Interview with Outward Film Network

I think it’s safe to presume that people around me know I’m very private and reserved when it comes to talking about myself. I’m quite happy being in the shadows and just being left to get on with the behind the scenes saga of making a film.

However, I was approached by the kind folks over at Outward Film Network who asked if I would like to be interviewed for their amazing website which is tailored towards the indepdent filmmaking scene and the kindness they showed me as well as their devotion to the indie filmmaker scene persuaded me to drop a few thoughts down to their questions…. well I say a few…. about 4,000 words later, I was all waffled out.

Anyway, here is the link to the full interview over on their amazing site. Check them out please! Thank you so very much to Mark and the entire team over on the page, who are all absolute superstars!

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Petrichor

Recently, I had the amazing honour to be asked by the wonderful Cameron Moon if I’d be interested in directing his short script entitled Petrichor.

Working with Cameron and forming a lifelong friendship with such a loving and creative soul on previous projects, I sprang at the chance to do it and have felt incredibly honoured that Cameron would trust me to help bring his beautiful script to life.

We filmed in Birmingham City Centre this past Sunday, January 27th. It was great because it allowed both myself and Kaushy to work directly behind the cameras again (our GH4s), something we’ve both been wanting to do a lot more of in the coming year, so it was fantastic to play with natural lighting (and planning for any LEDs to employ to light up any other additional areas maybe), and we got some haunting performances from both Cameron (who also starred), as well as Paula Mur, an exceptionally talented actress.

Some of the main inspirations for the film was the opening sequence of Last Tango in Paris, as well as Lost in Translation (which is what attracted and excited me the most initially), albeit with Cameron’s own unique touch thematically.

It also allowed me to play around with framing compositions inspired by my own love of similar ones from Michael Mann, a favourite director of mine, and whose work has influenced me visually in past films such as Sustain and Sunshine, and many more.

On the day also, we were joined by Kevin Totts who took the above images while we were shooting and I’m sure you will agree, they are simply gorgeous. Artwork in the film was offered by the stunningly talented Barbara Witkowska, while the score will be provided by the equally talented Dom Mason.

I hope when it is released after the festival run or if you see it on there somewhere, you will see what were all trying to achieve, something delicate, something full of hope as well as dashing it with a sprinkle of kindness. Something the world seemingly lacks a lot of these days.

Thank you Cameron x

Jay Podmore joins SNARL

Lots of things going on behind the scenes of this film we’re prepping to shoot early next year and now we can announce a new addition to the cast!

Next up joining the SNARL cast alongside Charlie Clarke and Jack Knight is the equally amazing Jay Podmore, who will be playing Elijah, in this eerie new Werewolf tale from director L. J. Stark Greenwood, which starts shooting in April 2019.

Stark comments; “Jay is a fantastic actor and having seen him already in our previous effort, Sustain and just how commanding he is in that, he was just a natural choice to pursue for the role of Elijah and I cannot wait to see what he does with this highly conflicted character through his stunning on-screen talents as well as how he bounces off Charlie and Jack’s characters! It’s going to be amazing!”

SNARL is being directed by L.J. with a script by Dave Hastings who also produces. Will Bradshaw is director of photography while Kaushy Patel is on executive producer duties with Troy Dennison providing special make up and creature FX with Alex Bourne.

The film is expected late 2019. Keep checking back for updates!

SNARL Synopsis & Cast Announced!

Earlier this past year, I wrote about how I was working with our stunning Art Director L.J. Stark Greenwood on a film idea she wanted to direct. All about Werewolves.

So even though we’ve been working very hard on You Are My Sunshine, this has been busying itself in the background too.

And now we can reveal a few more details as well as the official Synopsis.

Snarl (2019)

England. 1934. A young man, Elijah, 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, he suddenly finds himself secretly released by two villagers, Faye and her younger brother Benjamin, who believe he is innocent.

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.

Starring Jay Podmore (Sustain), and reuniting Charlie Clarke with Jack Knight fresh from Sunshine, the film will be directed by L.J. with special FX by both Troy Dennison and Alex Bourne while Will Bradshaw is back as Director of Photography with Suki Sandhar on camera support. Kaushy Patel is on exec producer duties while I’m in the producing chair as well as writing the script.

We really cannot wait to film this in 2019 and see L.J direct the hell out of this wonderful cast and crew! Until then, here’s the official teaser poster!

Snarl Poster Theatrical 2018

Project Updates!

Amazing few weeks chatting with the ever wonderful and supportive Sophia French at Walsall Council, who is not only a brilliant help with the locations and planning for You Are My Sunshine, but is also an unseen hero for helping us on both Sustain and House of Screaming Death too – honestly, without this lady, we couldn’t do half the stuff and use most of the places we get for these projects.

She is quite simply stunning and I’m always just so overwhelmed to get the council’s backing and help for these projects and beyond!

Thank you Sophia for your continued kindness and faith in us!

PS – She makes for a cracking writer too! Her work is great!

You Are My Sunshine Interview

Recently, WCR Presenter Jason Forrest sat down with both young Joe and Tom themselves aka Jack Knight and Steve Salt, to discuss how they are gearing up ready to start filming You Are My Sunshine in the summer! The complete video interview is below, and there may be a little surprise in there as well, so keep watching till the end!

Thanks to Jason as well as the lads themselves for coming together to make the interview a reality!

Sustain Behind The Scenes Documentary Announced

While we’re in the deeper stages of post-production on Sustain, there’s also a behind the scenes documentary being worked on by Evan Tapper, who was commisioned by producer Troy to snip together something that would tell you the story of how the film was made, with contributions from cast and crew from all stages of the film’s progress. From inception, pre-production through to the final stages with eventual pick-ups being completed this past year.  Here’s a few shots from the documentary so far!

   

As you can see, lots of the cast and crew speak about their time on the film, how they got involved as well as lots of behind the scenes footage so you can experience what we were all doing to make this film a reality. All being well, the documtnary will be included on the eventual physical media release down the line.

Until then, and in case you missed it, you can watch the previously released featurette that was made while in pre-production and shows some of the actors at the first few readthroughs leading up to the film’s first shooting day.

Reflections on GRID

It’s been just over a month since we filmed GRID and it’s now in post production, but people have been very interested in the project and we have some exciting things to announce about it in the near future, but enough about that for now, at the moment I would like to share some reflections on the making of the film from some of the very talented and fantastic actors who you will see on screen in the finished product. And my goodness, were they amazing!

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Charlie Clarke (Angie Wordsworth) & Ernest Vernon (Dr Andrews) on set.

To give you some context beforehand, here is the synopsis;

Set in the mid 1980s, the virus that would eventually be known worldwide as AIDS, has already struck fear into the medical profession as well as the LGBTQ community.

As large numbers of this populace are being unmercifully struck down by this horrid and mysterious/insidious killer virus, in one hospital there remains hope. As Angie Wordsworth (Charlie Clarke), a cover nurse, meets Daniel Cole (Steven Salt), a patient who has been cruelly afflicted with the virus and who has had no-one but Doctor Andrews (Ernest Vernon), to care for him, having being abandoned and left with nothing but his ever diminishing memories.

As Angie and Daniel, two complete strangers, comprehend their situation together, a bond is lovingly formed between patient and carer, no matter what the consequences and without prejudice. A bond that will prove, that in our darkest moments, humanity & love, will always find a way to shine through.

Steve Salt (actor, Daniel Cole)

How did you get involved with the project initially? I was introduced to the team through House of the Screaming Death having been cast in for a minor role as Lawrence and from that, Dave expressed a desire to collaborate again and he asked me would I be interested in a short film and the process snowballed from there.

What were your first reactions to the script?  My first reaction was that this was going to be very hard so I suppose subconsciously I accepted the role before I finished reading. I was struck by the weight of the script and the themes of equality and humility came out easily for me.

The film deals with the initial years of the AIDS epidemic when not much was known about the virus. Do you think it is important to tackle this in the medium of film? I think it is very important to tackle. It’s an area which I knew very little about and it was challenging to face the stigmas and social connotations and hold them to account. It has to be relevant if we see it in our society right now still as well.

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Was it challenging for you as an actor & did you feel any responsibility in taking on the role? Of course it’s a huge weight to carry because you’re representing something so important to many people. I found the best way to handle that was to focus on Daniel and his unique and tragic experiences that kept the water clear.

What should people expect from the final film? Good question! I’m probably the wrong person to ask, yet I hope the themes I mentioned earlier shine through and that audiences have an experience that broadens their minds/horizons after watching the film. Allowing them a very emotional insight into a terribly upsetting time for the LGBTQ community; allowing them to be more accepting of others. I also hope that it shows that love comes in all forms, no matter what, and the hope that was also there at the time, still continues to this day as the fight against AIDS goes on.

Charlie Clarke (actress, Angie Wordsworth)

How did you get involved with the project initially? I had previously worked with the team on the feature “House of Screaming Death” as a small supporting role and had kept in touch with them, hoping to work on more with them in the future. Dave contacted me about the script and I said yes to it, I had such a good experience working with them the first time it was an honour to be asked back for this project.

What were your first reactions to the script? Honestly, I cried. In a good way! Right from the word go you could tell this script had been written with care and a connection to the subject matter. It was beautifully written and I showed it to my other half Liam, who is also a filmmaker (owner of SuperfreakMedia), and he told me I just had to do it. I fell in love with the character of Angie and felt a connection to her and where she goes within the story.

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The film deals with the initial years of the AIDS epidemic when not much was known about the virus. Do you think it is important to tackle this in the medium of film? I think film and art is reflective of the world around it and although the world has made a lot of advancements in understanding the AIDS virus, I don’t necessarily think we have made the same strides in the acceptance of the LGBTQ community. In many places around the world LGBTQ people are accepted with open arms, but equally there are places where people are killed simply for being themselves, just look at the Orlando shootings – I believe that film is an important tool in discussing these issues and that it prompts people to think. Regardless of an audience’s background, film is something that is so accessible and for me as an actor if you can create an emotional response in the audience you have done your job right! Although GRID is set in the 1980s I still think the themes of the treatment of the LGBTQ community are still very relevant today and I hope the audience will take something away from this film.

What should people expect from the final film? It was a very emotional shoot for the whole cast and crew so I expect tissues may be needed when watching it! But more importantly I think the crew behind this project are amazing, as I said the script has been written with great care, so people should expect a moving piece that will be beautifully put together by a great team. I really hope this film will go far as so many people have worked so hard on it!

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(Charlie and Steve between takes on the set)

 

GRID Begins Filming Next Week

Next week sees the second short film I will be directing over the August month (holidays, what holidays), and I am very excited to be bringing this particular project to life. However while producing any film is lots of fun, I think this short, along with the Pete & Aaron segment from ‘Checking In’, will be one of the most difficult to make, as I have a very strong personal connection to the themes and characters we are going to present. Having lost a friend to AIDS a very long time ago, I will be very conscious of what we are attempting to do, that we are treating the subject and characters with the respect they deserve, while at the same time hoping that my friend, wherever he is now, and who also wanted to “just make movies” himself,  approves of what we will be producing next week on set.

Speaking of ‘on set’, wow, you have some amazing actors to look forward to seeing in GRID. First up is Steve Salt, whom I met through HOSD, and my goodness, he is just one of the best actors I’ve ever had the pleasure to see perform and know as a friend. After Screaming Death, I knew I wanted to work with Steve again, and after presenting the script to him months ago, we met up and discussed the project and I was so happy he agreed! (It won’t be the last time we work together too, I’ve already nabbed him for a future feature film after Sustain too!). Steve has been working on the character of Daniel for the past few months and I am certain he will break your heart in the film.

Grid Cast copy

Next up is the stunning Charlie Clarke, who again, I met through HOSD (she appears in Troy Dennison’s segment, The Lady In Grey as Jenny). Charlie will be playing Angie, the nurse, a loving young lady who happens to come across Daniel when he needs someone the most. Charlie was the perfect actress to ask to bring Angie to life, and her determination to the character is second to none and as with Steve, she was pull on your heartstrngs. I cannot wait to work with her!

Finally, the last member of the cast is the marvellous Ernest Vernon who I have worked with multiple times (and he always comes back, even when we’ve had him being harrassed by manaics on Halloween). Ernest is playing Doctor Andrews, and provides the context for the film’s overall storyline. The character is a kind man, fighting prejudice in a time when the AIDS virus was on its initial rampage, and no-one knew how to handle it. Fortunately, some Doctors were not deterred and put all their energies into making the lives of their patients as comfortable as possible. Andrews is dedicated to those wonderful souls and Ernest will bring him to life beautifully. I know it.

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I will keep updating you all next week once the filming is over (we have a 2-day window), so watch this space! And if you’re wondering, why call it GRID…? – Gay-related immune deficiency (GRID) was the name first proposed in 1982 to describe an “unexpected cluster of cases” of what is now known as AIDS.”

CLONE Short Film

The first of two short films I am directing this month is based on a wonderful script by my very good friend and great actor Charles O’Neill. Storywise, it’s very touching, forward thinking, dare I say timey-wimey, and at points, a little cheeku and funny. Charles is a wonderful writer and has poured his heart and soul into this and I’m very honoured that he asked me and Kaushy if we wanted to help him bring it to the screen. Charles also stars in the film as Prof Adrian Jennings!

CLONE NEW POSTER

 

(above – a teaser of what’s to come…who is Adrian Jennings speaking too?)

Technically, the film will be a challenge as Charles is playing…well complex characters (or is he? You’ll have to wait to find out!), and filming was scheduled over a 2-day period in one location (the folks’ kitchen and dining room). However, we decided to see it through and instead of finishing at midnight, we went through to 4am, and got it all filmed.

Now the editing begins, and…well that’s all I can say really, cuz’ spoilers! So I will leave you with some pictures from on set taken by Kaushy (as per usual)