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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.



By midlandsmovies, Aug 25 2018 08:59AM



Midlands Interview - Joe Roguszka


20th Century Tribe is an upcoming short film nostalgically looking at the 90s youth and rave culture in the UK and Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales catches up with the progress of this exciting new Midlands film by speaking to the film's director Joe Roguszka.


Midlands Movies: Morning Joe. Can you tell our readers how your new film came about?

Joe Roguszka: I have fond memories of the 1990s from the perspective of a child. I feel it’s a time period that was vibrant and exciting atmospherically, stylistically and sociologically. For several years I have had a curious interest in the ‘90s rave scene, which has gradually grown over time until in the last twelve months it has become a fully-fledged obsession.


MM: And what inspired 20th Century Tribe?

JR: Well, I have an immense fascination and love for 90s rave music, the visual aesthetics, and for the feeling of non-judgemental unity that appears to have been significant in the ‘90s rave scene. As someone who loves to get lost in the trance of good techno music, loves to dance to that kind of music, I have a degree of admiration for the nightclub scene at that time, whereas to be brutally honest I feel that today’s nightclub scene is comparatively vapid and quite disappointing.


MM: And are you from the Midlands yourself?

JR: Yes. I was born in Derbyshire in the very early 1990s and have lived here my whole life. Since a very young age I have had a passionate love for cinema, for the amazing power it has to allow the viewer to temporarily escape their present situation, to become immersed in a world and a story completely separate from their own. Today I consider myself an avid lover of cinema, and an aspiring writer/director. I have a particularly keen interest in developing as a screenwriter and having recently graduated from Derby University with a degree in Film Production.


MM: What have the struggles of getting the production to completion so far?

JR: This is a challenging question, as the production has been so ambitious that there have been numerous difficulties. I think finding and securing suitable locations is always very challenging, and working at such a micro-budget level I have often had to make the best of locations with issues such as noise pollution or a likelihood of interference from members of the public. With this project being set in the 1990s as well, even some of the interior locations have been challenging. Usually interior locations allow more control, but we did have to be very eagle eyed for anything in the frame which was too new for the early 1990s period. Recruiting extras for the rave scenes was particularly difficult, especially considering the location was a drive away so we had to arrange transport as well. Securing permission to use licensed 1980s and 1990s rave music has been tremendously difficult. Ultimately however I think all these difficulties are the result of working with such a small budget, so as has always been the case with films I’ve worked on I believe the most difficult aspect has been securing financial backing and being able to work with the budget we have.



MM: So can you tell us a bit about the main characters?

JR: The protagonist is an eighteen-year-old girl named Heather, played by Becki Jones. She has just finished sixth form and is in a position of dilemma between rushing into university despite being unsure what she wants to do, or taking a gap year to learn more about herself and what she wants out of life. She’s quite a socially awkward person, and at the beginning of the film is still quite new to the rave scene, having only recently been befriended by the supporting characters. Katie is played by Charlotte King. She’s protective and sociable, having taken Heather under her wing so to speak and introduced her to the rave scene, simply due to an enthusiasm for meeting new people and making new friends. Dean Morris plays Hud, a boyish, high energy character who similar to Katie is very sociable and loves to make friends. Danny Patrick plays Brett, a morally ambiguous character whose energy is somewhat averse to that of the rave scene, in that he can be quite hostile to new people. Spence, played by Instinct Elkanah, is sort of Brett’s wingman although he’s much more good natured and is perhaps quite naive with regards to some of Brett’s concerning traits. Finally, Justine Moore plays Brett’s girlfriend Amber. She’s in a situation where she’s in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t treat her particularly well, but she stays with him due to low self-esteem and for the principle of being seen with an older guy.


MM: How did you come to cast the actors in these roles? What were you looking for?

JR: To be honest I did have a few actors in mind when I was writing the script, actors that I had worked with before who I felt worked well and that I felt I worked well with. There was one actor who I met by chance while I was writing the script, and I had an amazing experience where it felt like I had met my character, in that the actor was almost exactly as I had imagined the character from the way they spoke, to mannerisms, physical appearance and personality. I cast this actor in the proof of concept short which we shot in February/March, the idea being that this would serve as an audition for the role in the film itself. They were great in that, so I kept them in the role for the film. We held open auditions for all the other roles, and there were definitely cases where actors were not what I had initially envisioned when writing the role, but fit the role surprisingly well in the audition so that I was happy to cast them.


MM: And how much of your own experiences are in 20th Century Tribe?

JR: I had a sort of realisation at the beginning of this year, that certain characters I have written tend to be manifestations of different parts of myself. This is particularly true of the short film Collision that I wrote and directed last year and is too for 20th Century Tribe. In particular, I feel like the protagonist Heather is a manifestation of my shy, introvert self, and that Hud is a manifestation of my high energy, extrovert self which doesn’t come out very often. I think the place that Heather is in is a reflection of how I have felt for perhaps a few years now; unsure of what I’m really doing with my life, what I’m working towards, where I belong and with whom I belong, essentially looking for a sense of belonging. Meanwhile Hud is myself on the rare occasions that I’m carefree and comfortable in my surroundings. There are certain other characters where I’ve drawn influence from real people I have known, perhaps a little cheekily in some cases. Sometimes I make a point of remembering amazing dialogue, or incidents, that I witness or am a part of in real life, with the clear intention to use it in something I write. So there are moments in the film, whether dialogue or something else, which I have witnessed in real life.



MM: What are your favourite films?

JR: My favourite genres are actually dystopia and western, each of which I have a huge interest in and a huge appreciation for. Dystopia in particular I am kind of obsessed with so much that most of my written assessed work at university was on dystopian cinema. I like dystopias that explore the sociological consequences of disaster, or social or economic failure, The Warriors, A Clockwork Orange, Mad Max being my favourites, although I recently discovered and immensely loved the Aussie film Dead End Drive-In. I keep telling people about it hoping someone will watch it and love it as much as me


MM: Any music films?

JR: With regards to films about youth, music and partying, this is definitely another kind of film which I very much enjoy. I like ‘slice of life’ films that tell a relatively simple story, I find them very relatable and endearing. In particular I’m a big admirer of the works of Shane Meadows, particularly Dead Man’s Shoes and This Is England (film and tv). I think Rumble Fish, Dazed and Confused and American Honey are great films about youth culture, and I love the lesser known The Way Way Back. I also have a high opinion of Fast Times at Ridgemont High, which is my personal favourite of that particular breed of 1980s youth fiim. I do enjoy many films where a particular dance or music scene plays a significant part. One of my all time favourites is Boogie Nights, which I think is great fun, highly entertaining but also at times brutally real, ultimately evocative and endearing. Meanwhile I think British films like Spike Island, Northern Soul and of course Human Traffic are enjoyable explorations of their respective music scenes.


MM: What filmmakers inspire you and did that influence any creative decisions?

JR: I certainly think I’ve drawn influence from the works of Shane Meadows and from Andrea Arnold’s American Honey. I’m a big advocate of allowing actors a great deal of creative freedom. I encourage them to play around with dialogue and body language, as I want them to be able to feel very natural and very comfortable in their role. It’s very rare that I ask an actor to say something exactly as written in the script, as I feel allowing the actor such freedom encourages a more natural performance. I like the way Terrence Malick allows the audience a brief glimpse into characters’ thoughts using voice-over dialogue, which may have influenced some ideas I am playing around with regarding the rave scenes. One filmmaker whose work I find particularly inspires me to want to write and direct films is Stanley Kubrick. I find his films to be very immersive, psychologically fascinating, atmospherically enthralling and often visually stunning both in use of camera as well as costume and sets. I would love to create something as completely enthralling and unnerving as The Shining, a huge ambition I hope to work towards.


MM: So where and when can people see the finished film 20th Century Tribe?

JR: Well the film is currently in the first phase of editing. We have a small team of editors currently working on the rough cut, however they will be working on their degree alongside this so we don’t expect the edit to be finished until spring/summer 2019. We also have a few little scenes to film in September, so I’m currently working on preparing for that. The intention will be to enter the film into festivals, so where it will be shown is yet to be seen. From there it depends how the film does in the festival circuit really.


MM: And what’s next on the horizon for you?

JR: I will begin a masters in writing for the screen in September, so at the moment I do intend to work on my ability as a writer. I would like to write screenplays ideally for television and feature films, I currently have numerous ideas I’m working on so I’m really waiting to see which will emerge as my next project.


MM: And finally, do you have any advice for any local filmmakers looking to start their own project - either in front of or behind the camera?

JR: People who have their own equipment, particularly camera, sound and lighting, are essential. If you are a student in film or media and have access to equipment from the equipment centre, utilise it. Be prepared to spend your own money on your film, as you probably will have to, and if the budget is looking tight then only spend money where you absolutely need to. Many locations can be used for free or a very low price if you are honest, polite and friendly with location owners. Make a project that people want to be involved in, be sociable, friendly, enthusiastic and be confident about what you want to make. You have to have love and excitement for your project, otherwise no one else will.


Thank you Joe.


Find out more about 20th Century Tribe on their social media pages below:

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/20th_Tribe

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/20thCenturyTribe


By midlandsmovies, Aug 19 2018 09:30AM



Midlands Interview - Christopher Bevan and Belinda Basson talk The Other


Midlands Movies speaks to the director Christopher Bevan and Producer Belinda Basson of upcoming local film The Other - an ambitious and gripping short thriller currently in production from the award-winning team.


Midlands Movies: Hi both, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Chris Bevan: Hello. I’m a Derby-based director working across shorts, music videos, commercials and documentaries with a real interest in thriller, sci-fi and drama films. In addition to freelancing I also am the creative director of my production company YSP Media.

Belinda Basson: I moved into film production following a career in corporate communications, marketing and PR, fulfilling an ambition I had had originally to work in film as a first career. I am now Director of film production company Dreamfusion Productions, with a diverse portfolio of films completed.


MM: And how long have you worked in the film industry?

CB: I’ve been making films for a good 12-13 years now since picking up a handycam at 16 years old and making action movies with my friends and family. Since then I’ve turned it into my full-time career and have never looked back!

BB: I have worked in different capacities in film production for ten years, producing a diverse body of work through my company Dreamfusion Productions. My collaboration with Chris began six years ago and we have written, developed and produced a wide range of films since the first project we worked on together.


MM: It’s great to see such collaboration. So, what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?

BB: The biggest recurring hurdle is finding all the resources to get films made, from funding to locations. That said, by working with Chris and several excellent teams of cast and crew, we have brought some great films to completion, all with high production value, even when limited funds have been available.

CB: Belinda and I have collaborated on quite a few films now and I think as time goes by, the challenge of finding the funding to realise these ideas and concepts as they become greater in scope and ambition is definitely a hurdle but one we have tackled head on. As a producer Belinda is ambitious and never backs down from a challenge, always finding a way to pull off the seemingly impossible!


MM: Your new film is The Other. Can you tell our readers a bit about it and how it came about?

BB: The idea for 'The Other' came from a film I once saw called 'The Man Who Haunted Himself'. In what was widely recognised as Roger Moore's best and most chilling performance, a successful man has his comfortable life challenged by unexplained occurrences which have an increasingly dramatic and devastating effect on his mental state. The film left a lasting impression and I have long wanted to revisit the 'doppelganger' notion but in a contemporary context relevant for society today and reflecting the pressures of our everyday lives.

CB: We were excited to bring on board writer Ben Errington to develop the story and script for The Other. Our story follows Marcus, an ambitious chef who wants to reach the heights of his profession. His life is stable and predictable until one day an unexplained event sets his life on a frightening course, increasingly throwing his life into chaos and making him question his own sanity.



MM: And how did you come to cast your actors Adam Horvath, Dani Tonks, Liz Leonard, Christopher Tajah?

CB: The lead of Marcus was definitely written with Adam Horvath in mind. We’d worked with him on a project a few years ago and having seen his performance in Derby Theatre’s production of ‘Brassed Off’ we knew he could deliver both the depth and range of emotion that the challenging role of Marcus required. Belinda was very keen to cast Adam and we were all delighted when he loved the script and accepted the role!

BB: For the roles of Ruth, Wendy and Phillip we put out casting calls and had a great response. We managed to narrow down a shorter list of actors who appeared to be a close fit our character profiles and held auditions in both London and Derby. Of the great calibre of actors we auditioned, we cast Dani, Liz and later Christopher.


MM: As we’re a local organisation we are always keen to find out how filmmakers make the decision to create their movie in the Midlands?

BB: The Midlands has a wealth of film making and acting talent and we wanted to reflect the quality of both people and locations in the region. We decided on Derby as we are based in the City and our lead actor is from Derby. We were very fortunate to find and receive permission to film in some great locations.

CB: We filmed in the city centre with amazing support from Derby Museums and had some additional locations in Sandiacre and Ripley.

BB: We also chose Birmingham due to the excellent support available from Film Birmingham, which was outlined to us by Sindy Campbell at an RTS Midlands networking event. We were very keen to achieve the maximum production value possible so chose to aim for feature-scale settings. One of the ways to achieve this was to have an impressive cityscape backdrop, which was perfectly delivered by the City of Birmingham.


MM: And are you both from the region yourselves?

CB: I was born in Shrewsbury and later moved to Derby so have always lived in the Midlands.

BB: I am not originally from the region but studied in the Midlands and have spent a considerable amount of time in both Derby and Nottingham.


MM: And with the film ready to go, how was the actual shooting?

BB: The shoot was challenging in terms of the number and types of locations, but our excellent cast and crew rose to the challenge and delivered awe-inspiring work! We are very excited at the prospect of working with them again to finish The Other.

CB: We had such a committed cast and crew and working with them across the main block of filming last year was a pleasure. Of all the films I’ve worked on as director, this felt the most ambitious and I’m really pleased with the results so far. We have shot 80% of the film now and are looking to crowdfunding to support the final 20% and post-production.



MM: And with regards to your influences, what films or filmmakers inspire you?

CB: I’ve always been a huge fan of Clint Eastwood’s work with Unforgiven being one of my all-time favourites. In terms of big names, I’ve always been inspired by Fincher, Spielberg, Nolan and Villeneuve but I also look to directors such as Damien Chazelle, Ryan Coogler, Gareth Edwards and Debra Granik to name but a few. It would be remiss of me not to mention my love for Star Wars and huge admiration for George Lucas too!

BB: I have been inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Spielberg, Coppola, Nolan and the naturalistic directing style of Clint Eastwood. I also really like the quirky, visionary creative styles of David Lynch and the Coen brothers. I have too many film favourites to mention here!


MM: So did those sway any of your creative decisions in The Other?

BB: There are several stylistic themes in the film which reference the styling of these great directors, especially Alfred Hitchcock.

CB: I worked closely with DP Karl Poyzer and we frequently referenced Fincher’s work on Gone Girl and Zodiac in particular during pre-production on The Other when developing the look. With regards to story and character, Villeneuve’s Enemy and Hitchcock’s Vertigo both came up in conversation in terms of creative influences for contemporary and classical representations of doppelgangers in film.


MM: And when and where can people expect to see The Other?

BB: We are currently aiming to raise funds to complete the filming of the remaining two striking scenes through crowdfunding support. If we are successful, we would hope to have the film completed by early next year.

CB: It’s an exciting time for us as we are gearing up to launch our IndieGoGo campaign for the film! Should we be successful in crowdfunding these two integral scenes and our post-production, we would hope to begin submitting to festivals within the next six months and a premiere will hopefully not be far away!


MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

BB: Our next point of focus will be a challenging feature with themes that should appeal to a very wide and diverse audience. I can reveal no more at this stage!

CB: This will be another YSP Media and Dreamfusion Productions collaboration and we have spent four years developing this project. We’re hoping to get things rolling once The Other is completed and released – watch this space!


Thank you both.


The Other’s IndieGoGo pre-launch page can be found here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-other-a-short-thriller-film-drama--2/coming_soon/x/208337


And check the teaser trailer here:







By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2018 09:00AM



Midlands Interview - Deborah Haywood


Midlands Movies Editor Mike Sales speaks to local filmmaker Deborah Haywood about her new film Pin Cushion, bullying and the brave decision to shoot back at the local school she grew up in.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Deborah. Thanks for agreeing to speak to us today. Please can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?


Deborah Haywood: Hiya. Well, my name is Deborah Haywood and I’m from Swadlincote. I’ve made five short films and have recently complete my first feature film, Pin Cushion.


MMM: And how long have you worked in the film industry?


DH: For ten years. I always wanted to write and I was writing scripts and wanted to read British ones and so I asked producer Sally Hibbin at Parallax (who was once Ken Loach’s producer) for a job as a script reader. To get the (unpaid) job she gave me two scripts and asked me to work out which one was on the rejection pile, and which one was in development. I had to write notes for both of them and luckily I picked the correct one that was in development and Sally liked the notes so much she asked me to become the script editor on it. The script was by the very talented actor and writer Tracy Brabin. Who is now, of course, Labour MP for Batley and Spen!


MMM: That's a great story. So what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?


DH: As a writer, I think it’s been learning how to respond to notes. How to progress the script and story so that it satisfies the reader/audience while still keeping my original intention and vision.


MMM: Your new film is Pin Cushion. Can you tell our readers a bit about it and how it came about?


DH: It’s a dark fairy tale love story between an oddball Mother and Daughter and how their moving to a new town affects their relationship. I first wrote the treatment in 2008 and it’s been through various different lives and dark alleys and at times (a lot of the time actually) I never believed it would get made. I’m really glad I persisted.



MMM: And how did you come to cast leads Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan?


DH: Kharmel Cochrane and her team found Lily and I picked her out of a massive amount of videos they sent me. They had worked with her before for a pop video. I told them I was looking for someone who seemed untouched by modern life, and Lily felt like that in both her essence and her unusual looks. She looked like a pretty prawn or a beautiful rare salmon who had never seen dry land. So I met her and I fell in love! I think Gavin got the script to Joanna? Then Kharmel fixed up a meeting? I’m not exactly sure!


There was so much happening and often these things just magically happen and I’m not always privy to the ins and outs! All I know is we went up to Manchester to meet Joanna on her day off because she was shooting No Offence. And we talked and talked and I instinctively knew that if Joanna said yes then she would take such good care of Lyn. And she did. They both did. I think both Lily and Joanna cared for Iona and Lyn a great deal and that shows on screen and in their wonderfully sensitive performances.


MMM: That sounds great that such a bond was made between the cast. But how did you make the decision to film in the Midlands?


DH: Yes, I’m from Swad! (Swadlincote). When I’m writing I somehow always picture everything set there because I know it all so well. I was a bit nervous about shooting a film in my home town in case everyone thought I thought I was ‘it.’ But everyone was really welcoming and we actually shot in my old school, Pingle, which turned out to be amazing. I’m so glad we shot it there because it felt more authentic for me and I think I’d have felt insecure shooting such a personal story in a place that I didn’t know like the back of my hand.


MMM: That must have been like going back to the past! And how much of your other own experiences were included in Pin Cushion?


DH: Well, I was bullied at school and I suffered as an adult because of it. I still do, sometimes. It isn’t really physically autobiographical, it’s more like emotionally autobiographical. I think I definitely drew from people I’ve known when I first started writing the characters. But then they transformed into their own characters the more I developed the script.





MMM: What films or filmmakers inspire you? Did that influence any creative decisions in Pin Cushion?


DH: So many! The films that inspired Pin Cushion include Sweetie, by Jane Campion. Carrie, by Brian de Palma, Heavenly Creatures by Peter Jackson. Welcome to the Doll’s House by Todd Solondz. I also love David Lynch and the Hungarian novelist Agota Kristop inspired me. I also admire and am inspired by Lynne Ramsay and Sarah Polley and Jane Campion and Cate Shortland.


MMM: And where can people see Pin Cushion?


DH: It’s getting a release nationwide in select cinemas from July 13th, with previews set up in some cinemas, along with a tour from Bird’s Eye View, as part of their Reclaim The Frame campaign.


MMM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?


I’m just starting to write a postnatal depression horror called SQUARK, and a kind of comedy in the tone of my short film SIS, that is also a musical!


Pin Cushion will be released in select cinemas across the UK from Friday 13th July


Check out http://pincushionfilm.co.uk/ – for more information and cinema listing details.





By midlandsmovies, May 11 2018 07:30PM



Midlands Interview - Birmingham actress and filmmaker Hayley Davis


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to West Midlands creative Hayley Davis about her film work and new web series Random where the talented actress has created a series of exciting monologues to flex her acting work into new media.


Midlands Movies: Hiya Hayley. Can you please tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hayley Davis: Hello! I'm a Birmingham based actor and writer. I'm Birmingham born and raised but moved away to study and after university I moved to London for a few years before realising that I couldn't balance being a creative with being able to rent and buy food in one of the most expensive cities in the world! So I came back to Birmingham and really started concentrating on making my own work.


MM: And what attracted you to working in the film industry?

HD: It's strange to think of myself as being "in the film industry" as I'm still in the very early stages of my career. I actually started writing film purely because I wanted to be in a short film! I was trying to get acting work with only a little experience and everyone was telling me that unpaid work was the way forward. I just thought, well if I'm not getting paid anyway, I've got ideas so I may as well write something, get the crew together myself and then I can schedule it all around my paid work.


MM: That's great. So, what hurdles did that entail and how did you overcome them?

HD: Apart from the logistics of producing a film and getting a project up and on its feet, the biggest hurdle was to stop waiting for permission to create something. I waited for so long to start making my own work because, to be honest, I was scared shitless. Am I good enough? Can I do this? Am I "worthy"? Will people think it's shit? Once I thought, you know what, no-one is going to hand you a job so you either get over your anxiety or nothing will ever happen. I just got on with it. Even if people don't like my work, I'm not going to die.


MM: You also have a new series called Random on your site. Can you tell our readers a bit about that?

HD: I've been doing a lot of corporate roleplay acting over the last year, which isn't very creative and can get a bit boring. I wanted to make sure that I was keeping my creativity going. I ALWAYS feel like I should be making more work and I wanted to create something that was fairly quick to produce but also allowed me to challenge myself.


Random is a set of monologues that I write by going on Snopes.com which is a website that debunks or confirms various stories, urban legends, news articles etc. Some of the stuff on there is crazy. So, I select a random story and then write and perform a monologue based on the story. So far there's been a UFO fanatic, a murderous wife and a teacher who has a momentary loss of control. The idea was to post every two weeks or so, but my work schedule has been busy, so I try to do them as and when I can.



MM: The Get Out Clause brought you a lot of attention including a win at BFF. How did that project come about?

HD: That was so crazy. As I mentioned it was really something I did because I wanted some short film footage to help with acting work. I had already made a very small film / monologue called Would Like to Meet but wanted to do something a bit bigger. I wrote, produced and starred in the film and then it languished on my laptop for a year or two. I didn't do anything with it. Then last year on a whim, I entered it into the BFF and then forgot about it. When I was told it was nominated for Best Local Film, I thought, that's nice. It won't win, but I'll have a night out at the awards and that will be something. So, when it did win I nearly fell out of my chair. It was such a lovely feeling to have this thing that I had made from nothing, with no expectations, receive some recognition.




MM: You also both act and write. Do you have a preference of one over the other? What do you bring to each discipline?

HD: A few years ago I would have said that I wanted to be recognised as an actor more than anything. But now for me they go hand in hand. I find both challenging and rewarding in lots of ways and they inform each other. Writing makes me a better actor and vice versa.


MM: Can you give any advice can you give to other actors out there to get noticed?

HD: Please let me know if you find this out because I'd love to know! It's hard. I'm very much trying to be "noticed" myself. I'm working on the theory that if I do everything I can, make work, try to get that recognised, supported, enjoyed then the profile will come.


MM: And what has been your greatest achievement so far?

HD: I think one of the things that makes me most proud is changing from working in jobs I hated and made me unhappy (office, corporate) to be able to make money from acting and/or creative jobs. I think back to a couple of years ago when I was sat on my lunch break, in a badly fitting blouse crying because I hated what I was doing and I'm thankful that I haven't had to do that for a good while now. It could all change tomorrow but I still think that's an achievement.


MM: And who has inspired you in your work?

HD: Of course I'm in awe of brilliance like Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright. But I am also really inspired by women who have had success with creating their own work. Michaela Cole, Phoebe Waller-Bridges, Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Lena Dunham and Ava Duvernay. I look to them for inspiration.


MM: Who are you favourite Midlands creatives out there you’d recommend our readers checking out?

HD: Elinor Coleman is a wonderful writer/performer who wrote a show called Baby Daddy which was on at the Birmingham Rep. Not film, but a lovely Birmingham based performer. [Editor: check it out at this link - click here].


MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?

HD: I'll be continuing to create Random so keep an eye out for those. I'm also in the process of writing my next short film which I'm really excited about and will hopefully be a bigger project than The Get Out Clause. I'm also involved in a pilot which I am also co-writing and is being filmed in the Autumn which I'm hoping will lead to bigger things. Just keep an eye on my website. It will all be on there!


Check out Hayley Davis’s new blog series ‘Random’ on her website at www.mshayleydavis.com


And follow for her latest news on Twitter @mshayleydavis






By midlandsmovies, May 5 2018 01:29PM



Interview - Director and Writer Andy Collier


by Guy Russell


Charismata is the new film from directors Andy Collier and Toor Mian, which has been selected to play at this year’s Derby Film Festival in May2018. Our roving reporter Guy Russell got a chance to ask Andy about Charismata, his experiences making the film and what’s in store for him next.


The lead character Rebecca Farraway has to work within a culture of sexism and bullying in the department. With the current popularity of the MeToo movement, Charismata seems to have arrived at an important time. Was there a specific moment that made you start writing and if so what was it?

We wrote the film in 2014/15 so any current topicality is entirely accidental. Actually I think these issues have been around forever, and we aren’t being particularly original in exploring them. Rebecca’s character was pretty much completely inspired by (or, “ripped off from”!) Mia Farrow’s role in Rosemary’s Baby and, especially, Catherine Deneuve’s in Repulsion. So what’s topical now was apparently topical 40 years ago too. Hopefully things are changing now though so in future people will be ripping off some other aspect of horror movies from several decades earlier.


Your 2014 short The Seventeenth Kind, Charismata and your upcoming horror Perpetual have quite original premises, where do you draw your stories from? Personal experiences, people you know etc?

I think I just painted myself into a corner. Charismata was basically a mash up featuring the plot of Alan Parker’s Angel Heart with the story of the three central characters from the Apartment Trilogy. So on one level entirely unoriginal! However, by taking things in original directions and confounding audience expectations we can, hopefully, do something at least vaguely interesting.


The Seventeenth Kind and Perpetual are both adaptations. The first of a short story of the same name, which was extremely funny and very original. I thought it would either translate to a great short film or an absolutely terrible one. Luckily it came out ok I think. We were talking with a US studio for a long time about making that into a TV show, but that fizzled out as these things usually do.


Perpetual is based on a novel called “The German” which I read when it was released in 2011 and loved. We barely changed it... except by moving it from 1944 to 2019 and changing the protagonist from a German refugee in Texas who had fled the Nazis to an Iraqi refugee in Texas who had fled ISIS. Of course, the local Trumper Joes don’t like him much.



You also act in Charismata, is this something you’d like to do more often?

Haha no it’s more of a recurring cameo that crops up 3 or 4 times. I wasn’t allowed any lines because I sound like an idiot. I only slipped my name into the acting credits list to annoy Tor (Co-Director of Charismata). It worked.


I think I might also get to appear as Norwegian Cthulhu Cultist #6 in The Colour of Madness and Angry Ginger Redneck #4 in Perpetual though, if I play my cards right. Fingers crossed…


Charismata has been praised by critics for not relying on typical horror tropes, would you agree it’s an exciting time to work within the genre?

Absolutely, yes. There is so much great stuff being made now and so much of it is breaking moulds. I actually love attending festivals and watching the selected films as you get to see a curated sample of the most original stuff that’s coming out before anybody else does. Obviously you get to see some utter crap too, but that’s part of the fun.


With this being your first Feature film, how did this differ apart from the obvious length to making a short film? With Perpetual being another feature, would you explore shorts again?

That’s a good question. Actually I think I’m pretty rubbish at shorts because I tend to make them work like long-form stories anyway, rather than either “slice of life” or “set up - punchline” that good shorts tend to have. Also, sadly, shorts have pretty much zero commercial value so it would be unlikely that we’ll do any more.


Unless I’m mistaken this is the first time sharing you both share directing duties? Did this take some time to adapt? Did working closely together previously help?

It worked very well. We did a huge amount of prep work and argued for at least a year, so by the time we got to shooting we were 100% aligned. That worked out especially well on a micro budget shoot which was very ambitious in terms of number of cast and number of locations. Something was always exploding, catching fire or flooding, so while one of us was off set sorting out the ambulances the other could go on directing without interruption.


Social media plays a huge part in a lot of independent productions, was this the case for you? If so how did this help Charismata?

In our case we only really got the social media going after the film was finished. We didn’t crowd fund the film and we didn’t self-distribute - which are two areas where micro budget films like Charismata often need to connect with horror fans directly. Social media actually worked best in our case for connecting with news outlets/magazines/blogs/reviewers - we managed to get quite a bit of great coverage by connecting there. It’s hard work though!



Have you had any experience with the Midlands before, either shooting or festival wise?

Charismata screened in Leicester at a genre fest called Grindhouse Planet which was great fun. I’m from Sheffield originally but one of the bits that is (or at least was back in the day) technically Derbyshire. Does that count?


I can see your next feature has a filming location in the USA? As a producer does this take a lot more preparation?

Interesting question. I don’t think it takes more prep but it’s definitely much harder logistically, as it’s miles away! Some local help is an absolute must. For Perpetual we have a local line producer helping and the Utah Film Commission have been amazing. It’s still hard though.


What excites you most about the filmmaking experience? Pre-Production? Writing? Directing? Editing etc?

Unlike most people I find editing to be a total chore. That’s definitely the worst part. I think the reason is that we don’t shoot like most people: get plenty of coverage with different angles, wide-mid-close and then edit the film from what you have. We plan every shot and, essentially, edit it in the storyboards so the editing bit is just assembling the shots with a pleasing rhythm. The corollary to that: preproduction is the best bit. From location scouting to preparing storyboards and shot lists detailed enough to make editing a total chore. Great fun because that’s where the rather abstract script starts to turn into an actual film.




What is the single best piece advice that young filmmakers need to hear in 2018?

Don’t listen to me, probably. But other than that, make something that you you’ll love. Don’t try to make some generic paint by numbers thing that you think tick’s boxes. If you’re going to put so much time and effort into something with no guarantee that anybody will ever see it, at least aim for something that you find genuinely exciting. And then - other people probably will too!


Lastly, are there any future projects you can talk about?

The next thing we shoot, most likely before Perpetual, will be a VERY Lovecraftian folk horror provisionally called The Colour of Madness. It has the least original basic premise imaginable, which has been used in 5,873 horror films in the past, but we believe that we treat the story in such an unusual way that people will be excited enough by it to think it’s somehow “original”. It’s set in Norway for one thing haha!


Charismata is playing at the QUAD as part of the Derby Film Festival on the following dates;


Friday, May 04, 2018 18:00


Bank Holiday Monday, May 07, 2018 15:35


You can book your tickets below:

https://www.derbyquad.co.uk/idfest/dff/dff-pc--charismata--adv-18-.aspx


Guy Russell

Twitter @budguyer


By midlandsmovies, Apr 17 2018 08:53PM


Daisy (furthest right) at You Me & Him premiere (courtesy of BabyLifeLine)
Daisy (furthest right) at You Me & Him premiere (courtesy of BabyLifeLine)


Scripts, Films and Me - An Interview with Daisy Aitkens


After a successful local charity premiere in Birmingham of her new film 'You, Me and Him' at the end of March, we catch up with the movie's director Daisy Aitkens.


With a host of celebrities on the red carpet (click here to see our photos) You, Me and Him was brilliantly received during its Midlands premiere at an event that helped raise money for local charity Baby Lifeline.


In a film that also deals with issues of relationships, pregnancy and support, we talk to Daisy about her latest production as well as the connections she, and the movie, has with the Midlands.


Hi Daisy! If we start at the beginning, was there an event in your life when you recognised that filmmaking was not just going to be a hobby, but that it would in fact be your living?

I was really pleased with how my first short film, 96 Ways to Say I Love You, turned out. I think it was sitting watching an edit on my laptop with my producer and great friend, Georgia Tennant, when we both looked at each other somewhat amazed that our no-budget, random little mini rom-com was half decent. That’s when I thought, could I do this for real?


As that swiftly moved into this film, where did the story for You, Me and Him come from? And how did you see it being translated onto film?

I had been writing in TV for years and I was really looking to write a romantic comedy film – but one that was less traditional and a little more real and offbeat.


At the same time, one of our producers had come across this true story that he thought would make a great film and what he pitched to me was so moving and sweet and hilarious, I knew that was the film I wanted to write. I saw it as having all the bright and hopeful trappings of a romantic comedy with an underlying truth to it all. The comedy, the drama, every moment, I wanted to be as honest as possible, which is not always what springs to mind when you think ‘rom com’.



And with regards to the Midlands - as a website dedicated to the “local”, we’d be very interested to learn what were the reasons for shooting the film in Stratford?

Well, I’ve always thought it was the most magical place. I used to visit actor friends when they were in the RSC and wish, pray, hope and dream of working there too one day. I never won a part at the RSC, so I thought I’d take matters into my own hands.


Ha ha. And you have! You’ve also got three strong central stars (and performances) in your film. What were the qualities they brought that made them the best choice for your material?

I had admired Lucy Punch for a long time and I haven’t been surprised that her career has gone from strength to strength. Lucy is a brilliant comedic actress, but I think this film really shows off her capacity for drama as well. I could tell she’d be able to open herself up to the more emotional elements of the story and she didn’t disappoint! Faye Marsay got the job about ten minutes into meeting me for a drink. She had such a relaxed and easy and innately cool air about her, I knew she’d bring all that and more to Alex.


David Tennant I’ve known for a few years now and am still constantly surprised by his ability. I was over the moon when he agreed to take the role because I knew he’d be able to completely dissolve into this character whilst remaining vulnerable and true, as he does in all his roles.


And it's not just those three either. You have a superb support cast too so I was wondering what made You, Me and Him a fruitful collaboration?

Yes, I was certainly not going to let all that great talent go to waste! I remained very collaborative on set, I encouraged the actors to improvise at the ends of scenes to see if there was more story to eke out. There were moments of comedy gold. Especially the scenes we shot with Sally Phillips, who just seems to be the master of improvisation. I always knew what I wanted from the scene and once I had that, I allowed time for moments of experimentation, new lines and, well, play.


It appeared on screen that some dialogue may have been improvised. Did you stray far from the original script? Were the actors encouraged to chip in with lines?

The script was fairly set but if a line wasn’t working, or coming out honestly, or there was a funnier way to say it, I encouraged the actors to use their own words.



Your film covers many funny situations but in contrast one of the most moving occurs in a heart-breaking sequence in the third act. Were those scenes difficult to film and how did you (and the cast/crew) approach them?

Due to a fantastic first AD and her scheduling, we shot all those scenes together and in order, so it made the emotional journey a lot easier for the actors. Dramatic scenes like that are hard to shoot because of the authenticity of feeling the actor must find, but comic scenes can be equally as demanding. You’re constantly searching for the ring of truth to the moment in both situations. I did feel a pressure to get the scenes right out of respect to the women who had endured a similar situation to what we depicted.


A recent study showed children raised in same-sex-parented families do as well as children raised by heterosexual couple parents and your film tackles these issues directly - but also with humour. How did you decide on the tone of your film given its varied and difficult topics?

My intention was to have an LGBT couple in a mainstream film and not have it be about their sexuality. The idea of them raising a child together is completely normal - as it should be - and not really focussed on. What they do focus on are the same worries that both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples are concerned about when deciding to have a child - do we have enough money? Who will be the main childcare provider? What are we going to teach this child? So I wanted the tone to be an honest, witty look at the concerns many women have when babies become part of their story.


Were there any funny stories from the production or anything that didn’t go to plan you had to make provisions for?

This is probably not my story to tell but I’m going to anyway so apologies in advance to Simon Bird. The poor man was struck down by Noro Virus when we were shooting scenes on the lake. Really he should have taken the day off and been in bed but clearly he is a saint and knew that would have caused me endless amounts of re-write pain. It was a day when we had a lot of paparazzi and onlookers and all the actors had to be in boats. Poor Simon was just being sick on the jetty every ten minutes. Once he’d finish I would shout ‘action’ and we would get a great scene out of him, then I’d say ‘cut’ and he’d go back to emptying the contents of his stomach into the river.


We are a big supporter of independent, micro (and zero) budget films as well as first-time filmmakers – especially from the Midlands. What advice would you give to someone starting out on their own journey in the film industry?

I think because you can make a film on your phone nowadays my advice would just be to go out and do it. Do it this weekend. Get some friends, scribble some lines down, shoot it. I think it’s in the doing that you learn. I was making films on my Dad’s camcorder from when I was nine years old. I’m just doing it on a slightly bigger scale now. I also don’t make quite so many Spice Girls videos starring me and my mates but that’s another story...


And finally, what are your future plans with this film and other projects?

Doing more lovely interviews like this! At the moment it’s just about spreading the word about You, Me and Him and getting as many people to see it as possible. Alongside all that plugging I am in the middle of writing a couple of new projects - one is TV and one is a film. Can I take this final moment to say some thanks? I will anyway. I want to thank everyone from the area who were so supportive during the filming of You, Me and Him and who continue to do so with its release. I’m so appreciative, thank you.


Thank you, Daisy.


You, Me and Him is on nationwide UK cinema release now and follow the updates on the film's official page by clicking here


Read our Midlands Movies review of the film by clicking here






By midlandsmovies, Apr 10 2018 05:23PM



Midlands Movies Interview - Going Behind the Lens with Jordan Dean


Local filmmaker Jordan Dean came to Leicester’s De Montfort University from Hull at the age of 22 and grew up like so many did with Spielberg and Star Wars as his first foray into film. We speak to this exciting new local filmmaker about his influences, film music and the uncomfortableness of watching audition tapes.


Midlands Movies: Hi Jordan. Glad you could join today. You mention you got into film via Spielberg?

Jordan Dean: Yes I did, but as a kid I was always asking how they managed to create these fantastical worlds!


MM: And getting older how did you end up in your current position?

JD: Well my love for film as a youngster developed into working for Bizarre Culture where I was their film and media editor. I wrote articles and reviews before studying film at DMU in Leicester. It was a very academic weighted degree but at a very highly regarded film university.


MM: And what did you learn during those years?

JD: Well, I made some terrible and awful stuff in my first year [laughs]. But by my third year I had learnt a lot so chose to make a film rather than do a written dissertation. By doing that I tried to prove to myself I could handle a larger production. I actually had 27 cast and crew for a 7-minute short. This included costume designers, extras, fashion models and the like. It really helped me learn different skills, got me a first in my degree and then played at 5 festivals winning a cinematography award at one of them. That was when I thought - I can do this!


MM: I went to the same University funnily enough from 1998-2001 and we only had video in year 1! It moved very quickly to digital.

JD: Ha ha. I would love to shoot on film but producers say think about the money!


MM: So where are you now in your career?

JD: Well now I am undertaking an MA in Film Production with DMU and Pinewood Studios which is exciting. I get to work every week with Terry Bamber (first assistant director on films such as Gulliver’s Travels and World War Z), Chris Kenny and Iain Smith, producer of Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a real high calibre of people to learn from.


MM: Sounds very rewarding. What projects have you made?

JD: I worked on Not Alone which was actually a film to test equipment but has recently won a short film award at the Direct Short Online Film Festival. In addition I’ve been working with Rhys Davies on his upcoming feature Acid Daemons (click here for info on that film).



MM: You also made Behind the Lens which was nominated for a Midlands Movies Award in 2018 for best score for Peter Flint (click here). What were your influences for that film?

JD: Both of us were influenced by Drive and Neon Demon composer Cliff Martinez. I also love John Carpenter and got great feedback from Terry (Bamber) that Not Alone was Carpenter-esque which was fantastic to hear.


MM: It’s great to have recognition from someone who has been in the industry for a long time. I have seen in the Midlands that those connections and recommendations can really help (and inspire) local independent filmmakers move forward in their work.

JD: Yes and also give you the feeling that you do know what you’re doing. I’m not the best at networking and its great to be at Pinewood to meet people but also at the Midlands Movies film awards where I met likeminded filmmakers from the region.


MM: With local filmmakers like Gareth Edwards, who jumped from editing Monsters in his home to Godzilla and then to Star Wars, is he an example of how low budget can spiral to the big time no matter how unlikely? Does that help motivate you?

JD: It’s really inspiring to see those journeys, of course. I also love sci-fi. E.T. is one of my all -time favourite films. I’d love to make a film in that genre but I feel I would need the resources to do justice to the ideas I would want to convey. My main focus right now is horror. I’m obsessed with scary films since seeing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when I was younger.


MM: I definitely noticed a Neon Demon influence in Behind the Lens

JD: My biggest influence right now actually is Nicholas Winding Refn. I know he’s not for everyone but I love his films. Over the last few years I’ve also enjoyed a variety of horrors such as The Babadook and It Follows. I’m not a fan of the current jump-scare style movies though.




MM: I found the recent version of IT a surprise success for Hollywood horror but its musical stings were warnings which gave away the approaching scares. Do you like foreign horrors though?

JD: I think you feel more vulnerable watching a foreign horror giving the investment you have to make. I am a huge fan of Asian extreme horror and my next film is heavily influenced by Park Chan-Wook’s The Handmaiden.


MM: Are there any other genres you would like to dip your toe into?

JD: I don’t want to be a genre filmmaker as such. As a fan of Refn, if you showed Neon Demon to someone they may not consider it a horror. I would like to do similar and mix genres up but I was also exhausted by the end of The Witch as it built up tension without giving the audience a release. I wouldn’t mind trying a straight-up drama and tell a simpler story as well.


MM: Where do you get your ideas from?

JD: Behind the Lens is very much influenced by the photographer character from the Neon Demon and realised I had alos met those type of creepy, really intense characters.

MM: Voyeuristic?

JD: Very much so. I can get uncomfortable myself looking at audition tapes that I get sent given the nature of it.


MM: And where next for you?

JD: The next film is The Nail That Sticks Out whose title is taken from a Japanese proverb. It’s the first film I’m directing that I haven’t written. Rebecca Whelan has written a great script and I was instantly attracted to it as it has a tone and themes I can relate to myself.


MM: And what’s the story of the film without giving too much away?

JD: It’s about a Japanese artist living in England and her girlfriend is a failing English actress. It’s about culture clashes and how far different people are willing to go to produce their art. The two characters go in very different directions.


MM: And how far into production are you?

JD: We're making the crowdfunding promo this week and it’s the most ambitious project I’ve ever been involved in. We’re shooting at the end of July in the Midlands at Scene Studios in Nottingham and location shooting at DMU as well. It also has an all Midlands based crew and we're looking to raise an £8000 budget which feels ominous but we’re hoping for success once we launch.


MM: And what’s changed for you on all of these projects?

JD: It’s a scary thing to undertake these different films. Especially when you can’t always pay people when you are starting out and there are very difficult thing to manage on small productions. Now we’ve got a group of people involved – including a producer – there’s a move away from checking the sound and lighting etc yourself. There’s people you can trust in all the roles within the crew. And Peter Flint will be again working with me on the score so we’re discussing that right now.


MM: That must be a relief?

JD: To an extent. My first real production (Acid Daemons) I was working with others and I took the advice that if I had a full understanding of how film works – not just your own role – then you understand the departments and their processes. By having a little bit of knowledge about each department you can respect their craft.


MM: Thanks Jordan. Any final thoughts or help for other local filmmakers?

JD: Don’t be scared of feedback. I have a weird thing as I think I encourage criticism as it’s the only way you learn. Friends and parents will go “it’s great” but you can’t ride that for long otherwise you won’t get anywhere.


Follow Jordan Dean for updates on all his projects on his Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/Jordandeanfilm






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