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By midlandsmovies, Aug 28 2019 12:40PM



Midlands Review - A Sort of Burial


Directed by Lee Charlish


2019


Korky Films


'A Sort of Burial' is another film from the prolific Korky Films, purveyors of twisted animations and macabre humour. While this is arguably their most wholesome and heart-warming film, the subject matter is still deliciously morbid and irreverently tongue-in-cheek.


It's time to say goodbye to Basil, as siblings Alistair and Carla gather by his graveside with a bloke named Harry to pay their... respects? It's all rather perfunctory, as it's clear Alistair would rather not be there and Harry keeps cracking wise in a most disrespectful way, much to Carla's annoyance.


She's trying to mourn over here! The Vicar can barely get a word in with all the snide comments and feeble puns, but when he is heard it becomes obvious this is no typical funeral...


Not much more can be said about the story without spoiling the twist, though to be honest you're likely to get it almost immediately as it seems to be made fairly obvious from the start. That didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film at all, though, as the tone was spot on and lovingly cheeky. It's a little reminiscent of Death at a Funeral, which is by no means a bad thing!


The actors also do a great job, especially Marian Elizabeth as Carla, who struggles to keep the proceedings appropriately sombre.


There's something a little uncanny in how the film is shot that distracts a little. Perhaps it's the equipment used, or the lighting, but the scenes seem visually off, oddly flat. The framing of the burial scene is also subtly weird and off-putting; the reliance on close-ups makes it seem like the Vicar isn't in the same place as the mourners, even though they share a shot at the beginning of the scene.


Despite these distractions and the sensitive subject matter, this is a fun, cheeky little film, and the dedication at the end caps it off with a lovely warm fuzzy glow. This is one funeral that's sure to leave you with a smile on your face long past the service and well into the wake.


Sam Kurd

Twitter @splend



By midlandsmovies, Aug 16 2019 10:36AM



Midlands Spotlight - Hokum


Hokum is a new movie from Lee Charlish that is currently in pre-production and scheduled for a late 2019 release.


An ambitious project which is being entirely self-funded by Lee himself (who will also produce and direct his original screenplay), Hokum follows his previous projects where a great emphasis placed on creating ‘a world in which things seem out of place; awkward or decidedly unfamiliar’.


Leading to a distinctly unsettling feel, the movie’s subject matter involves the spiritual world, mysticism, tarot and demons - both real and imaginary.


Despite the confines of a non-existent budget, Lee says, “It has steadily evolved into something even bigger than the original premise which was larger than life already”.


“Thankfully, despite having no discernible budget or funding, it has been written with an appreciation of what’s realistically achievable without compromising its unique style and premise”.


With the possibility of the film being developed into a feature, the filmmaker still thinks the short packs a sufficient punch in its anticipated 18-minute run time.


Hokum itself tells the tale of Ash, who is tormented by demons and tries to obtain redemption from an angered spirit world. Donnie, his violent and thuggish accomplice, is desperate to lay his hands on illicit cash and will stop at nothing to obtain it, even if he must sell his own soul.


Described as a ‘fantasy chiller with elements of the real, the ethereal and surreal’, Lee adds, “It’s a big project with lots to go at and there’s plenty which could go wrong. However, there’s been a real buzz and lots of engagement with local, exciting talent who have volunteered their services since seeing early promotional material or have answered casting calls”.


Attached early on were Korky Films stalwarts Adrian Annis and Jim Low, who are described by Lee as the “superlative dream team”. “These guys are immense and really carry a scene. What’s important is that they completely get my style and the vibe I try to create and immerse themselves wholeheartedly into the mouth of madness! They are also both great fun without ego, which is important”.


Adrian Annis has an impressive CV in feature films and shorts and will play Shepherd, the Shaman and Jim Low has been cast as the movie’s important ‘baddie’ - Donnie. And recruited via Facebook casting calls are Elaine Ward, from Birmingham but now residing in Warwickshire, who will assume the role of The Clairvoyant and Peter James from Leicester who will take the role of the ‘troubled’ Ash. Elaine has also been in her own short film, Tea for Two which premiered at the Birmingham Film Festival in 2018.


Completing the cast are Alex Kapila from Stratford-Upon-Avon as Fortune, the drug-addled acolyte of Shepherd and Hannah Hargraves from Leamington Spa, as The Hostage.


To fulfil the movie’s ambitions, Lee’s vision will incorporate extensive production design elements and wardrobe to adorn the unique characters contained within the story.


And he finishes by saying, “Whether we can successfully pull it off is yet to be seen, but I’m excited and confident with all attached so far. There will be a powerhouse effort to get his made and in a way which does the story and script justice.”


Check out the poster above and more news on the official Hokum movie website here - https://leecharlish.wixsite.com/hokum



By midlandsmovies, Aug 16 2019 06:59AM



Midlands Review - The Cold Caller


Directed by Lee Charlish


2019


Korky Films


Made for under £500, The Cold Caller is a new horror short from prolific local filmmaker Lee Charlish of Korky Films


The director says it pays homage to 70s and 80s schlock which can be seen in the opening sequence where we find a with a woman tied to a chair in what looks like a killer’s scary basement.


Bound by the wrists and legs, the eerie location is filled with battered dolls, candlesticks and other paraphernalia that look straight out of Buffalo Bill’s home.


The blonde victim awakes to her predicament and spies a silhouetted person with a cleaver behind some plastic sheeting - the kind you see in an abattoir. The man is also masked in a homemade head covering which nods to similar fare seen in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre crossed with more recent horror Apostle.


The extensive production design has been clearly well-made and each item in the basement seems to nod to a movie in the genre. The director however appears to want to focus on this and so the shots seem a little gratuitous in displaying the hard production work rather than serve the story too much, certainly at the beginning.


However, with a clear love for slashers of the past some later shots certainly hint upon a nasty history in this place – a map with photos of girls pinned on the wall, a disgusting tea set on the table and jars of “who knows what” on a shelf.


Charlish does do a great job with the show-don’t-tell rule though. Tension builds from our own recollection of what these objects could signify from their place in horror cinema. And other than the cleaver on the chopping board and some heavy breathing as the girl begins to realise her plight, a freaky string-infused score is almost the sole sound of the short.


That is before the masked captor is shown creating some food whilst listening to an old-timey record as he possibly prepares a “last meal” for the kidnapped girl.


The film then turns on its head with a big dose of comedy but then quickly turns to a surprising grisly conclusion. The double-hander of the last two revelations are placed so closely in opposition to each other that it could jolt the viewer too quickly from one emotion to another - sadly not allowing either one to hit fully. I suspect that is the intention though and it’s better to be astonished by too much than indifferent with too little.


The Cold Caller then lovingly (can you call it that?) acknowledges the slashers of the past with a sympathetic young adult tortured by a deranged predator. The twist helps give the 3-minute short a bombshell ending and its mixing of tones recognises the roots of classic horror-comedies. So check out the short if you can, as you may just get a satisfying buzz from the tropes which will keep you on the hook from the start.


Michael Sales

By midlandsmovies, May 21 2019 06:45AM



Not content with already being involved with multiple projects, Lee Charlish of Korky Films is beginning pre-production on a new project Wake-Up Call. Launching a new funding campaign, Midlands Movies uncovers more information about this unique horror project.


With tagline “True love cuts deep”, Wake-Up Call tells the story of Ronald Weiss, a plastic surgeon, who en-route to a convention, gets lost and finds an old, foreboding guest house and reluctantly stays overnight. However, he is forcibly coerced into performing surgical enhancements and is drawn into a macabre, psychological dilemma.


Lee Charlish is hoping to get the film made by raising funds and has enlisted the help of Leah Solmaz, a local Lichfield-based producer, who originates from Birmingham. There is also the opportunity for the concept to be further explored and developed into a feature film, but this will be dependent on reception, appetite and, of course, funding.


Lee adds, “The film’s ominous subtext clearly exposes society’s obsession with body image, and delves into the ugly depths which people might sink to in order to abate such perceived inadequacies. Although the ideas explored are taken to the extreme and sometimes the surreal, it’s this original approach to storytelling which will make the movie ingenious and compelling to audiences”.


Leah Solmaz of recently created Luna Kaynak Productions is attached as producer of the project and will oversee the movie written and directed by Lee and, good news to us, will be a joint production of both local Midlands-based film companies.


Leah is Birmingham born and has worked as an actor on several, local productions, including the Midlands Movies Awards’ winning feature, The House of Screaming Death. She also co-wrote/co-directed a feature called "Checking In" which won Best British Film at the London TV & Film Awards. She is currently producing (and starring) in Theosight, a web-series, which will be released soon and continues to write other projects.


Lee Charlish is a Coventry based writer, director, producer and ‘sometime animator’. He is an award-winning director, having won the Midlands Movies Award for Best Animated Film in both 2018 and 2019, as well as the DepicT! British Special Mention Award; at the Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, in 2016 for his surreal, psycho-horror, Pig Dream.


The musical score will be provided by long-time Korky Films collaborator Chris Pemberton who has worked with several high-profile bands and artistes, all over the world, and is looking to establish himself further in the world of film soundtrack composition.


Acting talent already attached includes Adrian Annis, who has worked previously with Lee on the creepy, fantasy thriller – Scarecrow and Stuart Walker, who has provided voice-work on Korky Films’ – The Cold Caller and, more recently – Waxworks Owner Fumes at Closure. Completing the cast is Charlotte Elizzabeth Langley, as ‘The Wife’.


The first port of call for funding will be the British Film Institute (BFI), although other options are being explored to ensure the movie is made. A full, ‘production package’ is currently being put together, to ensure funding applications are robust and realistic.


Although fully-cast, with three exciting actors, Leah is currently engaging with local talent to ensure Wake-Up Call is fully-crewed with a team, fully on-board with the movie’s unique story and required look and feel. It will also help with the funding campaign and will “offer a real sense of collaboration and inclusion from the get go”.


Lee Charlish says,"We know that talent exists in the region, in various roles, and we are looking for dedicated creatives to join us. We actively encourage anybody and everybody to get in touch, there are no prejudices; we just need a willingness to commit and help make this movie the best it can be".


Leah says, "We are nearly there and hopeful we have enough to secure a worthwhile budget which will truly make Wake-Up Call possible and able to fulfil its ambitions".


If anyone is suitably enticed, they should contact Leah at leahsolmaz@gmail.com to get more information, and discuss their experience and skills for consideration.


For more info check out: https://leecharlish.wixsite.com/wake-upcall


By midlandsmovies, Apr 8 2019 08:35AM



Midlands Spotlight - A Sort of Burial


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


For more information follow Korky Films on Twitter and Facebook




By midlandsmovies, Mar 22 2019 01:04PM



Midlands Review - Return from the Moon


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films (2018)


One of the biggest mistakes a film-goer can make is mistaking Animation for a genre. There’s nothing worse than sitting your tiny child down in front of something bright and colourful only to discover it’s Akira and the last third puts them in therapy for life. Awkward. Animation is a medium, not a genre, one that gives filmmakers the freedom to express all sorts of thoughts, no matter how dark.


‘Dark’ is the key word for this particular film, as anyone familiar with other offerings from Korky Films such as ‘Scarecrow’ and ‘The Cold Caller’ can reasonably expect. With ‘Return to the Moon’, Lee Charlish has crafted a twisted Lynchian nightmare that very much highlights how animation is not always for kids. Not for nothing did it win Best Animated Film at this year’s Midlands Movies awards!


An astronaut plummets to Earth following a visit to the dark side of the moon, but while his body is trapped in his capsule, his mind (his soul?) is elsewhere, still on that remote chunk of rock far far away. His visions are troubling, even existentially terrifying, and he’s forced to take drastic measures to free himself.


I’ve seen this short several times now, and it’s very hard to pin down in words exactly how effective it is. It was interesting watching with an audience at the Beeston Film Festival, as nervous laughter broke out at the first surreal image (a humanoid rabbit is a pretty funny sight, in fairness) but the laughter quickly died down and became an uneasy silence. It went down well, the audience liked it, but it touches you on a deeper level.


This is a film worth watching at least twice to soak up the aesthetic and to embrace how uncomfortable it makes you feel. It’s not gory or nasty or anything like that, but it’s very unsettling. And that’s exactly how it should feel – this is a consciousness in peril, a psyche warring with itself or with a higher power.


That’s up for debate and personal interpretation, of course, as all the best art is. The animation itself is fluid and has an extremely distinctive style, a little reminiscent of mid-2000s era internet animation but with a much more careful eye for detail and flow.


If you’re interested in films that leave you with an itchy id, make sure you check this one out.


Sam Kurd


Twitter @Splend


By midlandsmovies, Mar 6 2019 09:40AM

Scarecrow (2018)


Directed by Lee Charlish


Korky Films and Jam-AV Productions


Coventry filmmaker Lee Charlish of Korky films takes a leap from his dark animation films into a terrifying drama of a lost couple on the road in new chiller Scarecrow.


A nagging couple (Adrian Annis as Thomas and Georgina Mellor as Natalie) find themselves stranded after running out of petrol in a country lane.


As they argue over where they are and what to do, they blame each other as to the reason why the car has broken down but soon decide to go and search for help. However, in the wooded backroads, they have little luck in finding any assistance.


They soon stumble upon a clearing where an ominous looking Scarecrow is placed with a sign warning them – DO NOT TOUCH. As Natalie is entranced by its seemingly strange power, the film starts to dip a toe into more supernatural fare.


The bickering between the couple is one of the short’s highlights. The two leads trade barbs in well-written dialogue as well as unspoken looks and menacing stares between each other.


The quirky tweed suit and horn-rimmed glasses of Thomas, as well as Natlaie’s tree-green dress add class to the film’s costume design and it’s little touches like these that truly add flavour to local shorts looking to stand out.


A few touches of humour give it the dark comedy vibe of The League of Gentlemen and the hot sunny day contrasts nicely with the eerie horror score – again, making it rise above more traditional takes and clichés.


Director Charlish has taken a few horror tropes but wisely twists them to provide something new and the excellent production design, score and certainly the two leads help this film rise above the familiar genre beats.


Creepy and inventive and with plenty of 50’s infused jazz style, Scarecrow is as good as they come in the local film arena and with excellent work from all involved, it is a fashionably cool and suave horror that stands out in the crowd. Or should that be field. A stupendous short.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Jan 22 2019 07:04PM



Midlands Spotlight - The Cold Caller


Released in January 2019 just in time for festival consideration,The Cold Caller is a new horror from Coventry-based production company Korky Films.


The Cold Caller is a dark horror-drama which sees a woman awaken after being drugged only to find herself tied up in a dingy, decrepit room with a psychopath for company. Whilst trying to locate her belongings, she attempts to reach the outside world, but instead it reaches out to her.


The movie was written by Lee Charlish of Korky Films who also assumes directing and editing duties. Lee explains that It unashamedly pays homage to well-trodden horror tropes of the 70s and 80s.


“I hoped to create a sense of immediate unease and familiarity, but with a modern-day twist”.


“The Victim” is played by Marian Elizabeth or ‘Mazzy’ as Lee says she was affectionately known on set, and her diminutive stature helped create her character. With a distinct level unease and helplessness, the audience will be encouraged to sympathise with her plight as she tries to formulate an escape from a crazed madman who is seemingly responsible for the murders of many local women.


“The Psychopath” is played by local actor and filmmaker Mark Hancock and complete with a shocking hessian mask and oily, bloodied attire, Lee describes the movie’s villain as “suitably menacing”.


Completing the cast is Stuart Walker as The Cold Caller himself. “His voice work is amazing and really captures the mood required for the sensational denouement”, adds Lee.


As space was limited, the crew list was deliberately small as Lee used his own garage as The Psychopath’s Lair. Months of production design occurred to ensure the set looked suitably grim, during which time all manner of creepy items were curated and strategically placed.


Assuming camera duties, along with Lee, was Damien Trent, another Coventry based filmmaker (from Doktored Films) who had previously worked as a sound recordist on the Korky Films/Jam-AV production, Scarecrow.


The atmospheric musical score was provided by Chris Pemberton, a session musician who is currently on tour with renowned musician John Grant.


Make-up was designed and applied by Jessica Peck, a Warwickshire based make-up artist and actor, who has appeared in local productions and is beginning a career in make-up and design. She is currently studying a Production Arts course.


The Cold Caller is the first film from a slate of smaller-scale productions scheduled for 2019 and beyond, although larger scale projects are still concurrently being produced.


Lee concludes, “All the movies I’m working on, regardless of budget, crew size or scale have big ambitions and the same level of professionalism and style”.


To follow the production and to find out more check out Korky Films’ social media:


Twitter https://twitter.com/KorkyFilms


Facebook https://www.facebook.com/korkyfilms



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