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By midlandsmovies, May 28 2020 12:54PM



Sustain


Directed by Dave Hastings


2019


Lightbeam Productions

5cm/Sec Productions

ICI Films

Faceless Films


Sustain is a new feature length drama from local filmmaker Dave Hastings which looks at racism, violence and the complicated and troublesome effects it can have on friends and families.


Brett Dewsbury plays Kieran, a young man whose mixed-race stepbrother Toby (Joshua Sewell) is attacked one evening in a pub toilet by a group of men.


But when the men don’t leave him alone, a second racist attack in a park leads to severe head trauma and Toby’s death. Shattered by this turn of events, Kieran’s life crosses path with the police who struggle to find suitable evidence to pin the crime on the men.


Known to the police, Richard Buck plays Kevin McKenzie whose arrogance rubs off on his brother Roy McKenzie (Matthew Kinson), whilst the pair have had a previous threatening past with a vulnerable local journalist.


At the same time, the caring and sensitive Kieran starts to go through various emotions in order to come to terms with his loss. Distraught at first, his thoughts turn to revenge after he himself is set upon, but we are asked to consider what action he may eventually decide to take.


There are many things to like about Sustain – its subject matter and shocking dramatic scenes nearer the start – but some slow dialogue, lethargic pacing and overall length really hinders at times. It’s sadly frustrating then to see the positives undone in this way.


The second half brightens the visuals a little, but the first 22 minutes of Sustain is set at night or in very dark rooms. Even thriller maestro Fincher lets a little light in at times. Whilst the choice certainly gives it mood, we’re not given any respite and some shots were not as clear as could be.


The location work is really enjoyable, however. A standard semi-detached is all too easy for limited budget filmmakers to focus their drama in. In Sustain though, the filmmakers have used supermarkets, pubs, nightclubs, a mechanic’s workshop and more, and it is this variation that really helps to build the world and increases the scope of the production.


But it’s the pacing again that throws the whole film off balance. Scenes start to lose the intrigue with little character development beyond the basic beats. The simple motivations too are delivered through over-explanatory dialogue. As it is, it could do with some trimming to create a sense of urgency, despite the film eventually coming to a satisfyingly heated conclusion.


With honourable themes of racism, violence and family relationships, Sustain covers a whole range of important issues. I just wished it honed its construction to focus on how these would be delivered in a more engaging way. Sadly, I didn’t feel it ultimately had efficiency in its storytelling to sustain its runtime.


However, credit is more than due to these local filmmakers for completing a feature length film. Large productions are incredibly difficult to complete for sure. The structure is all here, and the cast and crew are obviously talented, committed and throw themselves into their characters and story with a huge amount of passion and hard work.


Michael Sales


By midlandsmovies, Mar 30 2020 08:25AM





SNARL


Directed by L.J. 'Stark' Greenwood


2020


What lurks in the forest at night is a question posed in the opening of new short horror film Snarl from L.J. Stark Greenwood.


Well we find out as the chirping of crickets dies down and we stumble upon a half-naked man (Jay Podmore as Elijah) chained and tortured in a cave-dwelling. The man conducting this horridness is called Clyde (Troy Dennison) and accuses him of being a “devil”.


Two local villagers (Charlie Clarke as Faye and Jack Knight as Benjamin) wait for the torturer to leave before ignoring the “no trespassing” sign. They sneak in and seek to comfort and release the abused man who by now is covered in cuts and bruises.


The film is well shot and the story beats easy to understand in Snarl. The script is clear but delivered in a slightly Hammer-inspired way. The archaic dialogue with its hints of Victorian prose harks back to classic gothic literature. I hope this is deliberate as no one speaks like these characters do in real life that's for sure.


With the villagers and their rescued man now on the run, Clyde returns to find his captive gone and a chase ensues in the woods. Stumbling through the undergrowth, they attempt to flee but the injuries are taking their toll on their progress.


Low budget films tend to film in places with easy access (i.e. the woods). And horror action tends to be “chasing”. When these two are overdone you can far too often see these being overused with huge swathes of a short’s time being eaten up by that action in that location. However, although it edges close for a moment, Snarl thankfully ends just the right side of this horror trope. But does veer that way for a moment.


What doesn’t work so well is day-for-night shooting. The appearance of a full moon at the start hints on the horrors about to take place after sunset, but a blue filter appears to stand in for proper night-time shooting. This makes the film feel like it’s taking place in the less-than-scary early evening. A small point granted, but one that could have been altered for some more darkly visceral scares.


However, things turn worse later when Elijah reveals his true self - SPOILER - in the form of a werewolf. The low budget has forced Snarl to show very little of the transformation but, as so often with horror, it’s about the fear of what you don’t see, not what you do.


But the influence of the classic wolf shapeshifting in An American Werewolf in London is clear to see and the effects and make-up used are very impressive and filmed well.


Snarl ends then by playing on the thrill and the fear of the unknown and the short’s bloody atmosphere is one of constant dread. If a little too long given its content and narrative for me personally, what is shown is the filmmaker’s passion for classic retro horror beats with a love for the genre - as well as some excellent artistry from the make-up department.


Michael Sales



By midlandsmovies, Dec 20 2019 11:25AM




Midlands Spotlight – New Christmas anthology film Advent


Advent is a new Christmas anthology feature film to be released in December 2020 from Pat The Bull Films and Lightbeam Productions.


Made up of three substantial yet uniquely identifiable Christmas tales, Advent sees various lives all caught up over the course of December 24th 2020.


The opening segment story Ho-Ho-Hostage is a festive comedy that follows a family visiting a local soup kitchen who accidently stumble upon a robbery.


With a diverse cast the production has announced that actor Arthur Bostrom, who is known around the world as Officer Crabtree from Allo' Allo' is now involved.


Arthur filmed scenes in December at The Crossing at St. Pauls in Walsall Town Centre and his character, The Mayor, is switching on the annual Christmas Tree Lights in the shopping centre, in which we also meet the core set of characters who then provide the structure of the stories we follow further.


Continuing with the spirit of the season, Kaushy Patel presents the second segment, Three Ghosts chronicling the Wilkinson family whose continual fighting and arguing tips the balance on Christmas Eve. However, this continual emotional struggle has finally taken its toll on all of them both mentally and physically.


Fearing that all hope is lost, one member decides to proceed with a devastating course of action. Their only hope? Three Christmas ghosts, who are determined to show them all how their consequences will have emotional repercussions.



Concluding this anthology is Dave Hastings’ third segment Dominik which tells the true story of a quiet and gentle stranger, who begins to appear at Midnight Mass every Christmas Eve at a local nearby church.


Written and directed by Charlie Duckerin, Kaushy Patel and Dave Hastings and stars Arthur Bostrom, Kerry Frater, Matt Allen, Leah Solmaz, Kaine Baker, Anthony Webster, Cameron Dean, Chris Davis, Charlie Clarke, Sarah Gain, Andy Chaplin, Elizabeth Wakefield, Elizabeth Burden, Elisha-Rose Rowley, Jonathan Butler and many more.


Dave Hastings adds, “It was a wonderful experience to have Arthur want to come on board and support us independent filmmakers in the Midlands. His performance within the Christmas Tree light switch on scenes are funny, charming and full of festive spirit, and he was in the amazing capable hands of segment director Charlie Duckerin and a stunning cast and crew".


"His performance runs alongside some compelling ones we've already shot, and we have no doubt that will continue on with the next two filming blocks, each with an incredible cast to look forward too”.


Follow the film on its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AdventMovie/



By midlandsmovies, Jan 27 2019 08:05AM



Midlands Spotlight - Snarl


Lightbeam Productions is reuniting with Pat The Bull Films, Brumtown Films and 5cm/Sec Films to produce SNARL, a terrifying new horror short to be directed by L.J. Stark Greenwood.


Starring Jay Podmore (Sustain), and reuniting Charlie Clarke with Jack Knight fresh from You Are My Sunshine, the film will be directed by L.J. with special FX by Gary Hunt, Steve Bosworth, Troy Dennison and Alex Bourne while Will Bradshaw is back as Director of Photography.


Kaushy Patel and Paminder Bains are on executive producer duties while Dave Hastings is in the producing chair as well as writing the script.


The film is set in England in 1934 where a young man, Elijah (Jay Podmore) has been captured and accused of being a werewolf by Clyde, a self-famed bounty hunter from a nearby village.


As Elijah is brutally tortured in a vain attempt to get him to confess to his alleged shapeshifting, he suddenly finds himself covertly released by two villagers, Faye (Charlie Clarke) and her younger brother Benjamin (Jack Knight), who believe his cries of innocence.


As they attempt to help the young man flee through the woods, all the while pursued by the maniacal Clyde, the night time forest suddenly reveals that some legends are not myth at all.


Director L.J ‘Stark’ Greenwood explains, “I’ve always wanted to try my hand at directing but so far have never had the chance to fully immerse myself into it. So I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to help me bring this story to life, one that I am very excited about, because it is so scary and really plays directly into what story elements I think helped make some of the best Werewolf films we’ve already got".


"It will also allow me to indulge in visuals that are inspired by my love of Guillermo del Toro as well as my love of the 1930s carnival atmospheres".


"We’ve already been working on shot lists and ideas for how to not only present the characters but also our elusive werewolf, as well as looking at locations and filming test footage, so it’s all becoming very real and exciting! This has always been my favourite sub-genre of horror, the Werewolf film, so I hope to really do it justice with what we’ve got to show the world", he adds


Writer and producer Dave Hastings continues, "Originally starting out as a small 2-3 minute film idea, L.J. approached me a few months ago, about her dream of making the ultimate werewolf short. She had been wanting to have a good go at directing for some time now as well, and we all really wanted to help give her the platform to do this and combine a project with her love of Wolfman folklores. It was also a way to say a massive thankyou to her, especially after all the work she has done to make House of Screaming, Sustain, You Are My Sunshine and countless other movies projects we’ve all worked on".


Jay Podmore who plays Elijah describes joining back up with the established team, "I'm really looking forward to working with LJ, Dave and the team again - and the challenges that we will face together working on such exciting, graphic material. I can’t wait to play around with Elijah’s character - he has endured a great deal of physical and spiritual strain so I will be delving into a deep part of my mind to bring to him a rawness and vulnerability. I just cannot wait to get started on this! Such lovely talented people involved and looking forward to morphing into Elijah in 2019.”


And Charlie Clarke who plays as Fayeis in a similar position: "I am most looking forward to being back with such a great team for my first werewolf film and being on board for LJ’s directorial debut! I’m also looking forward to the 1930s styling and seeing the werewolf make up".


SNARL starts filming in early 2019 with a release planned for later in the year. More updates and details will be coming soon and follow the latest production news at http://www.lightbeamproductions.co.uk/


A recent behind the scenes film has been released from the crew and watch the video below:





By midlandsmovies, Nov 27 2017 09:31AM



Clone (2017)


Lightbeam Productions


Director: David Hastings

Director of Photography: Joshua LA Baggott

1st AD: Suki Sandhar

2nd Camera: Kaushy Patel


From director David Hastings (The House of Screaming Death) comes Clone; in which a Professor working alone late at night in his home is visited by a mysterious stranger who causes the Professor to doubt his lifetime's work.


It is tricky to provide a detailed review of this film without giving away at least one spoiler, albeit one that is revealed quite early however it is fair to say that writer and lead actor Charles O’Neil (The House of Screaming Death) is the focal point of this movie which prioritises discussion and philosophical ethical musing over any visual action.


Paradoxically it is this focus that is both the film's strength, at times the discussion channels the composition of some philosophical writings of antiquity, for example Dionysius, and also its weakness as O’Neil’s writing (this is his second credited piece) borders at times on the mundane and the inconsequential - which in a film where the dialogue is paramount in holding the viewers attention is crucial to how it will be received.


I have no doubt that Clone will find an audience out there but for me it appeared to be a piece still in progress.


The camerawork and shot framing need a little improving, even as a secondary aspect this was noticeable, while the main crux of the film, the discussion, was slightly vague in its concepts despite its obvious importance. And as a result it was sadly hard to believe, or necessarily care at times, in the critical implications of the decision.


Perhaps the problem I faced was that the concept was definitely strong, echoes of Logan’s Run amongst several other sci-films can be found, but the execution was not quite there on this occasion but I would still look out for the writer's next project given their emphasis on a host of interesting themes.


Marek Zacharkiw

@CosiPerversa


By midlandsmovies, Jul 11 2016 08:27AM



Midlands Movies Mike discovers a new gritty British thriller from the director of 'Checking In' being made in the West Midlands.


'Sustain' is the latest uncompromising film from award-winning director Dave Hastings and takes inspiration from Get Carter and Dead Man’s Shoes. Also influenced by the writing of Jimmy McGovern (The Street, Accused), 'Sustain' covers a story of racial aggression and the tragedies that unfold around it.


The narrative followes the aftermath of an attack where a family attempts to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives yet a brother discovers just how far he will go to find justice.


Producer Troy Dennison explains that the film will begin production in early 2017 with an ensemble cast, the majority of who originate from the Midlands. This is something the filmmakers were very conscious of wanting to continue, while also welcoming new talent to the project, both in front of and behind the camera.


Lead actor Brett Dewsbury, who plays the grieving and traumatised brother Kieran says to expect “a really complex character with some really interesting moments. We are attempting to create a true gritty British drama in the Midlands. It has everything a good crime drama should have; chaos, heartbreak, broken family relationships and a troubled path to some kind of justice”.


All the characters are grounded and based on research director Dave Hastings carried out while writing the film. “After House of Screaming Death and dealing with vampires, ghouls and ghosts, I really wanted to expand my horizons as a filmmaker, and look into other genre and stories”, he says.


“Working in horror, you get to play with all these imaginary characters, and they are frightening of course in their own way, but I also find real life to be even more terrifying. Some of the most horrific monsters are not actually Frankenstein’s creations or Dracula, but are us, which is a very sinister notion to wrap your mind around”.


Tom Loone, who plays a supporting role in the film, remembers “talking to Dave a long time ago on HOSD. I asked him what he'd be working on next and he told me 'whatever it is, I want it to be completely different, something totally outside the horror genre', so what excites me about Sustain is just that, it's such a gritty, raw, intimate script, and as an actor I relish these kinds of opportunities”.


“Dave and Brett (Dewsbury, the co-writer) have done an astounding job with it, and I think it's going to show a side to them we haven't seen before”.


This wider community aspect the film also explores characters such as DC Porter played by Louise Hewitt, who pursues the perpetrators. She explains how “DC Porter is one of the two detectives involved in the case and while she operates as the family liaison officer to support the Flanks throughout the film, herself and DI Bridge (Greg Yates), try desperately to bring the three criminals down”.


Again, like past projects, the film’s budget is being raised through crowd-funding avenues (Indiegogo) as the cast and crew continues feeling the West Midlands to be overlooked by major studios as a source for storytelling and talent. Co-producer Troy Dennison explains how “there is still a lack of substantial film projects in the Midlands and a drought for funding when it comes to the arts. Anything we can do to promote the wealth of talent we have in the Midlands both in front of and behind the camera is a good thing”.


Actor Brett Dewsbury also remarks how “in terms of Independent film, there is a real need to underline the importance of bringing local talent into the industry in a way that makes them stand out. The Midlands has talent and it needs the same respect that other parts of the country world get in the arts industry”.


Finally, producer Keiran Bowers calls on people to help support the film, either by donating to the campaign or simply by sharing it, and all the new content that is posted through social networking avenues, to help get it out there, because, as he states, “I read the screenplay and I was floored by how well written the characters are. This alone should get people excited!!”


Sustain has a release date planned for late 2017 and is presented by Lightbeam Productions in association with 5cm/Sec Films, ICI films and Faceless Films


Follow the production on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SUSTAINMOVIE

Donate at IndieGoGo: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/sustain--5#/




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