Blood Shed wins big at Knoxville Horror and Sick Chick Flicks fests! Podcast appearance!

Blood Shed continues to cook up a storm in the US! Our little sheddy tale of guts and gore has brought us glory the last few weeks, notching up several awards! First, we were stunned to wake up to the news that Blood Shed scooped THREE awards at the prestigious Knoxville Horror Film Fest

We beat stiff competition to be crowned Funniest Film, and James Moran was named Best Director for a short, and we won Best Script for a short film, too. As Producer, Co-Writer and Production Designer, I’m grinning from ear to ear and thrilled that our rather unique tale has found its place on the film scene so quickly.

The awesome trophies arrived this week and are now adorning the Moranic Productions gong shelves!

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And there’s been even more glitz and glory for the film thanks to the amazing Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival in North Carolina!

The festival team kindly picked our star, Shaun Dooley, as the winner of the Best Male Lead Award. Here’s a quick peek at the trophy that is currently en route – what a hot bird! We can’t wait to unwrap this little chick.

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Huge thank you to both festivals and their judges, but also to our supporters who helped get this film made and spread the word about it. It’s an honour to share it with so many like-minded shed-fanciers.

We have more screenings coming up. We’re screening at the awesome Ax Wound Film Festival in Vermont on Saturday 18th November, then we’re back in London on home turf for the Underwire Festival 2017 where we’ll be screening at the Prince Charles Cinema on Friday 24th November. Come and show your support if you can. I’m nominated for their Best Producer award and at more than 8 months pregnant, I am extra, extra emotional about this nomination!

In other news, James and I are guests on the latest edition (season 2, ep 7) of the brilliant film podcast Casting the Runes! We were chuffed to chat with the lovely Runes team and had a great time talking about Creepshow and Blood Shed. Have a listen to the episode here! We hope you find the things we say insightful as well as plain odd, weird and strange.

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Winner – Fresher Publishing Writing Prize 2017 for Creative Non-Fiction!

Seeing your work in print is a great buzz for any writer, but it’s all the more special when the story is personal, heartfelt and concerns the life of a loved one who has since departed.

Earlier this year, I was thrilled to receive the news that my short story, The Shells at Miramare Market, had won the Fresher Publishing Writing Prize for Creative Non-Fiction 2017.

After submitting to the independent publisher, Fresher, late last year, I did what many writers often do – logged that I’d submitted the piece, filed it away and completely forgot all about it, expecting to hear nothing at all or perhaps a ‘thanks but no thanks’ email. Much to my surprise, I didn’t just receive a standard email – I was ecstatic to learn that I’d actually won! Not only had I bagged myself a nice title and a prize of a consultation with a publisher, the story would also be published in the print anthology alongside all the category finalists and winners for the year.

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After several months of eager anticipation, Fresher Writing Volume 3 arrived at my doorstep – an advance copy! Though I often read books on my iPad, there’s nothing quite like holding and smelling a real book. It takes me back to my childhood – devouring the pages of my dad’s old Penguin Classics with the orange spines and that distinctive smell of age.

Turning the pages of the beautifully bound paperback anthology, it is a joy to see the story in print. It’s been a little while since my last short story appeared in print or was recorded for radio, but this story is extra special. Inspired by the true story of my dad’s mother’s secret life as a partisan in her native Italy during World War 2, The Shells at Miramare Market is a blend of Sofia’s stories as they were retold to us over the years, mixed with a little invention to plug factual gaps.

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Sofia and her husband Ronnie back in the day

Sofia sadly passed away in 2015, followed shortly after by her husband of six decades, Ronnie, but I was extremely fortunate to have a private recording, made just a few months before her passing, of her talking about her life to guide me through the writing process. Hearing her voice helped me develop the character of the piece, but I also interviewed my dad to get more detail – descriptions of Miramare, Trieste and his memories of his mum, her attitudes and her parents, but also her brother Mario, a fellow partisan who suddenly went missing one day during the war. The family never knew what happened to him and suspect he ended up a victim of war, possibly in the Karst Foiba. This loss was often commented on by Sofia and was something that she carried with her through her life.

Though the piece is termed creative non-fiction for good reason, I felt a great responsibility to tell her story as sensitively and accurately as I could. But I also wanted to tell her story in a compelling way – structuring the narrative and invented dialogue in my scenic writing to hook in the reader, create tension and even laugh at the juxtaposition of the little frail old lady with a surprising, dark and heroic past that you’d never have known just by looking at her. Though her passing was recent at the time of writing the piece, and therefore raw and quite difficult for myself and my dad, it’s such a personal piece and one that I was completely invested in – more so than much of my other work – and I hope this shows in the quality of the writing, the narrative, dialogue and characterisation. I’m proud of this story and feel it’s a love letter to Sofia and to her life. And who knows, maybe there is more to this story and it could become something more long-form…

Fresher Writing Volume 3 will shortly be available to purchase via Amazon. Stay tuned for a link!

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Fresher Writing Volume 3

Blood Shed’s meteoric rise! World Premiere, festivals, award nominations & reviews!

It’s been six months since we shot Blood Shed, and the shed has had something of a meteoric rise since its World Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest in London just over a month ago! As co-writer, producer and production designer of this tale of 80s shed gore, I couldn’t be more proud.

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Blood Shed cast and crew ahead of the World Premiere! Pic: Moranic Productions 2017

We just yesterday found out that we’ve been selected by our SIXTEENTH festival! AND we’ve been nominated for an award at Sick Chick Flicks Film Festival in North Carolina!

To have sixteen festivals booked in little over a month since our World Premiere is really quite a feat, and we’re overjoyed that so many festival programmers love a story about a killer shed as much as we do! It’s all come as rather a surprise to James and I. We’ve never had a film gather such momentum so fast and only hope that the little shed that could continues to find its tribe on the festival scene and beyond! My fingers and toes are crossed daily.

Last week we announced four festivals – Knoxville Horror Film Fest in Tennessee, Unrestricted View Horror Film Festival in London, Ax Wound Film Festival in Vermont, and Underwire Festival 2017 in London, where we’re up for another award – the Producing Award. Underwire is also a BAFTA qualifier festival – our first to date. I’m more than a little bit overwhelmed by that as it’s a personal award, and Blood Shed was by no means an easy film to make.

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Blood Shed has two festival outings this week in case you’re able to catch it on the big screen. First, the film will be screening in Pennsylvania, USA on Friday 6th October at the Indie Horror Drive-In Film Festival

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Then on Saturday 7th October, the shed is back in London to rock Wimbledon International Short Film Festival from 7.30pm, where we’re nominated for the Best London Filmmaker award, and eligible for two further awards to be decided on the night!

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More details on the festivals that we’ve been able to announce so far can be found on the Screenings page of the official Blood Shed website, which is crammed with stuff!

We’ve also had a flurry of exceptional reviews following our premiere. Here are just a few highlights with some linky links for clicky clicks if you want to feast your eyes on the full reviews. They’re rather lovely and have certainly left us all warm and fuzzy inside.

​“…indebted to the CGI-free horror of the Eighties, and in particular to George A. Romero’s Creepshow (1982)… as though this were a lost British segment of Romero’s anthology film.” SciFiNow

“A thirteen-minute slice of genius… enough gags and gore to put a smile on anyone’s face… Davies and her partner-in-cinematic-crime James Moran have a perfect handle on what makes an entertaining and memorable short.” Starburst

“Loaded with laughs and gore to satisfy in this very niche sub-genre you never knew you needed.” HorrorTalk

We’ve had such tremendous support from our Kickstarter backers and new fans who’ve discovered the film since we ran our crowdfunding campaign back in February. All digital rewards, and most of the physical perks, have been sent out for the gang to enjoy. Those waiting on swag packs that include a poster, badges and magnet – never fear – they’ll be on your doorstep in no time. They’ll be worth the wait!

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Merch! Merch! Merch!

We may offer some of the remaining limited edition merchandise as competition prizes at festivals or on social media, so keep your eyes peeled on the Twitter feed.

We’re deep in pre-production on our next short film, Hank: Portrait of a Serial Killer, which is due to be shot in November (depending on when my baby decides she’s ready to come out) and completed in early 2018. This one is written and directed by me, and produced by James and I. There’s no shed this time, but still lots of gore, blood and jokes. We hope to share this with the festival scene next year.

Connie scoops Funniest Short Film Award

Great news! Connie has won big at GenreBlast Film Festival 2017 in Virginia, USA! Connie scooped the Funniest Short Film award this month following the State Premiere at the festival, where my little short screened alongside the opening feature film, Guardians.

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GenreBlast is an awesome festival and the comedy shorts selection was really amazing, so I’m totally blown away that the film has actually bagged the award. You just never really know when you write a comedy if people are going to get your sense of humour. You can edit, rewrite and share with your team and crew and have all the laughs in the world on set, but you still have to hope that the film finds its tribe in on the festival scene and in the big bad world. Thankfully, Connie has, and I’m thrilled that GenreBlast wanted to recognise my work in this way.

Connie was also nominated in two other categories against impressive competition – Best Actress and the female writer/director award.

Massive congrats to all the nominees and winners at GenreBlast, and a big thank you to the festival team for including us in the festival. The selection was amazing and communication before, during and after the festival has been great – a festival really worth submitting to and being part of. We couldn’t be there in person, but will definitely be submitting more work in future and hope to make it over to join the party one day.

There are more festival announcements and screenings still to come for Connie as she continues to stomp around the globe – thrilling, touching and offending as many wonderful people as she can well into 2018! These are regularly added to the Screenings page on the official Connie site.

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Connie – 3 more award nominations & 4 US state premieres in just 9 days!

Wowzer! Connie continues to cook up a storm stateside with four upcoming state premieres over just nine days, with three award nominations to boot!

First, Connie gets to catch some rays at the California premiere tomorrow, 31st August, at Long Beach Indie International Film, Media and Music Festival 2017. The film is screening as part of the Suspense and Horror shorts block from 9pm. I love California and am really thrilled that she’ll be allowed to cause mayhem in the golden state.

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Connie is hitting Kansas City on Monday 4th September! The little diva is headed to kick Dorothy’s butt and enjoy the Missouri premiere next week, screening at the super cool Slaughter Movie House at the Screenland Armour movie theatre. Connie will be screening with the feature film, Space Babes from Outer Space, kicking off at 7pm… and better still, it’s FREE! Check out this gorgeous event poster!

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Just a couple of days later after a stroll down the yellow brick road, Connie heads to GenreBlast Film Festival 2017 for her Virginia state premiere! Connie screens with the opening film of the festival, Guardians, from 7pm on Thursday 7th September at the Alamo Drafthouse. You know it’s a great festival when it’s at an Alamo Drafthouse, and GenreBlast have a really cool selection of shorts and features playing, including an advance screening of IT, also on the opening night.

AND… The awesome team at GenreBlast have very kindly nominated Connie for not one, not two, but THREE awards at the festival! It’s pretty stiff competition though, so Connie better get her boxing gloves on… I certainly can’t hop in the ring and fight it out for a trophy when I’m 6 months pregnant… But being nominated gives me a lovely, glowy, warm feeling…

Finally, finishing off next week, Connie will be hitch-hiking her way to Utah for FilmQuest 2017, screening as part of Shorts Block 2 on Friday 8th September from 6pm. FilmQuest celebrates the majesty of genre filmmaking in the realms of fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and beyond, running until 16th September. Connie is in great company as our web series, Mina Murray’s Journal, has also been selected for the festival! Go team Moranic Productions!

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What a lot of mileage to cover in just nine days! It’s a US road trip. Sadly, I won’t be the Susan Sarandon to Connie’s Geena Davis for the journey as I enter the third trimester of my pregnancy, but she can hack it on her own. She’s a freebird… *zippo lighter overhead*

Blood Shed trailer and World Premiere! MA complete! Mama to be…

Months and months of hard work have now finally paid off! Yes, Blood Shed is now complete! Bringing this unique tale of a guy’s deep, obsessive love for his man-eating shed to life was far from easy, but James Moran and I can now finally celebrate as our short film is unleashed on audiences!

And even better still, we’ve had a terrific response to our trailer, and a flurry of fantastic news through from film festivals! Good news, it seems, is like buses! Long may it continue! I love it when a bus comes on time!

Blood Shed‘s WORLD PREMIERE will take place at the UK’s biggest genre festival – Horror Channel FrightFest, on 27th August! We’re especially thrilled to be part of FrightFest again and screening as one of only twenty-six shorts selected for the festival this year. Having our laughably twisted work recognised in this way is a big honour. We had no idea that our story about a bloodthirsty shed, with an aesthetic inspired by Creepshow and 80s horror, including the fashion and style, would strike a chord in this way.

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Back when we wrote the first draft of the script together, last December, James and I could only have dreamed of getting this kind of response. This certainly makes the pain and torment of crowdfunding feel worth it, and we can’t wait to share it with all our pledgers, festival audiences and dare we say it, reviewers (*chews off nails frantically in anticipation*). As co-writer, producer and production designer of the piece, I put my heart and soul into Blood Shed… and she certainly enjoyed eating me up for months on end! But the hard work doesn’t stop now… The marketing and distribution has only just begun, merchandise has been designed and ordered, the extra content and digital goodies are being pulled together for Kickstarter supporters, and the press train is underway! When I see this image of our two amazing stars, Shaun Dooley and Sally Phillips, drenched in blood, it reminds me that they probably had it harder than me on this film!

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Moranic Productions 2017

Though Blood Shed has felt all-consuming (how many references to being eaten can I crowbar into this blog?!), 2017 has been a huge year for me in other respects, too.

Connie continues to enjoy success on the festival scene and has even picked up some awards, and festival acceptances are still coming in. Looks like there’s life in the little foul-mouthed puppet film yet! There are numerous festivals that I’m itching to announce, but can’t just yet, but there are some very exciting ones coming imminently, including GenreBlast and FilmQuest, both in the US in September!

My next project as writer/director, Hank: Portrait of a Serial Killer, is now in pre-production, with a view to shooting over the next few months… More on that soon.

This year I’ve also achieved a couple of massive life goals! I successfully completed my second Masters degree, in Professional Media Practice, validated by the University Of Bournemouth. My final project, on slasher films, feminism and psychoanalytic film theory, was the culmination of five years of blood, sweat and tears, and resulted in my original feature film script and insightful research on slasher films and feminism. Having studied previous modules at the Met Film School, Goldsmiths and with the BBC Academy, I learned and grew so much over the five years of study, and so many of my writing and directing projects have been researched, developed or inspired as a result of the MA. Considering I hated school when I was a kid and felt like a complete outsider, it’s hard to believe that I now have two Masters degrees!

19225021_10156350969497796_7176068856575256697_nBut, an even bigger life goal has been unlocked that will make me look rather different in my graduation gown at the MA presentation ceremony in November… James and I are expecting a baby! Yes, a beautiful, no doubt loud, giggly and impatient, little girl! Not only will I be an MA, and MA, I will literally be a MAMA! James and I are both thrilled that we’ll be parents. We can’t wait to meet our little warrior woman and shower her with love.

But, I’m still writing, producing, directing and am generally unstoppable. There’s nothing that Team Moranic can’t achieve. We’ll just have a super cute, extra little team player on our side soon.

 

 

Connie awards and screenings update!

I’ve been drowning in production and post-production on Blood Shed and pre-production on Hank the last two months, so it’s been a while since I posted an update about my beloved Connie! Well, here it is… Don’t ye worry, the little diva is still making waves!

Connie continues to thrive on the festival scene, with more award wins and nominations, which is always a lovely, exciting surprise. It’s been almost exactly a year since the film was shot, and writing this kind of update fills me with glee.

Connie has won an Honourable Mention Award at The International Horror Hotel 2017, and screens at the event in June in Ohio, US. Connie has had several screenings in Ohio and has either been nominated for an award or won one at each of those festivals. Big love to Ohio! Thank you for appreciating my work. 

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Back home here in the UK, Connie also took the Unrestricted View Film Festival in London by storm at the end of April, garnering nominations for Best Short, Best Director and Best Actress! This was a great surprise, but sadly we were unable to attend as we were away at another film festival in Poland. Gosh darnit!

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The next UK screening of Connie is currently set for August bank holiday weekend in beautiful Manchester. Manchester is very close to my heart. I lived there for six or seven years and it was the first place I lived that made me feel completely at home. The people, the culture, the architecture, the honesty – I still have a special place in my heart for the city. Yes, Connie will have her Northern UK Premiere at the incredible Starburst International Film Festival. So not only a city I love, but a magazine I love too – all in one festival. Hip hip hooray!

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Before she’s let loose on Manchester, Connie will be making her way to Berlin for her German Premiere next month at Final Girls Berlin Film Festival! We’re heading over to attend the festival in person, and in puppet, and can’t wait to see the audience reaction. I love sitting amongst the crowd and watching the screenings – you can hear every giggle, roar, gasp and clap. There’s nothing like it.

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Connie has also been selected as part of the prestigious Etheria World Tour 2017/18 and will screen internationally at Etheria events throughout 2017/18 at universities, art galleries, conventions, museums, independent cinemas, year-round travelling horror conventions, partner festivals, pop-up Etheria screenings, official Etheria Women in Horror Month events, and horror/sci-fi/comic conventions. Now that is BIG news – she might be coming to a town near you soon! I’m so thrilled to have my work included as part of such a great line-up and to be working with Etheria. It’s a real honour. 

And finally, I’m so very proud that Connie is screening TONIGHT (26/05) at the Seattle International Film Festival! Being selected for an OSCAR qualifying festival is something that I never expected for my tiny film about a very sweary, domineering puppet. It’s a huge festival and one I definitely want to attend in future! So, if you’re anywhere close to Seattle, go along and enjoy.

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In other news, Blood Shed is in the edit and we’re still aiming for a festival release later this summer, and Hank is in pre-production and casting. I can’t wait for people to eventually see these two projects. They mean a great deal to me and are a little off-the-wall, but I hope will be really memorable (for all the right reasons)!

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Coming in 2017… Hank. Pic: Moranic Productions Limited

Blood Shed hits and EXCEEDS Kickstarter target! Now in pre-production!

After a tiring month-long campaign, Blood Shed hit and exceeded its Kickstarter target on 27th March! James Moran and I are overjoyed. When we embarked on this crazy dream of a man-eating shed, we had no idea that we’d end up with pledges hitting 114% from 166 backers.

We initially aimed for £10,000, so this is a real triumph for us. Yes, Kickstarter takes a share of this for using the platform, and we have to cover the rewards and postage and packing from this amount, but this is still a good sum of money to make a really ambitious short film with. Nevertheless, purse strings will be tight and we want to make Blood Shed the most amazing film that we can, so we’re working round the clock on pre-production and will be squeezing the most from every single penny.

James is directing, I’m producing and we wrote the piece together – our first official writing collaboration – so this is rather a special project for us. It’s come a long way since my initial light bulb moment when I was cooking last November and improvising trailer voice overs for imaginary films! This happens to be how a lot of ideas come to me…

The support we’ve had from pledgers, press, bloggers, industry bods and film enthusiasts has been amazing, as has the support from family and friends. Running a crowdfunding campaign is tough – nothing prepares you for the sheer blood, sweat and tears that goes into it, and the round the clock management is all-consuming. You find yourself working through your sleep, skipping meals, unable to answer personal calls or even go out sometimes. Also, no amount of research into peak times, best times to launch and end, best times to make announcements, types of perks to offer and pricing, etc. really makes much of a difference – there’s a lot of luck and a lot of random peaks and troughs along the way. All the support we had really kept us going and motivated us to keep being creative and interacting in different ways across different platforms. You all helped us to keep the faith!

We shoot the film at the end of April, so just a few weeks away, and we’re hoping to have the film completed in June. The film stars the amazing Sally Phillips and Shaun Dooley, and we’ve an impressive team on board. You can read more about the cast and crew at the official Blood Shed website.

We still have a limited number of perks left, such as signed scripts, limited edition merchandise packs, digital downloads, writing-related perks, and props from the film. These perks are available for purchase from the Blood Shed website until 1st May 2017 only.

I’ll keep posting updates, but more information will be added to the film’s website over time. For now Shedites, thank you. And I’m off for a quick sleep.

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Blood Shed now fully funded on Kickstarter! Perks still available!

Some joy for the weekend! Blood Shed is now fully funded on Kickstarter! I’m absolutely over the moon that we hit our initial £10K target. After several weeks of round the clock campaigning, James Moran and I can finally rest assured that our weird but wonderful Creepshow-inspired short film, starring the incredible Sally Phillips and Shaun Dooley, will actually get made! We’ve an amazing team working with us on this film and can’t wait to share it with the world.

We’re still live on Kickstarter until Monday, March 27th at 8:59 AM BST, so if you haven’t seen our campaign rewards yet, head over and feast your eyes on our sexy perks – enriched with sheddy goodness. We have limited edition merchandise, writing workshops, unique props, signed scripts and even a slap up meal at BAFTA up for grabs! So, join us!

Our composer, Ben Foster, is hard at work creating the score, with help from his synth wizard, Toby Pitman. This very fine piece of kit is being used to create the music of the shed…

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All of our pledgers are so important to us and we’re so happy that, as it stands, 149 people want to help this film get made and embark on this journey with us. You are all legends!

If you want to get involved but can’t afford to pledge – we understand that completely. Times are very hard, so we’re even more thankful to get support for this. We’re on Twitter as @bloodshedfilm and any retweets would help us get in last minute pledges and every single penny will make Blood Shed even more spectacular than it is already going to be.

Many, many thanks all!

Connie Scoops Award at HorrorHound Film Festival & Blood Shed Update

What a week this is shaping up to be! Connie is now an award-winning film! We’ve bagged our first award from five nominations in just a few short months. Our wonderful lead, Catrin Stewart, won Best Actress at HorrorHound Weekend Film Festival in Ohio, US! Catrin is an incredibly talented actress and played both Connie and Dolly in the film, that’s thirty four scenes all shot in just two days. Thanks a million to HorrorHound for making us an award-winning film! Even Connie is bouncing around!

In other news, Connie has been accepted by more festivals, but we can’t announce these as yet! So keep your eyes, ears and puppets peeled for more news on these.

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Also, we’re now into the last week of our crowdfunding campaign for Blood Shed. We’re currently 86% funded, which is amazing, but there are only 4 days left on the clock! Naturally, I’m in FULL panic mode. We’ve started with the pre-production on the film as we’re aiming to shoot in late April, and anyone who’s ever run a crowdfunding campaign knows that it is back-breaking, constant work. In many ways, it’s like having a baby for a month. BUT, it is the only way that Blood Shed can be funded.

New rewards have been added – you can have a photo of your pet appear in the film as a victim of our shed, there are very special unique retro Polaroid on-set photos available, screening tickets, signed goodies, merch! Please go and take a look. The shed needs you.. Well, I do. I mean, the film is set to star SALLY PHILLIPS and SHAUN DOOLEY. Who doesn’t want to see them and a man-eating shed in a Creepshow-style film? BARGAIN!

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