor, and Lois Carr as the sound recordist.

With the fundraising total surpassing expectations at £1,220, Hannah and her team enter 2017 with their plans afoot and with a step into space that they hope we can all relate to.

Follow Hannah on Twitter on her accounts below:

By midlandsmovies, Nov 11 2016 05:18PM

‘A Girl in Words’ is the debut short film written and directed by young filmmaker Daisy Nicholson. It stars up and coming actors Hannah Dunlop and Elliot Woodward and the exciting production is already well underway with the team re-drafting scripts, completing full casting and rehearsing hard.

With storyboarding, shot lists and now shooting finalised Daisy Nicholson is looking to premiere the film at The Phoenix Cinema in Leicester to promote the short to a Midlands audience. Daisy believes this will be a great opportunity to share the film with others, thank all the cast and crew before she undertakes the next stage of entering the film into festivals.

Daisy explains that, “all the money raised will go towards hiring Screen 2 at the Phoenix Cinema”, and adds any further funds raised after the target will be used for a Digital Cinema Package enabling the team to show the film in the best possible quality, as well as entering the film into festivals all around the world.

After an enjoyable shoot, the film's final edit is being completed along with a fun blooper reel to showcase the great attitude felt on the set.

To assist this exciting new project, please head on over to the Kickstarter campaign here:

Please also check out Daisy and her production company One of Four over on Twitter

By midlandsmovies, Nov 8 2016 10:42PM

Midlands Movies writer Kira Comerford recently caught up with filmmaker Joey Lever to talk about his short film Paper Plane. After watching his film, she asked the writer and director a few questions about the ideas for the short and filmmaking in general.

Kira: What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

Joey: Since I was a child, I've always been interested in creation. Whether it be art or stories, I've always had the drive to create something. Getting older, I got more and more interested in how films work and the idea of letting my stories come to life in the form of film. Since the age of 10 I've strived to become a better filmmaker - every day after school I either had to write a story or plan a shoot with my friends. In school I had to excel in all art based projects as I wasn't very good at anything else. Now, 23 years later, I've won various awards; racked up 20 million views on YouTube and over 50k subscribers and I'm incredibly proud of how far I've got.

Kira: Where did the idea for Paper Plane come from?

Joey: The idea of Paper Planes came from the concept of having a horrible atmosphere told in such an innocent way. I've always loved the idea of trying to make something evil not look so bad though the eyes of children. The whole concept of the war came form my great-grandfather who recently passed. I've been told thousands of war stories from his past every time I saw him, so I guess my interest in WWII came from him, which just stuck with me during my first film.

Kira: What made you decide to end the film in the way you did?

Joey: I feel like there is only a few ways I could have ended the film, so I took the realistic approach. 32,000 civilians were killed and 87,000 were seriously injured during The Blitz. Two million houses (60 per cent of which were in London) were destroyed so I felt like this is what needed to happen to the main protagonist to show how evil those times were.

See the full film on the embedded Vimeo link and read Kira's review of the short below:

Paper Plane (2016)

Directed by Joey Lever.

Paper Plane is a short story about the thoughts of two children during the London Blitz in 1940. Timmy's brother is leaving to fight in the war while 50 miles away in London, Evan is trapped in the midst of the London blitz. We see them both communicating in their final moments before everything soon changes.

Paper Plane is the latest short film from writer and director Joey Lever, and I have had the privilege of watching it. I started off thinking it was a lovely period piece charting a snapshot of the story of the war, however by the time the film had finished, lovely wasn't really the most appropriate way to describe it...

I really enjoyed the performances by the two young leads. Alexander Hemley as Timmy and Oliver Ross as Evan were both tremendous as the young boys whose lives were both affected by the war in different ways. There is always something deeply affecting when child actors are used in the right way, and Lever got it bang on here when he cast these two in the main parts.

The story is why I feel it is perhaps wrong to describe Paper Plane as a lovely short film, because it did in fact turn very morbid by the end. I quite liked that about it, however. Sometimes I find, especially with some short films, that the writers are kind of too keen to keep their audiences happy by providing a nice ending, and so, whilst being slightly dark, it was oddly refreshing to have this film end in the way that it did.

On the whole, Paper Plane is a short that doesn't shy away from showing how WW2 affected people here on British soil; more importantly, it showed how children were affected both directly and indirectly by the war.

The direction taken by the film is good to see as it presents to us a filmmaker who is not afraid to take grittier route with his films. I would recommend that anyone thinking of delving into filmmaking themselves take a look at this short as it will provide some ideas on the sorts of stories you can tell, but also ways in which you can tell them to make them stand out from the works of others.

Kira Comerford

By midlandsmovies, Nov 6 2016 10:23AM

Frettin’ is the new film from filmmaker Lee Price and Midlands Movies takes an in-depth look at this exciting new project.

Frettin’ is described as a buddy movie by its director Lee Price but the filmmaker also thinks the feature slots into the mystery genre as it follows the strange tale of two men living off-grid near a canal just a couple of miles from their old lives in society. A human interest story, the characters Jake and Tim centre the narrative and their dialogue covers serious themes of suicide, support with Price adding a father-son-esque dynamic influenced by Steven Spielberg

“My pitch for Frettin’ was a British Midnight Cowboy”, says Price. The lead role of Jake is played by local musician Richard Shields who the director knew from a band before shooting had even began and Craig Spencer was added after Price identified a great good chemistry between the two men. The canals of the surrounding area seemed the perfect place to act as a “rich visual source” for a cinematic story and before too long, Price began shooting his self-written script.

With a story focused on leaving a life behind, Lee Price jokes it may be “the shortest distance travelled in any road movie” but says he was influenced by Hitchcock’s drip-feeding of information whilst creating the screenplay hence the dip into the mystery genre. Frettin’ is also influenced by Robert Rodriguez’s book ‘Rebel Without a Crew’ which is understandable given Price’s solitary quest to write, direct and act as producer on his project.

Hailing from the same town as Gareth Edwards and Ken Loach (Nuneaton in Warwickshire), Price has decided to focus on the local and small but still ensure Frettin’ aims to include universal themes dealing with family, friendship and loss. Price also explains that the characters spoke to him very quickly and was adamant the film used colloquial Midlands dialects to maintain the feeling of closeness.

Costing just £500, Price then threw himself into organising all the logistics of his micro-budget feature but says he is pleased to have struck gold with the inclusion of Bradgate Films to produce his next work.

“Frettin’ is my second feature film and, for better or worse, it’s all me”, says Price and adds that as there’s so little money for filmmakers then why not go for broke and try to implement your own vision. “It’s a pure expression of where I am as a film-maker, emotionally and the technically”.

Currently in the final stages of post-production, Nottingham musician Steve Pinnock is set to add on music and then finally Price will be ready for a big marketing push, adding the final touch to a project he says used a “necessity leading to invention” attitude.

With his third feature Killing With Alice already written and pre-production, Price has moved to Hinckley where he has got involved in the nearby Roots to Shoots festival and even has an eclectic dream he still has yet to fulfil.

“I want to make Gremlins 3 for a big US studio” says Price. “If Joe Dante or Spielberg is reading, I can pack a toothbrush!”.

And a filmmaker who wants to build upon the previous sequel’s fantasy-comedy-horror-family-drama-musical themes is certainly one with big ambitions.”But Frettin’ is unashamedly English, a story based in Nuneaton, the Midlands, and proud of that fact”, concludes Price. And with that, Midlands Movies thinks the director-writer will soon be joining his peers – the alumni of Loach and Edwards – very soon indeed. That’ll do him.

By midlandsmovies, Oct 29 2016 01:06PM

With more projects than you can shake a very wobbly stick at indeed, Nottingham’s current creative wave continues with a brilliant new short called PRINT from Coalescent Films.

Currently into its final third of principle photography, PRINT is written by Nick Archer, Daemian Greaves and Harry Wilding and is also directed by Nick Archer with additional direction from Harry Wilding too.

With a fantastic team of producers in Joe Langham and Oli Braybrook, the project also continues to expand with Dean Blonde having recently joined the group.

In the film itself, PRINT is the story of a rapacious young journalist trying to get ahead at her local newspaper firm. Currently working writing fluff pieces for the online section, she desperately wants to write in print.

And starring as the potty-mouthed anti-heroine is Becki Lloyd (who also had a major role in the production company’s soon-to-be-finished feature Castle Boulevard) whilst Jenn Day stars as Max – a girl who gets what she wants.

Nick explains that the character of Max tends to use, annoy and trample people to get where she wants to be but there is there also humour and flair in her traits.

However, PRINT shows her thoughtless actions eventually do come back to bite her, almost costing her more than just her job.

Set and shot around Nottingham, PRINT is a fast moving drama thriller of 3 parts, with each being a 48-minute “episode”.

Starring a whole host of the regions’ actors and filmmakers, the creators currently have several local TV channels, including Notts TV, interested in screening the finished project which shows the high goals the team have for their work.

The film also stars regional talent Christian Alexander, Michael Muyunda, Michelle Darkin-Price and Simon Ward as well as Phil Molloy, Tori Hope, Lara Graham and new talented young actor, Cohen Day.

See the first teaser trailer above and stay tuned for more updates as Midlands Movies cover the future development of this collaborative new project involving some of the best talent in the region.

Midlands Movies Mike

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