‘Evacuees’ Feature Film in Development with Kato Pictures

I’m delighted to announce that my elevated period horror feature film Evacuees is now in development with Kato Pictures, led by fantastic producer, Lauren Parker. I’m attached as writer/director.

Conceived in late 2018, Evacuees started as a pitch selected as one of eight feature projects in Arrow Video FrightFest’s New Blood 2018 contest to receive mentoring from BAFTA-nominated producer Jack Tarling (God’s Own Country), horror icon Barbara Crampton, director/producer Jenn Wexler, and Queensbury Pictures’ Giles Edwards. Since then, the script has grown through its infancy to become a Stage32 and Screencraft semi-finalist.

Set in 1943, it tells the story of a Yorkshire town that plays host to a group of child evacuees from war-torn London. Childless outcast Elizabeth grows close to them, but faces a dilemma when she discovers the truth of their sinister intentions.

Lauren Parker is a member of the BFI Network x BAFTA crew as a producer, where we first connected, and was awarded one of only twelve places on their mentoring scheme. Lauren is currently mentored by Camille Gatin (The Girl With All The Gifts). She was also selected for the Edinburgh International Film Festival Talent Lab in 2018.

Lauren has produced successful shorts including the award-winning Night Owls and the Creative England/BFI NETWORK funded Wash Club. Wash Club received an online premiere with Short of the Week and a Vimeo Staff Pick

Lauren’s latest short Majority was funded by the BFI NETWORK and has screened at Krakow Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest and BFI London Film Festival. Her next short Lord of the Free Range is due to shoot in 2021 with the support of the BFI NETWORK. Her films have played festivals around the world including Frightfest, Sitges, Aesthetica, London Short Film Festival, This is England, Galway Film Fleadh and many more.

She started her career in television as a production assistant with Endemol and has since worked in TV production with CBBC, BSLBT and Wellington Films. She recently worked as line producer on the interactive project As Dead As It Gets. Lauren has also worked on a range of feature films, from low budget horror to the BFI funded The Devil Outside.

Lauren has produced countless commercial and corporate videos with clients including Porsche, Boots, Nottingham City Council and NY record label, Bear and Owl. Her music videos have been screened on Vevo and MTV as well as nominated for Best Radar Commission at the Radar Music Video awards.

As a filmmaker, this story allows me to explore themes and concepts around motherhood, fertility, femininity, gender and identity through complex characters that are rarely portrayed on screen.

I’m so happy to join forces with Lauren on Evacuees. Her passion and enthusiasm for the script is palpable, even through lockdown, and I look forward to channelling our energies into raising this project from toddler through to adulthood.

‘Faux Hidden Gems of the VHS Era’ now on sale

A cool project that I’m involved with is now on sale! I’m a guest writer included in Faux Hidden Gems of the VHS Era – a collection of all the best/worst and bonkers plots from the back covers of 1980s VHS boxes, but for movies that don’t exist! It’s a smashing little book available in an actual print edition and is the brainchild of the magnificent Mike Garley, an EMMY-nominated comic series writer (Collider, Wallace and Gromit, Adventure Time, The Kill Screen).

As a kid, my family rented stacks of VHS tapes every weekend – all the weird and wonderful shock and shlock flicks. They all had glorious cover art that was sometimes better than the movie itself, cracking loglines and enticing synopses. This book pays tribute to the era with a compendium of completely made up movies that could totally have been made and fit in perfectly with the real thing on video shop shelves.

I’ve created a totally made up cult VHS hit for this book, complete with logline, reviews, production gossip and a crazy premise. The book features 52 fantastic creations from the depths of the mind of Mike Garley and other guest writers – it’ll leave you wishing you could actually rent these gems. It’s great escapist fun and only £6.00. Buy it here now.

Quantum Leap feature for The Companion now live

My first piece for The Companion has now been published. It’s an extended feature about one of my all-time favourite TV shows – Quantum Leap – concerning one of the programmes most important episodes – the first in which Sam leaps into the place of a woman – What Price Gloria. The piece is called One Giant Leap for Sam, Another Day for Samantha.

Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett, as Samantha, S2 Ep 4, Quantum Leap

I talked to the amazing writer and co-exec producer, Deborah M Pratt, who was generous with her time, about her influences, intentions and reflections on writing and making the episode, and the timely relevance of its themes. It was an honour to speak to such a pioneer.

I’m really proud of this piece. Revisiting the show has been a slice of nostalgic delight, but also a reminder that though we’ve made some leaps, there is still yet more progress to be made in a post #MeToo era.

Sam conquers 1960s sexism… in heels

You need to be a subscriber to The Companion to read my feature in full here, but it’s a great app and website for TV, film, scifi and 90s fans. A snip for some great content and different perspectives on all the movies and shows you loved from a cracking era. More on Quantum Leap from me to come!

Cover Feature – Morfydd Clark interview – Film Stories, Issue 19

I’m delighted to have written the cover feature for this month’s Film Stories magazine! I was lucky enough to interview the chameleonic actress Morfydd Clark, who spoke to me about two new films out in October that she stars in – psychological horror, Saint Maud, and the comedy drama, Eternal Beauty. We had a good old natter and chatted about both and so much more.

Speaking to me from New Zealand, where she is currently filming the new Lord of the Rings TV series for Amazon, Morfydd was incredibly insightful, charming and self-effacing. She sets the screen ablaze in both films. I also wrote the Eternal Beauty review in the same issue. Huge thanks to the editor, Simon Brew, for being such a supporter of my writing.

Films Stories, issue 19, October 2020 is shipping now.

New ident for Arrow Video FrightFest 2020 – ‘Screen’ – now on YouTube

Hard to believe a year has zipped by since we released #FFIDENT20, but it has. Though James Moran and I swore it would be our last Turn Off Your Bloody Phone ident for Arrow Video FrightFest, we changed our minds and did a surprise ident this year in lockdown, on incredibly limited resources, to celebrate the Digital Edition of FrightFest this August and help make things feel a little bit more normal.

Turn Off Your Bloody Phone: Screen features contributions from Mark Kermode, Emily Booth, Corin Hardy, Nicholas Vince, Matthias Hoene and devoted FrightFest supporters.

Written & directed by James and I, it screened before the world premieres of There’s No Such Thing As Vampires and I Am Lisa at FrightFest on 28th August, but is now available online for free on YouTube.

Thank you to FrightFest for still running a festival this summer, albeit digitally. It’s horror Christmas and we cherish the festival organisers’ efforts.

New feature in Film Stories magazine, Issue 18, August 2020 – Pre-order now!

I am forever a fan of the amazing Film Stories magazine – it’s a truly independent publication and as an avid reader, I’ve never once been disappointed in a single article. So I’m thrilled that I’ve been able to write a new feature for issue 18, due out over the coming weeks. It’s the fifth edition I’ve written a piece for and this was another delight.

This piece is a look-back at a British 90s movie that caused quite the stir on its release with it being a bit more slap than tickle. I had lots of fun researching the film and speaking with the filmmaker – who was a delight to talk to. It’s the story of how this film was developed, the challenges faced in production, critical reception at the time and how it found wider acclaim and fandom more than two decades later.

More will be revealed when the issue is out, but you can pre-order a copy here. It’s a snip at just £5.99 for the print edition, or there’s a digital option. Please support this utterly brilliant publication. Everyone has been hit hard these last few months and print media especially so. With an already challenging market, and then retail outlets closed for a considerable period, mag makers have been hit hard. Beloved Q magazine has folded and ScifiNow has moved to a digital platform only. Please help keep print alive and support this brilliant mag. We need it – it’s a big warm hug for film fans.

On writing team for ‘The Companion’ app & website – a treat for 90s scifi fans

I’m so happy to be part of the writing team on The Companion, a brand new app and website devoted to 90s scifi. There’ll be long reads, podcasts, daily trivia, infographics and artwork to indulge in as your companion to all the films and TV shows that made the era so special. From Armageddon to The X Files, The Companion is an insider look at who, how, and why our favourite films and shows were made from the cast, crew and experts who were there. As it’s app/website, the material will be up-to-date and it’ll always be with you in your pocket.

The Kickstarter campaign to raise a wedge of funds to aid the launch in August is now live and has already raised a huge proportion of the total needed in just two days, but there’s still a little way to go and great perks to be had – early bird subscription offers, art prints, enamel pins and more! Head over the the page for more details!

Nine-page article in Film Stories, Issue 14, March 2020 – on sale now!

Aside from writing my new play, prepping for my next short film and cooking up some other secret projects, I carved out time to write another piece for the INCREDIBLE movie magazine, Film Stories, issue fourteen.

This time, I interviewed eight great directors about the challenges they’ve faced getting their feature films made, their inspirations, honing their craft, obstacles they’ve overcome and still combat in the industry, and they also shared their wisdom and advice for new filmmakers. Oh, and though not a big deal, all eight of these incredible directors are female filmmakers. Both Film Stories and I are proud of this. We celebrate them in this mammoth nine-age article, the longest feature that Film Stories has published to date. It’s available in indie shops, the BFI Southbank shop and to order online.

Huge thanks to the filmmakers who spoke to me around their exceptionally busy work schedules and personal commitments to share their stories and experiences:

Alice Lowe

Prano Bailey-Bond

Rachel Tunnard

Hope Dickson Leach

Aislinn Clarke

Rita Osei

Jeanie Finlay

Chelsea Stardust

And great thanks to Simon Brew, the editor of Film Stories, for asking me to write this, but also for consistently putting together such a brilliantly entertaining, informative, exciting, independent and cool magazine, and in glorious fine-smelling print no less, not just digital.

New podcast appearances – Evolution of Horror & Franchise Players – out now!

I LOVE a good podcast, especially podcasts about films, so I was chuffed to chat about two great stonkers in two recent podcasts, both of which are now available for your aural pleasure.

First, I chatted to Mike Muncer on the hugely popular Evolution of Horror podcast about Ti West’s 2009 retro occult horror, The House of The Devil. A stunning example of beautiful low-budget independent filmmaking, which wears its influences on its sleeve, Mike and I delved deep into the plot, aesthetic, its legacy and superstar Greta Gerwig’s supporting role, as well as its film nerd status as a fine example of ‘mumblegore.’ This episode is twinned with Mike’s chat with Robb Watts about another witchy release from the same year, the equally brilliant Drag Me To Hell by Sam Raimi. Have a listen here or via Apple Podcasts and other services. It’s recently been Apple Podcast’s number one film history podcast!

Then I had a good old natter with Mark Goddard and Chloe Davies for the Franchise Players podcast about one of the best thrillers that has ever been made – yes, I said thriller rather than horror – Richard Donner’s 1976 classic, The Omen. This is another movie I have such respect for, and Mark, Chloe and I discussed the film in great detail – scene by scene where we could, evaluating the story, performance, score, its set pieces, where its genre lines blur and the influence it’s had on modern horror classics. We spoke for several hours and I could have praised it for another six hours. You can listen here.

If you love a bit of film history, critique and trivia, or just want to get your geek on during your commute, when cooking, in the bath or when trying to sleep, or you’re searching for creative inspiration, both are a good, fun and worthy listen. Enjoy!

And there’s more of me chatting on podcasts to come over the coming months… To be announced soon!

Blood Shed European TV Premiere 1st February – ShortsTV

Blood Shed has its European TV premiere on ShortsTV Europe in ‘The Midnight Hour’ slot on 1st February.

ShortsTV is available in Europe on the following platforms:

Netherlands (Ziggo – Channel 125)

Netherlands (T-Mobile – Channel 321)

Netherlands (YoufoneTV – Channel 301)

Netherlands (Delta – Channel 312)

Netherlands (Caiway – Channel 106)

Netherlands (Kabeltex – Channel 187)

Belgium (Telenet – Channel 314 Flanders and 334 Brussels)

Serbia (SBB – Channel 175)

Blood Shed is already regularly screening on ShortsTV across North America.

Thanks to Shorts International.