HOSD Goes To Starburst International Film Festival

Very excited to announce that House of Screaming Death has been selected for inclusion at the next STARBURST INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL! As someone who grew up reading Starburst magazine, to have the film recognised by them is a huge honour and I cannot wait to see how it goes down with audiences there!

More details can be found on their website, but I want to say a HUGE congratulations to the entrie cast and crew – every single one of them deserves this moment to shine! You’re all superstars!

Thank you Starburst too!

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MA – SCRIPTWRITING #9

The Final Chapter!

This is it! The end approaches! The doomsday clock ticks ever more to the deadline date and upload time!

Who said being a writer wasn’t fun and dramatic!?

Last week we had our final scriptwriting session which allowed us to go over any last minute details or panic stations (thankfully not many – phew!). The script has been revised and is ready to submit along with all this waffle….ahem, blog and work. And with it, a revised outline of the film. It is certainly different since its original conception back in January and hopefully all the more better for it.

As I mentioned in earlier entries, being a writer is an incredible journey, and metaphorically, you visit so many places of interest that inspire you to tell new stories, or even old ones that have never been heard yet. And this has been a wonderful journey, from discovering Willem, to learning more about him, which in turn allowed me to devise a scenario that although fictional, and more of a what if, still serves the real man himself in truth still hopefully. I hope audiences one day will enjoy the story as much as I have writing it.

Scriptwriting wise, I have found the new approach (spec script), at times very different to how I usually write. I’m very descriptive as you know, and this can be a blessing and a curse at times. One of the advantages of it is that actors in the past have commented how confident they are in the vision I have, the ideas I want to get out and share, so much so, that they feel they dont need to ask for much direction as it is practically all answered and highlighted on the page. A curse is that exposition can sometimes be overkill, but exploring this new way of seeing every line/descriptive as a shot in the film has been very engaging and rewarding and I’m very much going to try and put it in use again on future projects.

WILLEM REVISED & FINAL OUTLINE.

It is June 29th 1943. In a confined prison cell, Alexander, a young Nazi guard is awaiting his new prisoner he has been tasked with watching over until their execution. He is a smart, well dressed officer, who merely wishes to carry out his orders and keep attention away from him. Suddenly, he hears a commotion from outside the cell, and guards bring in his assigned prisoner; Willem Arondeus, a Dutch resistance fighter, who has been convicted of blowing up a building that held records kept by the Nazi’s of Netherland citizens, in an attempt to fight back against the ever-growing rise of fascism.

As Willem and Alexander sit alone in the cell, the former attempts to engage in conversation with his captor, who initially remains quiet. But over the course of three days, not only do they begin to converse, but they begin to have a profound emotional impact on one another. As Willem recounts what made his life so wonderful up until that point, he identifies similar traits in Alexander, and begins to encourage the young officer to be at peace with his own closeted homosexuality.

Alexander sees himself in Willem and begins to show sympathy to his ward by covertly looking after him, which culminates with a kiss between the two supposed enemies. As the moment passes, Alexander asks if Willem has one last request. He replies by writing on a piece of paper addressed to his lawyer, that simply states ‘Let it be known that Homosexuals are not cowards’.

As both men realise that their time together is up, guards are suddenly heard approaching and Alexander quickly resumes his official position for fear of being caught kissing Willem. As the guards enter and take Willem away, all Alexander can do is watch in silent horror until he hears a firing squad outside murder Willem. Alexander remains in his metaphorical cell and reflects on his own sexuality, and decides there and then whether to make a choice; to keep his sexuality a secret, or to run away, to embrace his sexuality and make sure Willem’s message gets out to the world.

Willem Arondeus (22 August 1894 – 1 July 1943)

I hope that in adapting this new spec script style, and after reading about Willem Ardoneus, getting to know more about his life, his ideals and his life, I hope I managed to give him a voice that unlike his real life counterpart, won’t be hidden away or nearly forgotten about. And I look forward immensely to filming this script come August time.

Sustain – The Story So Far

With Sustain’s principal production behind us, myself and editor Sam Woodhall have been feverishly working away on the first edit of the film to see how it looks and to make notes to plan for future pick ups in October later this year (pick ups are never a bad thing by the way, actually they’re the complete opposite and help you make a final movie even stronger so I’m all for them!).

This is quite a long process too, as we all have jobs and responsibilities outside the film so it’s a matter of us scheduling when we can meet and how much we can do. But more time we take only nurtures the film in a positive direction, so bare with us because it’s going to be great!

But that’s all well and good you may ask, but we want to see some cool footage… well, yes a first trailer has been cut too, and I’m working closely to get a score made for it that will hopefully blow you away. 

Since it’s the first time you’ll see some of these characters from the film, I really want the trailer to make an impact on you, that’ll you’ll remember it and have questions from it. So again, please have patience with us, but know we’re making it as cool as possible for everyone. 

So to tide you over till its eventual release, we thought we’d give you something else, a BRAND NEW featurette wbich looks back at Sustain’s pre-production stage (well some of it!), and features interviews with some of the cast and crew as well as behind the scene goodies! 

https://youtu.be/UuXxExmBQaY

And stay right till the end if you want to see some of the eventual trailer footage…because I’m nice like that! Ha ha 

Enjoy!

Praise for House of Screaming Death #1

Today, I received word from esteemed Hammer Historian Bruce Hallenbeck, that he had sat down to watch the film and the following is what he had to say! 

His full.comments can be read below too!

Thankyou Bruce for your kind support and words for the film. It’s especially welcoming,.what with your ultimate love for this genre as well as intimate knowledge of the films within its sphere, so to know we have reached out successfully to the fans, is completely overwhelming.

Hopefully more to come!

MA – SCRIPTWRITING #8

The new third draft of Willem has been received in the seminar session and people are happy with it now. Its structure, characters, setting as well as the themes are working now, and Phil has said how it just needs a little cleaning up in terms of odd minor DIY details such as some little spelling mistakes. So I will redraft it, read it over and it’ll be ready for the submission date.

One thing we were asked is to now start thinking about where this script would go and who would it be aimed at. My response has been to explore the film festival circuit and in particular the hundreds of LGBTQ themed screening events that occur yearly around the globe.

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With Willem being about a real man, who was actually gay himself, added with the themes of acceptance, and Alexander’s parallel awakenings if you will, as well as oppression and the fight for equality, even in a historical context I believe would be fitting for these festivals as well as their audiences, who would respond to these themes, perhaps more so as they themselves can relate to the struggles and values/imagery within it. Some festivals below are but a small sample of those I would like to eventually send the filmed script too.

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International Queer Minorities Film Festival http://www.transitionfilmfestival.com/ – Willem was a minority at the time he lived, and his message is still as powerful today as it was back then.

North Carolina Gay & Lesbian Film Festival http://www.carolinatheatre.org/films/festivals/ncglff – again, a dedicated event to LGBTQ films and characters, and with a previous film of mine going here (BRINK), they are a wonderful festival, who do nothing but celebrate and champion queer voices in cinema, and I believe Willem may perhaps find a home here with audiences, especially with its emphasis on a historical context too to add some flavour to proceedings. The event is very interested in worldwide voices too and welcome entries from the world over, so this widens the scope and allows me to be eligible to submit a future film version of Willem.

Fringe Queer Film & Arts Fest  http://fringefilmfest.com/- back on home turf is the London based Fringe fest, which again, like the previously mentioned festivals, welcomes entries with a distinct queer voice or association and I would be very much excited to have an opportunity to submit Willem to this festival as audiences are taken with the themes and characters that Willem does exhibit.

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Willem would exist as a short film, and be broadcast primarily at film festivals, not just the ones above if possible, but as many as we could send it too. That is hopefully where Willem would find its core audience, the LGBTQ community, who like to see films that have themes and associations they can believe in, as well as place an emphasis on because they will also have also experienced a lot of what goes on within the script’s narrative too (prejudice, acceptance, intimacy maybe even forbidden), and thus, have a greater emotional response overall.

MA – SCRIPTWRITING #7

I love watching films, feature length, experimental ones as well as short films. The latter in particular excites me as I love to see how other filmmakers have managed to cram all their own exciting ideas into a product that has a limited running time. I find that a great challenge to do myself, so seeing others do the same and taking on the battle is fantastic.

With the scriptwriting module, I’ve been very invested in returning to view as many as possible, as well as catch up on watching LGBTQ shorts especially to discover what new fresh ways have been released to tell tales from those in the community. With this in mind, I turned to a DVD series of films, a collection of shorts from around the globe usually associated with a different theme for each release – and which come from Pecca Pics entitled Boys on Film. In this instance it was with the subtitle – Cruel Britannia, which specialised in short films coming from the UK – all very different and with equally different sets of characters, some nice, some not so much.

The short I came across and which I had an absolute delight watching in particular was entitled ‘What You Looking At’ which was released in 2012, and is ten minutes long. Synopsis wise, it is very simple, two people get in a lift, it breaks down and the two are forced to communicate until they are released. Sounds pretty simple, but what is different is that one passenger is a young Muslim woman and the other is a drag queen. For society, they are seen as complete opposing opposites!

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However, by the end, the two have chatted, argued, bonded, laughed as well as shared costumes, and it is quite simply beautiful! I love films where the emphasis is on strangers, and how we can have a profound impact on each other. It’s essentially what a lot of my films are about, including Willem. The theme itself is nothing new, and filmmakers have toyed with it for years (Lost In Translation is probably the modern, most masterful take on this theme), but the circumstances can be different, the settings can be different, the genders can be different (or the same), and yet most of these films, still have the ability to leave you on a high, even when the ending isn’t as happy as it could be at times. The fact emotions, words, as well as physical contact has been made, means that the outcome still has the power to overwhelm us an an audience. And What You Looking At succeeds immensely at this.

Initially the characters are coy with one another, societal stipulations have made that happen. They are aware of how they are supposed to feel about each other’s lifestyle choices, but as they are forced to talk because they are stuck together in a situation out of their control, humanity begins to seep in uncontrollably and the two passengers discuss their lives, admit to truths and feelings they never have done, while developing a mutual respect for each other in the process. And despite parting ways at the end and being interrupted by those who find the situation unacceptable and troubling, the feelings and ideals they both experienced have nevertheless changed them radically and for the better.

And it reminds me of how Willem plays out. With a lot of similarities.

SUSTAIN Completes Principal Photography

This past weekend, the crew and cast of Sustain met for the last time to complete principal photography on this very exciting production.

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The Flank Brothers (Brett Dewsbury & Joshua Sewell), prepare for one last scene together on shoot

As with any film project I’m working on, I absolutely hate saying goodbye to such amazing people! An absolutely fantastic cast, all brilliant and bursting with immense acting talent, as well as our equally fantastic crew, all working in their spare time to help make the film the best it can be.

It’s taken me a good few hours to think about what to say here, because I’ve been trying to find the right words. But to be honest, I can’t conjure the appropriate ones to express how magical making Sustain has been. And no sentence could even come close.

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Sustain Memories from the past 7 weeks!

From conception, to writing, to casting, to location scouting, rehearsals and meetings nearly every week, this film has brought me out of my shell a lot more, allowed me to play about with cinematic themes and visuals as well as laugh, smile, facepalm over on set pranks and just watch in awe as this beautiful cast brought our words to life more than I ever could have imagined as a director. You’re all amazing and just so talented!!!! I am in your debt always.

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Even more Sustain Memories!

I love making films, and additionally, this crew, every single one of you, well I’m just so happy that I got to work with some of the best professionals I’ll ever know. Each of you has the same passion, the same energy and the same dedication to make something as special as we can, to make the story as strong as it can be and as best it can look.

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We’ve all laughed, pranked each other, sang to each other, hugged, loved and protected one another (usually from the cold!!!!)….but I’d do that all again in a heartbeat just to be on set with you all one more time.

God Damn, I bloody love you all, you creative nutters! Thank you for everything.

As one adventure comes to a close, here’s to the next many many more!

#TeamSustain 📽🎥🎬

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