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By midlandsmovies, Aug 4 2017 07:49AM



Midlands Movies speaks to local legend Thomas Hodge aka The Dude Designs who for years has been respected as one of the best alternative poster designers out there but who now has taken his first steps into making his very own film.


Thomas Hodge is the poster artist behind Hobo with A Shotgun (2011) The Innkeepers (2011) The Heat (2013) WolfCop (2014) and many more, as well as the author of VHS: Video Cover Art (2015). This book is the first of its kind to comprehensively bring together the artwork on UK VHS covers from the '80s to the '90s.


But now Tom is now proud to present his first stint in the director's chair with 'Teddy Bears Picnic', a proof-of-concept short film selected to premiere at this year's Fright Fest in London.


Written, produced, directed and financed by Tom himself, the film stars US actress Abby Miller (Justified, Aquarius & The Sinner TV series) and Laurence R Harvey (Human Centipede 2+3, ABCs of Death 2 & The Editor) yet was shot entirely in the Midlands at Welford in Northampton.


“I'm VERY excited to announce my first film project at long last!” says Tom who has kept the project behind guarded doors during its production. He adds, “It’s great the film is also showing at Fright Fest in London on the 28th August and with a world-wide online release to follow I hope it’s possible to develop it into a feature”.



The film revolves around a mother and daughter playing games in the forest but unbeknownst to them there is somebody watching their every move. Filmed entirely on location in the rural woodlands of the English Northampton countryside, Tom describes the short as "a year-long trip in terms of production but seven years of work in total”.


“I've been hands-on throughout, donning many new creative hats to produce, direct, art-direct and edit for the first time. I spent months making props, building creepy woodlands and creating original costumes."


Tom says how he was inspired by the 1907 melody of the same name, “Teddy Bears Picnic re-envisions the childhood song as a nightmarish fable that twists the concept of childhood innocence. I particularly loved the creativity of high concept horror in the '70s and '80s – from the films of Charles Band to the pulp horror novels of Guy N. Smith. So I wanted to take classic character-driven horror and develop it to suit contemporary tastes, with a strongly stylised visual approach”.


Tom also had the invaluable input of an “amazing director of photography" James Fox and the help and support from co-producer Natalie Dorn who also sacrificed a year for production. A musical score by Sophie Galpin (Pins-band) and sound design by Todd Freeman (Cell Count & Love Sick) add to the small cast and crew alongside co-writer Russell Norris.


With a set of teaser trailers being released online over the next month, you can get updates on the film at Tom’s YouTube channel - click here


And check out Tom’s poster art at https://www.thedudedesigns.com




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, Nov 22 2016 10:02PM


Midlands Movies is pleased to showcase the work of local actress Kate Fenwick who has recently thrown her support behind Screen Northants.


Screen Northants is a Midlands social enterprise screen agency for Northamptonshire and works both as a production company as well as creating community films for children in need and develops young stars. They have recently released an Indiegogo crowdfunding video (see above) which stars a host of regional talent.


One such local talent, who also hails from Northampton is actress Kate Fenwick who has recently starred as a student and gang member in BBC One’s Waterloo Road, the British television drama series set in a comprehensive school.


With a range of accents used in appearances as diverse as Macbeth at Alias Theatre and Dream a Little Dream at The University of Northampton Kate has also been involved in musical theatre in her career.


Kate actually began her acting career from the age of 11, when she joined theatre companies around Lincoln and before long moved forward after finding a passion for stage and screen.


“This gave me a drive to start developing my skills set which lead me to my training at The School of Arts, University of Northampton. I enjoyed all aspects of training including modules on post-modern theatre, trestle masks, clowning and on-screen acting”.



When she started out, Kate played Little Inez in Hairspray and Fizzy in Bugsy Malone at the New Youth Theatre. More recently, Kate played a variety of roles in the stage version of Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange (made infamous by the Kubrick film of the same name) at The Royal and Derngate – the theatre in the centre of Northampton’s Cultural Quarter.


With a variety of different experiences Kate has also worked with Murder Productions who deliver interactive dinner theatre experiences where guests sit down to a 3-course meal with actors playing roles in a murder mystery night of fun and investigations.


Graduating from the University of Northampton with a BA in acting in 2015, Kate hopes to move into more Midlands film and movie projects and is looking for collaborative like-minded actors and filmmakers to work with.


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



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