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By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 08:35AM

Midlands Spotlight - A Sort of Burial

A Sort of Burial is a new comedy, currently in pre-production, from Coventry based production company, Korky Films which was written by and will be directed by Midlands filmmaker Lee Charlish.

The film follows Alistair who is late for a funeral which annoys many including Carla who is there to say goodbye to her loyal family friend who is has now passed away. With the Vicar starting the service and Harry 'the fencer' having a job to do, the film is a funny look at a final send off.

Written by Midlands Movies Awards winner Lee Charlish, he again assumes directing and editing duties on this new film and he feels it’s a departure from his recent, more darker offerings.

Carla, the movie’s lead, will be played by Korky Films stalwart Marian ‘Mazzy’ Elizabeth who Lee describes as "solid, dependable and talented and she was the natural choice to assume the grief stricken and highly-agitated Carla".

Alistair, her hapless close friend will be played by Leicester-based actor, Martyn Luke. Lee adds, "Martyn is a well-established voice-actor who has provided voices on a few Korky Films animations previously. However, he is true talent in front of the screen too and is soon to appear in a few other local short films. His comic timing and expressive personality will bring the right level of credence to the often ‘put upon’ Alistair".

In addition, Leamington-based filmmaker Mark Hancock, who recently played The Psychopath in the last Korky Films ‘live-action’ release The Cold Caller, will assume a decidedly different role as Harry the Fencer.

And completing the cast is Stoke-based acting talent, Harrington Day as The Vicar, Gregory. "An accomplished, local actor, Harry is in constant demand by filmmakers for his professionalism and acting brilliance. He will compliment proceedings with a stoic and reverential turn in front of the cameras", says Lee.

As with The Cold Caller, the crew list for A Sort of Burial isdeliberately small as again, the production will be total self-funded. Like a lot of local filmmakers, Lee will use his house and garden, and minimal exterior locations as well, to keep costs deliberately down.

But Lee doesn't want to stop there. "More, larger scale scripts have been written, however, for the short-term, I have concentrated on preparing a slate of smaller-scale films, deliberately written so they can be filmed economically on a shoestring budget".

He adds, "To be clear, everyone gets paid; we fully support the needs of creatives, but we just cannot compete with projects who secure funding. For us, it just isn’t there, despite our output and successes. That said, our small-scale movies are no less ambitious and the level of professionalism we squeeze out of productions is a testament to the team’s talent".

Behind the camera is Damien Trent, another Coventry-based filmmaker (from Doktored Films) and Damien has previously worked as a sound recordist on the Korky Films/Jam-AV production, Scarecrow and operated camera on The Cold Caller. And finally, Ryan Clarke, a new member of the team will provide assistance to Lee as First AD.

Lee is currently looking for local musicians who may be able to assist in crafting a score and/or creating an original song to complement proceedings.

"The movie also requires a sound recordist and we're actively trying to recruit a competent professional before shooting begins on May 5th in Coventry, West Midlands".

For more information follow Korky Films on Twitter and Facebook

By midlandsmovies, Jul 26 2018 07:31PM

Last Call (2018)

Directed by Harrington Day

Land Ahead Films

How people cope, or don’t, with the loss of a loved one is just one of the questions posed in new drama Last Call from Midlands writer-actor-director Harrington Day.

A proud Father (Harrington himself as Harry) takes his six-year old daughter Ellie shopping, but soon their touching tranquillity is brought to a horrific end by a young male driver called Ryan (played by David Kelly-Smith). With dance music hedonism and distracted by a ringing mobile phone, the man fails to pay full attention and the young girl is devastatingly killed.

Ending with a well-framed “God-shot”, the short jumps to the household of Ryan’s family as he ruminates on his mistakes. “Low life scum” quotes step-father David (David Leo McLaughlin) as he reads aloud from one of the many obnoxious scrawls posted through their letterbox by angry neighbours after Ryan receives a lenient court sentence.

The fantastic piano music score is a great accompaniment to the dark themes of the short as lonely melancholic notes reflect a family tearing itself apart. With little sympathy David throws accusations of selfishness at the boy who has escaped a prison sentence but hasn’t escaped a life mired in remorse. Protecting her son from further stigma, Ryan’s mother (a distressed Tracy Gabbitas as Kathy) says David should leave, knowing the demons already facing her loved one.

The bulk of the short however is an extended emotional scene as we return to the forlorn father – carrying a bottle of liquor and haunted by ghostly voices – when Harry meets with his upset wife in a church.

A great location, and well-filmed by Day, the church echoes the film’s mature themes focusing on our errors, regret and sin. The dialogue here begins by being a bit on the nose – “You’ve got your whole life to live”, “I’ve got nowhere else to go” – making the clichéd monologue feel a bit redundant owing to the great set-up work already delivered.

However, the scene soon rises above with two terrific performances from the couple. Harrington’s heart-broken father drowning his sorrows in drink (a metaphorical “last call” at the bar) is powerful in its rawness. Claire Lowrie (as Susan) gives a divine performance as a devout wife dealing with the harrowing outcomes of their loss.

The sacred truths that come out are tragic and painful, yet completely believable. Her sacrifice and honesty creates tension as Harry’s “call to prayer” (or call to arms?) ends with him cursing his predicament.

Kneeling at the altar of drink, Harry’s alcoholism is also echoed with Ryan’s mum as both individuals drug themselves into numbness to deal with the ramifications of the tragedy. However, with guilt on all sides, the film doesn’t attempt to lay blame, positioning its main players as all victims plagued by terrible mistakes.

With two of the best performances I have seen in a Midlands film in recent memory (and a great support cast too) the strong emotional beats will have audiences enthralled, making Last Call a captivating and gripping film.

The director’s devotion to getting great actors to deliver committed roles is the short’s highlight however. An emotional ride that could lead to self-destruction, audiences will see how a phone call can change life in a heartbeat. But can it save one? Well, with terrific storytelling and an emotional core, I highly recommend checking out the chilling Last Call to find out.

Mike Sales

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