Borderland (2022)

Very proud to announce I’m working on this film throughout 2021 in both producer role as well as writing the script for director Ben Thompson, who has been our fantastic DOP on past films such as Checking In and House of Screaming Death.

The synopsis will be released at a later date, but Borderland promises to be a violent modern-day drama/thriller that places its characters at the forefront of current human right violations pushing them to their very edge.

I cannot wait to work with Ben on this film, and supporting him to bring the script to life. He has fantastic visual ideas already, and I cannot wait to see them realised on screen! For now, here is the official teaser poster art!

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Sustain Updates!

We’re nearly there! Sustain is almost upon us! Over the last few months, we’ve been working on both the sound mix as well as developing the score. Of course, these are not things that magically appear very quickly, they take time and care. And because we are very passionate about the film, the last thing we’d want to do is now just skimp on these elements after taking so much time to lock the cut and get it as great as it can be, in order to honour our wonderful cast and crew.

SOUND MIX

So, on the sound mixing side is the amazing James Hall from RetroRain – you may recognise the name too from previous Sustain posts, as he was with us during production, developing the behind the scene featurettes you saw snippets from. Of course, they will be going into the future making of documentary we have planned, so you’ll be seeing more of James’ work there too. However, he has been also busy on the sound mix, creating ambient tracks to bring the world within the narrative to life as well as working on ADR with us, and cleaning up audio that needed some tweaking along the way (be gone background HISS!!) – this is why you’ve seen us recently posting on the social media pages in regards to ADR sessions with some of the cast again such as Brett Dewsbury and Matthew Kinson, which is always a delight to watch.

ADR is a fascinating process for me, and it’s also equally enjoyable too, having a laugh as well as the actors seeing some of the locked cut for the first time, so it’s exciting and I’m glad we’re getting this done just to make SUSTAIN as best it can be! Thank you James for your continual amazing work!

SCORING

On the score side, we have the equally amazing Hans Michael Anselmo Hess, who has produced a simply stunning and atmospheric score to help also bring the world of SUSTAIN to life. The process I go through when editing with Sam, is that we use temp scores from a variety of different film soundtracks already out there. This allows me to see how scenes are working, and to help get the emotional feel of them right, to know they are doing exactly what I intended them to do and which supports the fantastic performances already. I’ve done this on our previous efforts such as House of Screaming Death and Checking In, so if it ain’t broke, why try fixing it if it works for you!

After the inital locked cut was signed off, Hans then came onboard and myself and Troy held Skype meetings with him to discuss ideas based on what we’d ultilised in the temp score as well as seeing what Hans wanted to bring to proceedings as well. Since then, Hans worked on sections of the score which I then would listen too. I would provide any notes and he would then resume working on it and more. It’s a fantastic process and really interactive and enjoyable. Every week we had long Skype conversations to go over more ideas and thrash out our creative thoughts.

And now we have a score that really gives SUSTAIN another essence of character which compliments the already stunning sound design James is doing, the fantastic editing Sam is doing and allows the entrie cast/crew to shine even more! And to show you what I mean by that statement, check out the samples from Hans’ final score below! Utterly compelling in both design and feel! I cannot wait to work with Hans again on both SNARL and YOU ARE MY SUNSHINE! Check out Hans’ website here!

 

Midlands Movies

Just wanted to say a massive THANKYOU to the folks over at Midlands Movies for listing Sustain as one of their most anticipated films of 2019! Really means a lot to us all!

No pressure then too! You can read their article at the following address!

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Filming Sunshine Block 2

This past week we’ve been filming back on You Are My Sunshine, and it has been both emotional and new in a strange way. Emotional, because the performances from everyone are just stunning, and are keeping us in awe! But new in a strange way because Joe and Tom are now both older and played by Charles O’Neill and Ernest Vernon who are now inhabiting the roles and taking over from their younger co-stars/variations (Jack Knight and Steve Salt).

So for myself, it’s been a happy set of challenges to direct one set of characters via multiple actors (and this will be extending to the character of Ethel too, previously played beautifully by Charlie Clarke and in block 3 by the equally wonderful Rosemary Manjunath).

One thing that does make life a little easier is the modern day setting, no longer are we limited by the design palette of 1970s decor and clothing (which is still great to play with of course!), but now we can present the more up to date story in a design way that is different and yet allows these same characters to exist in their own right, but not too far that they ever become too dissimilar to what comes before we have already shot.

Thank you also to Jonathan Butler who is the newest addition to the film in the form of John, Joe’s nephew and Ethel’s son, who acts as a generational bridge between the past and present! Just wonderful working with you!

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So thank you to a wonderful cast/crew again and for the patience of folks who have also helped us (with locations and so much), such as my grandparents (whose home is now Tom and Joe’s), while a special thank you again goes to the Rev Colin Such who allowed us to use the graveyard around the Rushall Church (the same place we employed for House of Screaming Death), as well as Sophia French from Walsall Council.

I couldn’t do this without everyone! You’re all superstars!

Sustain Storyboards

When it comes to directing, I strangely never really use storyboards, even though they are amazing to see created! I have a distinct visual in my head instead, and relay that via numerous pre-production meetings with my DOP accompanied ALWAYS by my shot lists (which is my preferred tool).

However, sometimes I do make a few doodles, especially when I’m really excited about a concept, a shot, the potential mise-en-scene that in turn could further the ambiguity or themes locked in the narrative.

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So it was great to stumble upon these original sketches/notes I made a few months before we even began production on Sustain in late 2016 – especially since now I can compare them to the final film shots which turned out better than I could ever have dreamed – and all achieved through the wonderful cast/crew 

PS – what’s even better is that these two scenes were filmed about a good month apart too – good ole’ movie magic 🎬

Get Ready for SNARL

Werewolves are just a myth right? 🐺 SNARL is now in preproduction from director L.J Stark Greenwood and stars Jay Podmore, Charlie Clarke, Jack Knight and Troy Dennison. It has been written and will be produced by myself with executive producer duties falling onto Pat The Bull Films and BrumTown Films. 

This past weekend, the cast met up for the first time to go through the script with director L.J. while also doing costume tests as well as other preparation.

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You can also check out the cast talking about the film below in our new promo!

The film is expected late 2019. Keep checking back for updates! Because there are lots more to come before we start filming this Easter 2019!