Midlands Interview - Christopher Bevan and Belinda Basson talk The Other
Midlands Movies speaks to the director Christopher Bevan and Producer Belinda Basson of upcoming local film The Other - an ambitious and gripping short thriller currently in production from the award-winning team.
Midlands Movies: Hi both, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?
Chris Bevan: Hello. I’m a Derby-based director working across shorts, music videos, commercials and documentaries with a real interest in thriller, sci-fi and drama films. In addition to freelancing I also am the creative director of my production company YSP Media.
Belinda Basson: I moved into film production following a career in corporate communications, marketing and PR, fulfilling an ambition I had had originally to work in film as a first career. I am now Director of film production company Dreamfusion Productions, with a diverse portfolio of films completed.
MM: And how long have you worked in the film industry?
CB: I’ve been making films for a good 12-13 years now since picking up a handycam at 16 years old and making action movies with my friends and family. Since then I’ve turned it into my full-time career and have never looked back!
BB: I have worked in different capacities in film production for ten years, producing a diverse body of work through my company Dreamfusion Productions. My collaboration with Chris began six years ago and we have written, developed and produced a wide range of films since the first project we worked on together.
MM: It’s great to see such collaboration. So, what has been the most difficult hurdle you have had to overcome?
BB: The biggest recurring hurdle is finding all the resources to get films made, from funding to locations. That said, by working with Chris and several excellent teams of cast and crew, we have brought some great films to completion, all with high production value, even when limited funds have been available.
CB: Belinda and I have collaborated on quite a few films now and I think as time goes by, the challenge of finding the funding to realise these ideas and concepts as they become greater in scope and ambition is definitely a hurdle but one we have tackled head on. As a producer Belinda is ambitious and never backs down from a challenge, always finding a way to pull off the seemingly impossible!
MM: Your new film is The Other. Can you tell our readers a bit about it and how it came about?
BB: The idea for 'The Other' came from a film I once saw called 'The Man Who Haunted Himself'. In what was widely recognised as Roger Moore's best and most chilling performance, a successful man has his comfortable life challenged by unexplained occurrences which have an increasingly dramatic and devastating effect on his mental state. The film left a lasting impression and I have long wanted to revisit the 'doppelganger' notion but in a contemporary context relevant for society today and reflecting the pressures of our everyday lives.
CB: We were excited to bring on board writer Ben Errington to develop the story and script for The Other. Our story follows Marcus, an ambitious chef who wants to reach the heights of his profession. His life is stable and predictable until one day an unexplained event sets his life on a frightening course, increasingly throwing his life into chaos and making him question his own sanity.
MM: And how did you come to cast your actors Adam Horvath, Dani Tonks, Liz Leonard, Christopher Tajah?
CB: The lead of Marcus was definitely written with Adam Horvath in mind. We’d worked with him on a project a few years ago and having seen his performance in Derby Theatre’s production of ‘Brassed Off’ we knew he could deliver both the depth and range of emotion that the challenging role of Marcus required. Belinda was very keen to cast Adam and we were all delighted when he loved the script and accepted the role!
BB: For the roles of Ruth, Wendy and Phillip we put out casting calls and had a great response. We managed to narrow down a shorter list of actors who appeared to be a close fit our character profiles and held auditions in both London and Derby. Of the great calibre of actors we auditioned, we cast Dani, Liz and later Christopher.
MM: As we’re a local organisation we are always keen to find out how filmmakers make the decision to create their movie in the Midlands?
BB: The Midlands has a wealth of film making and acting talent and we wanted to reflect the quality of both people and locations in the region. We decided on Derby as we are based in the City and our lead actor is from Derby. We were very fortunate to find and receive permission to film in some great locations.
CB: We filmed in the city centre with amazing support from Derby Museums and had some additional locations in Sandiacre and Ripley.
BB: We also chose Birmingham due to the excellent support available from Film Birmingham, which was outlined to us by Sindy Campbell at an RTS Midlands networking event. We were very keen to achieve the maximum production value possible so chose to aim for feature-scale settings. One of the ways to achieve this was to have an impressive cityscape backdrop, which was perfectly delivered by the City of Birmingham.
MM: And are you both from the region yourselves?
CB: I was born in Shrewsbury and later moved to Derby so have always lived in the Midlands.
BB: I am not originally from the region but studied in the Midlands and have spent a considerable amount of time in both Derby and Nottingham.
MM: And with the film ready to go, how was the actual shooting?
BB: The shoot was challenging in terms of the number and types of locations, but our excellent cast and crew rose to the challenge and delivered awe-inspiring work! We are very excited at the prospect of working with them again to finish The Other.
CB: We had such a committed cast and crew and working with them across the main block of filming last year was a pleasure. Of all the films I’ve worked on as director, this felt the most ambitious and I’m really pleased with the results so far. We have shot 80% of the film now and are looking to crowdfunding to support the final 20% and post-production.
MM: And with regards to your influences, what films or filmmakers inspire you?
CB: I’ve always been a huge fan of Clint Eastwood’s work with Unforgiven being one of my all-time favourites. In terms of big names, I’ve always been inspired by Fincher, Spielberg, Nolan and Villeneuve but I also look to directors such as Damien Chazelle, Ryan Coogler, Gareth Edwards and Debra Granik to name but a few. It would be remiss of me not to mention my love for Star Wars and huge admiration for George Lucas too!
BB: I have been inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Spielberg, Coppola, Nolan and the naturalistic directing style of Clint Eastwood. I also really like the quirky, visionary creative styles of David Lynch and the Coen brothers. I have too many film favourites to mention here!
MM: So did those sway any of your creative decisions in The Other?
BB: There are several stylistic themes in the film which reference the styling of these great directors, especially Alfred Hitchcock.
CB: I worked closely with DP Karl Poyzer and we frequently referenced Fincher’s work on Gone Girl and Zodiac in particular during pre-production on The Other when developing the look. With regards to story and character, Villeneuve’s Enemy and Hitchcock’s Vertigo both came up in conversation in terms of creative influences for contemporary and classical representations of doppelgangers in film.
MM: And when and where can people expect to see The Other?
BB: We are currently aiming to raise funds to complete the filming of the remaining two striking scenes through crowdfunding support. If we are successful, we would hope to have the film completed by early next year.
CB: It’s an exciting time for us as we are gearing up to launch our IndieGoGo campaign for the film! Should we be successful in crowdfunding these two integral scenes and our post-production, we would hope to begin submitting to festivals within the next six months and a premiere will hopefully not be far away!
MM: And finally, what’s next on the horizon for you?
BB: Our next point of focus will be a challenging feature with themes that should appeal to a very wide and diverse audience. I can reveal no more at this stage!
CB: This will be another YSP Media and Dreamfusion Productions collaboration and we have spent four years developing this project. We’re hoping to get things rolling once The Other is completed and released – watch this space!
Thank you both.
The Other’s IndieGoGo pre-launch page can be found here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-other-a-short-thriller-film-drama--2/coming_soon/x/208337
And check the teaser trailer here: