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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






By midlandsmovies, Aug 31 2017 11:07AM



Midlands Interview - Award winning director Andrew Rutter


Filmmaker Andrew Rutter recently won Leicester’s 2017 The Short Cinema Main Competition Award for Best Film which is the culmination of many years hard work for the local director. Mike Sales interviews Andrew who tells us more about his winning film and more.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Andrew, congratulations on your win! The Short Cinema is a great event for the region so are you from the area at all?

Andrew Rutter: Hi and thanks very much! Well it all started for me in the Black Country where I was born and raised. I grew up in a small area called Rowley Regis where my brother and I would rope our school mates in to making horror films with us using the family camcorder. We managed to produce all sorts of whacky stuff, a few zombie films and our own little homage to the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at one point. Aside from a brief stint in backyard wrestling we very much enjoyed making horror films. Fast forward to now, I’m a freelance filmmaker full time. Of course I work a lot in corporate video to pay the bills but I tend to turn my hand to all sorts of film production, continuously trying to carve some sort of career out of all this madness!


MMM : And when did that home-made filmmaking become more professional?

AR: Well, I guess I started working “Professionally” right out of the gate after my stint at Wolverhampton University in 2011. I landed a freelance editing job cutting toy adverts so that helped me financially and grow professionally. When not working I was continuously shooting Music Videos for next to nothing, fully realising that I kind of had to build a brand new portfolio since the DSLR movement had swept the filmmaking scene and the bar had been raised.


I found it quite hard to navigate to where I am now, and even still I find it difficult because freelance is such a life that is all about unpredictability, not fully knowing if a job is coming through or not. The key factors for me were making friends and making cool art. I always believed that if you strived hard to make the best possible thing you can, time and time again, then eventually it’d be hard for people to ignore you.


MMM: So do your films focus on any particular genres or themes?

AR: It’s weird really as I pretty much grew up on genre movies, but my work tends to blend a lot of stuff, or at least that’s what’s going on in my head during the process. As a kid I made horror movies, but I haven’t made a horror film since then. I’m a big fan of dark comedy, quite a few past Music Videos have gone down that route and I think I’m leaning more in to that for some future shorts I have in mind. I kind of fell into music videos because they had a formula that meant you could get your ideas funded but you’d just have to tailor them to some music. I’m at a point now though where I want to fully dive in to all sorts of genre filmmaking.



MMM: You just mentioned the problems of balancing the corporate and freelance work but what have been other difficult hurdles you have overcome?

AR: It’s very difficult to pin point as I can honestly say my whole ‘career’ has been a constant struggle. Building a network of people, establishing regular work, detecting untrustworthy people, the list goes on. Then there’s the difficult reality of trying to navigate the film industry, which is this insane beast; to ‘break in’ to something riddled with elitism and blind luck. I didn’t come from money or have an uncle in the biz, just an encouraging mother, a camcorder and loads of ideas. Early on I really struggled with the notion of working with other people for a long time, I hated that I needed other people to make my films. I couldn’t tell you how many times I was let down by people I thought were trustworthy, at the risk of sounding really negative, I grew to dislike the industry after meeting so many bull-shitters. The positives from this though is that I learnt a lot from these people, it’s been useful to be stung a few times because my bullshit radar is pretty strong now! The reality is that you need to find the right people, sometimes it’s just a small tight-nit group of friends that will fight to get your film made and as a result champion each other’s talents through success.


I think the biggest challenges over time have not been the physical graft but my mental state. It’s hard to get anything done when your mind is rooting against you, filmmaking can be a lonely journey and when you do eventually meet these liars, they contribute to the gradual chipping away at your own mental stability, often causing doubt in your own ability. I’ve been fortunate to find strength in loved ones and other filmmakers who are also chasing this crazy dream. There’s a whole lot of inspiring stuff being produced all over the world so I think it just takes giving yourself that time to absorb some of it and recharge your batteries - a great cure for any negative thinking!



MMM: And how was the shoot for Ultrasound and how did you get involved in it?

AR: The shoot was very challenging as it was my most ambitious piece to date. The band were great, they literally gave me free reign over what the film could be and left me to it. I came to work with the band a few years ago, I was literally just a fan that sent them a tweet along the lines of “Let me do your next video”. They called my bluff and a few weeks later I was in Hastings doing the first video with them. A couple years later they had album three coming out, they invited me to the studio and that’s where I first heard ‘Kon-Tiki’. I knew from that moment that it was the one I’d do a film for.


A lot of things went wrong during the shoot, a producer dropped out at an awkward time and I became buried in multi-tasking alongside the DOP Christopher Hood. We shot for around 5 days, lead by location availability really, which was primarily Wolverhampton, Wales, Peterborough and an evening in Leicester. I was running on 3 hours sleep for most of it, barely eating and generally a silly mess. For all it’s hardships a lot did go right on the shoot, it had to or we’d have been well and truly…


This shoot also happened to be the last with my good friend Keith ‘Casablanca’ Whitehouse who sadly left this world not long after the film came out. I was so happy he got to see his work in it, that he really loved it and supported it massively. Whilst he plays a rather negative character in the film, I have a huge smile when his face pops up on the big cinema screens that it’s been playing across recently.


MMM: And which do you have any heroes or people who have influenced you from the film industry?

AR: My heroes of the industry have kinda changed as I’ve grown up. I managed to meet a few when I was in my early teens. At thirteen I attended a TROMA master class in London with my brother where we got to meet and talk with Lloyd Kaufman, a real champion of independent cinema. I got to briefly meet John Waters and George A. Romero many years ago too, both who’ve made extremely influential films. Seeing John Carpenter play his music live last year was also a beautiful treat.


There are so many great filmmakers out there now doing amazing things, I’m a frequent visitor of Vimeo, which is a great injection of inspiration when you need it. The filmmaking duo DANIELS I’ve followed for a few years on there, watching their journey from Music Videos to feature film Swiss Army Man is amazing. Nowadays though I find my heroes to be the people who are fighting to get their films made, the ones who are pushing on regardless of doubt and naysayers. I suppose it transcends film though, artists in general have a positive effect on me when I see what they’ve been through to get something made.



MMM: And what do you think has been your greatest achievement on your journey so far?

AR: I don’t have any defining moments of success to be honest; it’s been a series of little victories that have kept me going over the years. Last year I learnt to drive and bought myself a car, which I was pretty proud of, as it’d been something that tormented me for years! Every project I’ve completed has been a victory for me, knowing that something exists because I willed it to, whether it’s good or bad doesn’t matter. So many people don’t get past the ideas part of the process so to have something actually exist in the world is a win, to get accolades for it is a bonus.


MMM: And for the obligatory “impossible” question – what are your favourite films?

AR: I live and breathe all kinds of cinema and my top ten is forever changing. As a kid I was introduced to stuff like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Dawn of the Dead, and John Carpenter’s The Fog. In early high school I saw Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste, which was a massive influence; the behind the scenes of that film alone is a testament to him as a filmmaker. When I reached my teens I was discovering a bunch of stuff from David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Jan Svankmajer, Terry Gilliam, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Roman Polanski, Werner Herzog and so many more. I fell in to a deeper world of film and it all opened up for me during my teens. It was magical stumbling upon something that blew your mind; in college it was stuff like Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Boogie Nights, Todd Solondz’s Happiness. Even now I’m still catching stuff I missed out on, such as Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the work of Kenneth Anger.


MMM: With The Short Cinema win now in the bag what can we expect next from Andrew Rutter?

AR: I’m developing a few short narrative films at the moment; I’ve done a lot of Music Videos and Documentaries so I’m trying to push myself in to some narrative shorts that aren’t either of those. I’m not ruling out anything though as you just never know what may present itself at the right time.


MMM: And finally, what are your favourite Midlands films and is there anyone for our readers to look out for?

AR: I’ll use this moment to plug my brother’s new film which he’s just released as you couldn’t get any more Midlands than this. It’s called Bella in the Wych Elm and you should definitely check it out here


MMM: Wow! I didn’t know you were related and we reviewed his film earlier in the year. Huge thanks for speaking to us today Andrew.

AR: A pleasure.


Check out Andrew’s showreel below and follow the filmmaker on Twitter here https://twitter.com/AJRutter



By midlandsmovies, Aug 18 2017 06:29PM



Interview with Lincoln Filmmaker Lewis Coates


Midlands Movies meets Lewis Coates, a filmmaker currently based in Lincoln who has just completed his most recent short film 'When Voices Unite' for Channel 4's 'Random Acts'.


Being filmed and edited in the Midlands, the short film has just been shortlisted for Danny Boyle's Shuffle Film Festival in London and editor Mike Sales chats to this rising filmmaking star.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Lewis. Hope you are well. Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

Lewis Coates: Well, I’m a 24 year old filmmaker and graduate of The University of Lincoln and I moved to the Midlands from down South a few years ago for University. I’ve been based here throughout my degree and for 3 more years working as a videographer and editor. I’ve written and directed a number of short films and creative projects whilst being here, but When Voices Unite is my first professionally funded and distributed film for this year’s season of Channel 4’s 'Random Acts’.


MMM: Great stuff. Did you get into filmmaking at all before University?

LC: I remember picking up my mum’s digital camera when I was very young and just started making videos with my friends. Stupid stuff - horror movies with fake blood, Jackass-stunts - the normal stuff kids do, I’d just want to film it all. By the time I’d finished education and got into Uni, I’d watched hundreds of great independent & foreign cinema, and really found my love for making it too!


MMM: And how did you get involved in Random Acts?

LC: I sent a script to Channel 4 back in January and they got back to me pretty quickly, asking if I’d like to direct it. The only problem, they wanted it complete by April ready for the next season of ‘Random Acts’ - so we actually went from first draft script to screen in less than a month! We filmed and edited in one weekend. The production team were very helpful getting most of the leg-work done, which allowed me to concentrate on perfecting the final script and assembling everything else for the shoot!


MMM: Wow! That timescale is very tight. Were there any more issues with the filmmaking process given that issue?

LC: There's quite a funny story actually - we found a great location, these big underground tunnels that used to be a disused nuclear bunker. We paid the owner to use them for the evening, but we’d been double-booked with a Ghost Tour. So at about 8pm we were interrupted by 50 ghost-hunters with torches and hiking gear, walking round doing seances. There were times where we were filming and we’d hear footsteps and “Hello…. Is anyone there…?” and we’d all freeze and wait for them to pass by. They probably all claimed they'd seen an undead film crew on multiple occasions! But this pushed our filmming back through the night and we ended up finishing around 4am!



MMM: The film covers a whole host of topical issues. How did this subject matter come to be of interest to you?

LC: The film includes social media, government surveillance, fake news - and with the current social climate being very volatile, there’s a lot of fear and emotion to play on; and technology & fears of the future are a good starting point that gives a lot of creative scope. Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ does a similar thing where technology and social unrest plays a large factor in the narrative. I think if the audience can relate to the character or understand the emotions conveyed in the piece, they usually enjoy it more.


MMM: And have you made many films before this one?

LC: I’ve made a few self-funded student short films before, but When Voices Unite was my first professional short. My first was called ‘Pin’ about a crime scene cleaner that gets caught up in the criminal world, the second was ‘Synoptica’, a slight-futuristic drama about a couple that get interactive contact lenses, starring Nathalie Cox (Jumper, Kingdom of Heaven), which first ignited my interests in the ‘negative technology’ theme. Both films were for University, so had to be between 20-30mins, where I found that shorts for consumption online usually have more chance of success the shorter they are.


MMM: Coming back to your latest film, what are your plans for this project?

LC: ‘When Voices Unite’ is currently being distributed online via ‘Random Acts’ channels - there’s a chance it will be broadcast on Channel 4, but nothing confirmed just yet. It’s also doing a festival run from now until March; currently shortlisted at Danny Boyle’s ‘Shuffle Film Festival’ in London and hopefully more to be announced soon.


MMM: You mentioned Charlie Brooker earlier. Are there any other films or filmmakers whose work interests you?

LC: I watch a lot of foreign and independent cinema to really get a variety of filmmaking and storytelling techniques. I enjoy the work of Park Chan-Wook, Michael Haneke, Denis Villeneuve - but it’s hard to say which filmmakers directly influence my work, as it’s probably an organic culmination of many. I’m proud to represent the UK film industry, I love the work of Ben Wheatley, Charlie Brooker, Edgar Wright, but my favourite films of the last few years would be Victoria (Sebastian Schipper’s tense one-shot masterpiece), Moonlight (Barry Jenkins beautiful LGBT Oscar-winner) and Whiplash (Damian Chazelle’s enigmatic musical drama).


MMM: Thanks Lewis. And finally, do you have any films/filmmakers from the Midlands region our readers should check out?

LC: There's definitely not enough Midlands filmmakers out there! A few Ben Wheatley & Shane Meadows films are set here, but we really need to encourage the film industry to utilise this region of the UK more.


We couldn't agree more! Thanks to Lewis for his time and check out the film via YouTube below.







By midlandsmovies, Jul 9 2017 09:03AM



Midlands Movies interview Luke Gosling and Sean Brown of B305 Productions


Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Luke Gosling and Sean Brown from Leicester film production company Bearing 305 Productions to talk about their new horror Blood Myth, what the future holds for this exciting new project and there experience of on-set ‘Barnageddon’.


Midlands Movies Mike: Morning Luke and Sean. How are things and what’s your connection to the Midlands film scene?

Luke Gosling: Hi there! Well I’m originally from Newark, but now living in Lincoln. I have been an avid film fan from a young age, which lead me to study BA in Model Design at Hertfordshire University. From there I developed a keen interest in storytelling so started making skits and short films as a means to show my written work.

Sean Brown: For me, I have been making films since I was 16. I am originally from Newark and I studied Media Production at Lincoln University. I worked at ITV in Leeds in their post production facilities and have more recently been working at The Northern Film School in Leeds.


MM: Nice! How did your new film Blood Myth come about?

LG: After tackling numerous short films across various genres we decided that we had progressed technically to a level where the natural next step was to make a feature length film.


MM: Can you tell us a bit about the film’s story?

LG: Blood Myth is British folk horror film. It is a twisty turny mystery that will intrigue and shock audiences worldwide. A man’s pregnant girlfriend vanishes on the anniversary of a centuries old sinister folklore surrounding the occult. He then sets out to discover the truth and find her before she becomes part of a 30 year cycle of disappearances.


MM: You’ve focused on horror for this film. How did that come about? Are you fans of the genre?

LG: We initially envisaged doing a dark noir thriller revolving around a journalist and the occult, but as the development process moved forward the film naturally evolved away from the noir tropes and more towards a horror mystery thriller with elements of black humour which better fit our writing and watching sensibilities.

SB: In addition, the idea was to use what we had to save money on the production design. Luckily my mother in law has a farm with various visually interesting buildings. We realised quickly that it would be a folk horror film that would fit best for the location.


MM: With that location in mind, what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome during filming?

LG: Shooting on a micro budget and a tight timeframe means you can’t afford to wait for everything to be just right e.g. the weather, so we had to grin and bear some cold, wet and windy days. Night shoots are tough, especially when you have started at 8am and go through into the early hours.

Our most challenging day was shooting an important set-piece, involving multiple characters, on a large set with an elaborate lighting set-up. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, which became known as “Barnageddon”. Thankfully everyone pulled together and we got it done late in the day but it worked out great.

SB: I think that filming on various weeks for over a year makes keeping continuity consistent a challenge. After the first week filming I managed to get hit by a bus travelling at 30mph in my car. My first thought was relief that I had survived and my second thought was that we had only filmed half the shots that we needed with my car. So for the rest of the film the camera had to be in the car looking out. Other than that I think that the major challenges were time and money. When you are working with such a small amount of money you have to be very creative to fill in the gaps and with a limited amount of time on top of that it makes everything twice as stressful. I also didn't help matters by making the film at the same time as having a new born baby.



MM: And can you tell our readers about you many other projects?

LG: Together we’ve made four projects before Blood Myth. Web series sit-com The Pitch (2012). Animated comedy short B-Movie (2013). Comedy short film I Am Lodger (2014) and sci-fi short film Athena (2015).


MM: And how was B305 set up?

LG: Bearing 305 Productions is two person team with Luke and Sean writing, directing and producing. We do like to work with the same people wherever possible, bringing back familiar actors and crew. It was set up due to two friends having the same film watching/ making sensibilities and goals.


MM: What were your influences from the genre? Any specific for this film?

LG: We have always loved films and TV like Seven, X-Files, True Detective and The Wicker Man (original). Story and tonal touchstones for Blood Myth include Kill List, Shallow Grave, The Usual Suspects and Blue Ruin. Musically we like the tone and tension created in Sicario, Hell or High Water and 10 Cloverfield Lane.



MM: Do you have any future plans for Blood Myth?

LG: We are currently submitting Blood Myth to film festivals around the world with an aim to get distribution, and ultimately to make enough waves to get considered for production of future scripts. I think like any filmmakers we just want the film to reach the widest possible audience.


MM: What are your favourite Midlands films/filmmakers? Anyone you’d recommend?

LG: We really like Shane Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes. Although it had roughly 100 times our budget it was still a very low budget film, made with such an independent spirit. It was a big inspiration for us especially because it was from an area we recognised. It wasn't glossy or glamorous it was a film about characters that were recognisable and had a story that was heartfelt and touching. It also put filmmaking within our reach because we knew Toby Kebbell and there he was on the big screen in a film. This was an enormous leap, from just making short films for fun, to seeing that the film industry was actually within reach, if we were prepared to put in a lot of hard work.

SB: Local filmmakers we have worked with include Jordan Handford who is a terrific actor and has just made a nice debut short film, and Kris Tearse who has done acting for us and provided great score work in the Blood Myth teaser trailer.


MM: And finally, we always ask if there’s any advice for anyone looking to start their own project in the region?

LG: Create for yourself. My initial aspiration was to be a writer, but no one was gonna make stuff from an unknown, so I had to take on directing to tell my stories. Learn, develop and push yourself with each project. Keep writing and most importantly finish. It’s too easy to have twenty openings or synopsis, it takes dedication to complete script after script. See it through to the end. Blood Myth has been two and a half years work.

SG: Don't wait! I have made a lot of short films and now a feature and I have learnt more from making the films than any book, course or video online. You have to make mistakes to understand how to be better. The only way to progress at anything is to do it over and over again. Also learn the technical side of filmmaking. When you are starting out it is very difficult to find people who are as passionate about your project as you are. If you are not relying on other people to work the camera or edit the film, then you will have it done much faster and learn more.


Huge thanks to Sean and Luke for their time and check out the film's trailer above and follow the latest news about the release of Blood Myth over on their official website at http://www.bloodmyth.com

By midlandsmovies, May 4 2017 11:20AM



Tony Gibbons is an established actor hailing from our very own region with a string of prominent roles in Midlands films and beyond. With award-winning Checking In and the forthcoming House of Screaming Death already in the bag, Tony is now developing his career in America. In this new interview, Midlands Movies Mike speaks to the actor about his influences, method and forthcoming projects.


Midlands Movies: Hi Tony. How are things in the Midlands for you right now?

Tony Gibbons: Great thanks Mike!


MM: I know you’ve been out in Los Angeles recently so are you from the region at all?

TG: Yes...I'm born and bred in Wolverhampton! But now spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles working on projects there.


MM: That must have been quite the change from Wolverhampton?! Which do you prefer, Hollywood or The Midlands?

TG: You could say that! I actually love both. Obviously Wolves is my home but I lived and worked in Manchester and London, too, before making the move to LA...and I've started to make a home out in the sunshine, too.


MM: And what about the work? How does working in Hollywood compare to working in the Midlands?

TG: Right now most of my work is in the US, and I feel really lucky to be working on bigger and bigger projects and getting to work alongside amazing acting talent and film makers, but I love working back home to work when I can, too. We have so much talent in the Midlands! I think some of the best film makers in Europe are from the Midlands. I've been fortunate to work with Dave Hastings on 'Checking In' and 'The House of Screaming Death', and that whole team is a credit to our area and the industry, and I think Liam Banks is one of the most exciting young film makers out there today – and I got to work with him, too, on 'The Copy-Writer'! I'm hoping to work with them both again soon.


MM: Do you (or the projects you choose) specialise in any genres?

TG: I love working on all types of projects and never planned to work in just one genre, but if you look at my recent credits it certainly looks like I specialise in horror and sci-fi! I did the US TV show 'My Haunted House', then 'House of Screaming Death' with the wonderful Dave Hastings back here in the Midlands, and 'Rogue Warrior: Robot Fighter', a sci-fi action epic that's about to be released in the US, and another US feature I just booked the lead in is very sci-fi, too!


MM: Any particular faves though?

TG: I have to say I have been enjoying the action/horror/sci-fi stuff – it’s a lot of fun to shoot! - but I also enjoy working in other genres, and love anything with true to life characters and emotion, like 'Checking In', which was very much a character driven drama.


MM: Spreading yourself across a wide range of projects – and geographical locations – you must have come up against different challenges. What has been the most difficult one you have overcome?

TG: Actually, for me it was probably “coming out” as an actor. I was a sports kid, and wanted to be a footballer most of my life, and then went to University to do a Law degree. So when I told my parents – half way through my degree – that “I think I want to take acting classes”, it was definitely a shock! I had never shown any interest in drama at school, but I felt this pull towards acting that I couldn't really explain. Once I started training, and working, I never looked back, so I'd say to young actors to follow their hearts and put the work in. Oh, and be patient!



MM: How do you like to work with directors? Any good (or bad) experiences?

TG: I must have been very lucky because most of my experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I've heard some horror stories from other sets, but I've never had a problem with a director. When I was starting out I used to always want more direction. Like, they wouldn't give me any so I didn't know if what I was doing was good or not, but now I love working with those types of directors. If they've cast you, it’s because they like what you do, so it becomes much more collaborative, letting you do your thing as an actor and bring your own contributions to the table. That's what I've experienced on all my most successful projects, like 'Checking In', 'The Cup of Wrath', and 'Rogue Warrior'. There's probably good reason why these directors are award winning!


MM: Out of your many, many, film and stage projects, what has been your greatest success?

TG: Playing Macbeth on stage, early in my career is something I don't think will ever stop being a highlight for me. It was a wonderful experience and something that has stayed with me throughout my career. Over the past couple of years I have been so lucky have worked on projects that have had massive success. Winning Best British Film at the London Film Awards with (the Midlands made) 'Checking In' was incredible, and being invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival with 'The Cup of Wrath' is the sort of thing every actor dreams about. I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do something I love as a career, and honestly, every project I work on feels like the next achievement.


MM: And besides acting, what else have you been up to?

TG: I'm actually really excited because I was recently asked by a couple of industry publications to write 'expert advice' columns. My first article was just published on Backstage, and I'm going to be writing some more, both for Backstage and a couple of other trade outlets. I'm also really excited to be part of the Birmingham Film Festival. I'm working with them as a judge, and get to watch lots of great movies in doing so!


MM: And looking over the horizon, what’s in Tony’s future plans?

TG: Work, work, work! I just recently booked an amazing role in a movie that I'll be shooting this Summer in the US, which I can't wait to start work on. I have a few other US projects lined up after that, too, but also hope to pop back home some time to work on something else in the Midlands!


MM: That sounds perfect to me and the region and its talent would more than welcome you back with open arms. All the best for the future.

TG: Thanks, it’s been great.


Check out further information on Tony and his latest projects by clicking and following on the links below:


http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2971362


http://www.allstarsactors.tv/listing/tony-gibbons/


https://twitter.com/tonygibbons5?lang=en

By midlandsmovies, Apr 11 2017 06:10PM



Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Northampton based actress Kate Fenwick about her life in the industry so far.


Midlands Movies: Hi Kate, how are you and could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Kate Fenwick: I’m good thanks. Well, I am 22 years old and I am currently based in Northampton. I graduated from Northampton University with a BA in Acting which I received in 2015. On a personal level I rent an apartment with my friends and have a wonderful boyfriend who is also an actor.


MM: Thanks Kate. So you’re from the Midlands area then?

KF: Yep! But born and bred in Lincolnshire, out east! I was brought up in a cute little village called Middle Rasen.


MM: So after moving around the region how did you get where you are now?

KF: I’ve been performing since the age of 11 at various theatre companies in Lincoln. However, I was 14 when I was signed to my first agent.


MM: That’s very impressive!

KF: Well, it’s still very early on in my career so I wouldn’t say I am in a position to choose my own projects just yet - but my ultimate goal is to be working in film and television. If I could choose, being in a Netflix Original would be pretty amazing, or maybe a BBC 3 Drama.


MM: And what have you learnt upon the way?

KF: You have to understand your self-worth as an actor! I have agreed in the past to take part in projects where the money situation was pretty poor. I found it hard to say anything as I didn’t think I had a voice compared to other people working within the project.


MM: Is speaking up a hard thing to do for actors?

KF: It is something that I am still working on, but in this day and age, I do think actors should be more assertive so that we are valued just as much as everyone else involved in that certain project. Also, I want to be as consistent as possible, and in this industry, that isn’t something I can really control.


MM: You’ve recently appeared on the BBC show Doctors. Can you tell our readers about that experience?

KF: On set, everyone was so lovely and I was well looked after! I would arrive on set and then head straight to costume and then hair and make-up. After that, it would be a rehearsal and then filming.


MM: Sounds a great time. Has anyone helped you along the way? Any heroes for example?

KF: I think my drama teachers at school definitely had a part to play in my decision to become a professional actor. Their guidance and passion was contagious and they made me feel confident enough to fully commit. I would say my heroes are more personal based. My family are amazing and I wouldn’t be an actor if it wasn’t for my dad!


MM: Sounds like you’ve got a lot of great support around you. What are the hurdles you’ve had to overcome?

KF: I remember the night before going to University pretty clearly as my mindset of whether to go or not was constantly changing because I am very family orientated. I also wasn’t sure If I could do it. I kept saying to myself “I’ll make a final decision next week” and then “next week” and so on, but sure enough, it became the best three years of my life. Acting all day everyday with your best friends is priceless and I will always recommend going to Uni.


MM: That’s great to hear. And with regards to film, what are your favourite movies and what have they helped you with?

KF: Awakenings is probably my favourite film. I don’t think you can much go wrong really when a film is so closely based on a true story. I care for the characters much more and the performances in that film are stunning!


MM: And so thinking of the future, what does that hold in store for you?

KF: I would love to stay in the Midlands and earn enough as an actor to buy my own place here. The problem is though that an actor needs to follow the work, so I won’t have a lot of choice. Northampton is great because it is situated in the centre of the country with central routes. I do like to support local projects though and hope to continue doing this!


MM: Any final thoughts that could help others in a similar position?

KF: Well, people instantly think of London when you talk about sustaining yourself as an actor. But you are a small fish in the sea and I think it is so important to connect in other places for sure. I do believe that due to less competition in the Midlands, actors can be seen for longer and there is loads of stuff going on too.


MM: We couldn’t agree more! Thanks for your time Kate and all the best for the future.

KF: Cheers. It’s been a pleasure.


To get in touch and to find out more information about Kate contact her via Spotlight on the details here:


Pin: 1890-1202-7283 https://www.spotlight.com/interactive/cv/1890-1202-7283



By midlandsmovies, Dec 5 2016 03:28PM



Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Victor Wright, the organiser of the 2017 UK Conclave event that will be bringing the stars of cult classic The Warriors to the Midlands in April of next year.


MMM: Can you tell me a bit about yourself? Are you from the Midlands?

VW: Sure – I’m from a place called Kings Norton in Birmingham. I have two incredibly cool jobs, firstly I organise events around the UK and secondly I own Geeky Comics. The latter I write for as an author of both books and comics. I’m blessed with a very understanding partner, who also enjoys the conventions and my work as an author. It’s a good thing really as I can be away from home lots of weekends.


MMM: Cool. So how did you get into arranging this Warriors event?

VW: UK Conclave came about from being a lifelong fan and the desire to do something awesome for the convention scene in the UK. I met Michael Beck a few years back and thought then, how awesome it would be to bring the Warriors to our turf, so I am. And I have to say I’m not alone in my thinking – I’ve had a lot of feedback from fans across Europe saying this type of event was long overdue.


MMM: You’ve got a lot of the stars. How did that come about?

VW: Michael Beck (Swan in The Warriors) arranged it for me. After contacting him and discussing my plans, Michael agreed that the UK Conclave would be an event for UK fans not to miss. He spoke to some the cast on my behalf including James Remar and David Patrick Kelly who will hopefully be at the show too, subject to availability and working schedules!


MMM: What has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome as the organiser?

VW: There’s not really (touch wood) been any major hurdles apart from committing to additional budget for more of the cast. That will depend on ticket and table sales, if both go well, I’ll throw more budget at the show to enable more guests to come to the event. I’d really love for all of the gangs to be there – now that would be awesome. Sadly a couple are no longer with us, but it would be possible to get some of the others of that I’m sure.


MMM: Have you/do you arrange any other film events?

VW: I do. I run lots of comic cons and horror cons across the UK. We have all kinds of stars coming to our events including Tony Moran (Michael Myers from Halloween), Jsu Garcia and Ken Sagoes (Nightmare on Elm Street), Zara Phythian (Doctor Strange) and Tonya Pinkins (Gotham). The list is extensive!


MMM: Regarding the UK Conclave. How many people help support you?

VW: If you mean our staff then there are about 15 of us who regularly work the events and then we usually have about 5 to 8 volunteers helping too. Some are working with me on a daily basis and others are just as and when we need them.


MMM: For a bit of fun, what names would you give to Birmingham Warriors gang(s)?

VW: A Birmingham gang, oh tough one. We already have the Peaky Blinders, The Zulu’s & Villains. I think I’d go for an analogy of my own gang from my next book ‘The Lawless Ones’ – there is a gang in that story called the Brooklyn Blades, so my gang would be the Birmingham Blades.



MMM: What attracted you to the film The Warriors in the first place? Do you have a favourite scene?

VW: I first saw the film when I was 16 years old. A girlfriend got hold of a VHS copy (I think) of the film and played it to me in 1980. I loved the grittiness to it. Throughout the 70s and early 80s, Birmingham (as much of Britain) was taken over with Punks, Skinheads, Teddy Boys, Mods and many other types of gangs – made up mainly from local kids who all shared similarities in either music or clothing tastes. I was one of those kids, so I associated with the film on a personal level and could feel the anguish and closeness of The Warriors. As for favourite scene, I think the bathroom and the Furies scenes were and still are my personal favourites.


MMM: Do you have any future plans?

VW: As an entrepreneurial type, I’m always formulating the next plan. If this event works, I’d like to make it a regular yearly convention, possibly take them on tour of the UK. As for other events with other personalities, I have some great ideas, but I won’t let the cat out of the bag until I’m sure I can pull it off.


MMM: Have you met the stars before and how do they feel about the continued love for the film?

VW: Only Michael Beck, who bizarrely enough was in Birmingham about 5 years back at an event. The cast feel the same way we do about the film – they formed a bond with it and each other that can’t be broken. David Harris summed it up for me recently; he said they all became real friends and still are today. What they never planned or thought about back then, was that they were about to create a cult classic, that 37 years later would still be growing in popularity.

MMM: Thanks Victor and we wish you and your “gang” of organisers all the best with the event.


The Warriors come out to play at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham on 1st & 2nd April 2017


Tickets and Official Pages:


www.ukconclave.com

www.facebook.com/UKConclave

www.twitter.com/UKConclave

By midlandsmovies, Sep 21 2016 08:17AM

Midlands Movies Mike speaks to Nottingham born and bred actress Charlie Clarke who has already worked professionally in film, TV and theatre since 2008. We catch up with the local actress known for her “scream queen” roles.


Midlands Movies Mike: Hi Charlie. Can you tell our readers a little bit about your background?

Charlie Clarke: Hi there! Well, I am a Nottingham based actress, film geek, blogger and YouTuber. I have wanted to act for as long as I can remember and my favourite place to be is on a film set. I began performing aged 5 in various school plays, which inspired me to start dancing aged 9 and to join the amateur theatre, The Nottingham Arts Theatre, aged 11. I took part in various dance shows and amateur productions throughout my teenage years and even had the honour of choreographing "Tommy: the Who Musical" at The Nottingham Arts Theatre aged 17. I then began studying a 3 Year Musical Theatre course at Expressions Academy of Performing Arts, where I completed 2 Trinity Guildhall diplomas in both Speech and Drama and Musical Theatre.


MMM: Wow! That’s a lot of experience. What have you learnt on that journey?

CC: I quickly learnt to take audition rejection on the chin, get back up and brush myself off and move on to the next thing. I think anyone who enters this industry is a very brave person, but you have to grow a thick skin fast - If I'd have given up after my first rejection I never would have got going.


MMM: What’s your favourite genre to work in?

CC: Probably about 90% of my CV cries "scream queen" so I guess I could say I specialise in horror but I do enjoy working in all areas. I've been very lucky to be able to work on different projects across the genre spectrum with some incredible filmmakers but I always seem to circle back to horror. I think it's because it's something totally out of the ordinary, there's a certain amount of theatrics in a horror script I find and I love that - the theatre performer in me loves that!


MMM: What are some of the most problematic things you have faced in the film industry?

CC: I hate myself already for giving this answer but - myself - the hardest thing to accept as an actor, I think, is that no matter how badly you want a role or think you'd kick ass in a role, the director might not see you in that role. That hurts sometimes! I know some really amazing filmmakers and writers who I know have had a brilliant script with an awesome role coming up and when I've asked them about it it's a no because I'm just not the right casting type for that role. In that situation the hardest thing to remember is it's not a no because you're a terrible actor, it's a no because you're not right for the character.


MMM: With many years on set, what kind of experiences have you had with filmmakers?

CC: Every set is different, but every set has its own little bit of magic. Most sets though start with intros and a bit of a discussion of the way the day is going to play out, then the crew will set up for the first shots and the actors get into costume and make up - I really love this bit as I can feel myself becoming my character when I get into their clothes and their makeup etc. Then before you know it you're in positions blocking the scene through then the director is yelling action!


I've been on sets where everything has been shot in script order which has given me as an actor the whole run of the script to build up to an ending, but others are shot out of order which in some ways is a bit more challenging, but sometimes you get the most challenging scenes out of the way first then you can relax a bit more. Some days on set feel like a breeze when you manage to nail things in one take, other times can be more difficult when you feel like you'll never get it right and you're on take 12 or something but my gosh is it all worth it!


MMM: Do you have any heroes in film?

CC: This will sound weird coming from someone who talked about horror so much but I really really look up to Melissa McCarthy for one - the last couple of years she has smashed Hollywood and it's standards of what a woman in the industry have to be and it's so inspiring and so damn important! Young women wanting to be actresses still seem to believe they need to be a certain size, or have a certain face or hair colour or something else equally as ridiculous but actresses like Melissa McCarthy are challenging those "norms" and killing it! Jessica Lange is also a massive hero of mine, she's just got it. She's just a power house! Horror wise I am a big fan of Jane Levy from The Evil Dead remake and more recently Don't Breathe. She is a bloody brave actress - the whole ending of The Evil Dead is just final girl perfection in my eyes, something I really aspire to. Also how could you not love the legendary Jamie Lee Curtis?


MMM: All excellent choices. What do you feel some of your own personal successes have been?

CC: I've had a lot of wow moments so far but I guess the one that has to be up there at the top is being in the Opening Ceremony at London 2012 and getting to work with Danny Boyle and Kenrick Sandy. Every rehearsal was so much fun, I made friends for life, high-fived Usain Bolt and was a part of history. It was the most amazing time!


MMM: Thank you. Any favourite films?

CC: This is probably the hardest question! My favourite film changes every week but the ones that stick with me are - Edward Scissorhands, Nightmare of Elm Street, Sleepy Hollow, Planet Terror, Pulp Fiction, Labyrinth, Psycho, Pan's Labyrinth, Cloud Atlas...I could add a lot more, so I'll stop there!


MMM: Any filmmakers or films from the UK or the Midlands?

CC: Don't call me bias because I'm his other half but - Liam Banks of SuperfreakMedia is absolutely killing it at the moment! I met him nearly 5 years ago now on one of his university films and he just gets better and better with each film and it's been a pleasure to see this both professionally from working with him and personally. He lives and breathes film and I think this comes through in his work. I'm also a big fan of Dominic Burns, who I've met a few times now and would love to get on a set with, he's a very special talent. As well as these guys I really like the work of Owen Tooth, another person I would love to work with!


MMM: And what is next for Charlie Clarke?

CC: To keep challenging myself, to work on scripts I love, with directors that inspire me and hopefully I'll get to inspire future performers too!


MMM: Finally, what advice would you give to others just starting out?

CC: Believe in yourself, surround yourself with good people and don't be afraid of rejection. I've experienced it and I know actor friends and filmmaker friends who have experienced it too but if you really want it and love the industry you won't let this stop you!


MMM: Thank you Charlie and all the best with your future projects.

CC: Thank you so much for inviting me to take part. It was a pleasure.


Follow Charlie on her social media profiles below


Web - www.charlieclarkeactress.webs.com

Spotlight - http://www.spotlight.com/9314-0190-8701

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/charlieclarkeactressuk

Twitter - @CharlieCActress

By midlandsmovies, Aug 9 2016 12:03PM

Mike Sales speaks to Midlands born actor Jonathan Holmes who has found fame with a wealth of voiceover work for TV and cinema before being recently cast as a giant in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘BFG’.


Mike asks the actor about his work to date and how he came to be in such a large Hollywood blockbuster…


Jonathan Holmes grew up in an all boy’s school in the Midlands where he jokes he initially got involved in acting and doing plays as the only way to meet girls. However, since these humble forays into theatre, Jonathan has had a bumpy but never dull journey in his film career so far.


“I spent the first 18 years of my life in and around Shrewsbury. It will always feel like home. I've no film experiences from the region, but lots of happy theatrical memories. And growing up in deepest darkest Shropshire, actually going to the cinema wasn't as easy as it might have been, but I do remember loving (Spielberg’s) Close Encounters. Favourite moment? When Richard Dreyfus tries to wave the UFO past”.




Being Shropshire born and bred suggest Jonathan’s home-grown accent was the perfect match for the quirky Britishness encapsulated in this new CGI world Spielberg created for the film. Yet his casting was somewhat a lucky coincidence for the now Vancouver-based thespian who was originally asked to coach a girl who was up for the part of the film’s protagonist Sophie.


I ask if any roles have come that way to him before.


“In some sense - most of them! There are a whole series of decisions that have to be made before you are cast in any role over which you have no control. So it always feels like a bit of a lottery”.


With extensive CGI in lots of modern literary adaptations (Alice in Wonderland) which portray wild and vivid locations and characters, Jonathan explains that during his the recording of his role as ‘Childchewer’, the inhibiting green-screen process in fact gave him more freedom than most expect.


“We shot using performance capture technology. It takes a little getting used to, but it allows scenes to be shot in the entirety, capturing everything from all conceivable angles simultaneously. So it can actually be liberating. It's as close to theatre in the film world that I've ever encountered”.



Jonathan adds that is was a joy working with actor Martin Freeman who he describes as one of the “funniest and most astute students of the art of acting” he’s ever met and Jonathan has seen previous success as a voice actor in Marvel’s “Hulk Vs” cartoon.


In 2007 the actor worked with Peter Greenaway on ‘Nightwatching’ which he describes as “terrifying” for a different reason than the motion capture concerns. “Peter shoots incredibly beautiful and massively long takes. If you mess up - resetting a shot can take an age. So you don't mess up! But an amazing experience”.


Back to the magical world of Dahl and the BFG, I ask the five-foot-eight Jonathan if he were as tall as the character he plays, what mischief he would get up to.


“I would try out for the NBA. Or possibly be England goalkeeper and bring the glory days back to English football!”


England football glory may be a bigger fairy tale than anything Dahl has written but Jonathan says that his 10 year old daughter loves the author’s books. “Matilda is a big hit in our house,” he says before adding that the appeal of Dahl’s books is that “he can be funny, wicked, tender, intimate and extreme in the space of one paragraph”.


And which one of Dahl’s books would he personally like to see adapted (or re-adapted) for the big screen? “Hmmm...I think an anti-hipster version of The Twits would be fun”.


Now based in Vancouver, Jonathan finds the ‘Hollywood of Canada’ a great place for a working actor. “I've lived in Vancouver for about 15 years, so the majority of my film and TV work has been here. You'd be amazed the amount of work that is shot here, so it doesn't take too long to spot soon familiar landmarks”.


Sadly, Jonathan has also had to overcome unfortunate personal circumstances during his career including dealing with a diagnosis of cancer a few years ago.


“It was very challenging. And around the same time, my step mother sued myself and my 5 year old over my father's will. It was a truly rough time. But you can only appreciate the highs if you embrace the lows. As an actor, life experience can't help but inform performance, and I've had my fair share over the last few years”.


Jonathan is definitely now on the turn-around with his successful role in the BFG and his experiences on that set enriching his outlook on life. And there’s no rest either. Straight from that film he jumps into a new animation series and a video game with the hard-working actor on the rise in a multitude of disciplines.


He also hopes to back in the UK for some theatre also one thing is for sure, Jonathan will be beaming over the fantastic reviews of his and his co-stars performances in one of the most well-received family films of the Summer. Which is surely Jonathan’s biggest and friendliest success of all.


BFG is in cinemas now.


Midlands Movies Mike


Photo of Jonathan courtesy of Kristine Cofsky

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