I’m back in this month’s edition of the glorious independent movie magazine, Film Stories, issue 27, August 2021.
This feature is an extended interview with the incredible Prano Bailey-Bond, director of the hugely anticipated British horror, Censor, out in UK cinemas now! Destined to be an influential classic.
Prano discusses directing, her influences, the COVID delays to completion, horror and censorship. It’s a follow up article to my interview with the movie’s lead, Niamh Algar – also the star of Channel 4 true crime drama, Deceit, airing now.
The magazine is available for pre-order in digital and print edition.
My feature film, EVACUEES, currently in development with Kato Pictures, has made the press!
Big thanks to Starburst firstly for their continued support of my work. Full article here.
And we’re mentioned in Penny Dreadful’s fabulous column in this month’s SFX magazine (April 2021 issue). What a legend. We’re referenced alongside some awesome talent there – extremely flattering! Massively appreciated. Lauren Parker and I are chuffed.
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.
Another year, another Arrow Video FrightFest film festival done and dusted. As well as opening the 20th anniversary of the festival with #FFIDENT20 just before the premiere of Come to Daddy, I’m also really chuffed to be included in the Evolution of Horror special reviewing the festival. It’s a fantastic podcast and includes contributions from special guests, filmmakers, podcast listeners and FrightFest fans.
You can catch me at around 1 hour 13 minutes discussing my favourite film of the festival – the one that stole my heart and ate it. No hints!
Brilliant news! My award-winning short Connie is now available to buy on Shorts International’s iTunes stores in the US and Europe! Better still, the foul-mouthed puppet is a cheap gal – a snip at only $2.99 or £1.99 respectively – so fill your stockings this festive season with twenty minutes of our little felt-covered diva.
Connie has had an incredible journey since the shoot in May 2016, playing festivals globally, including awards qualifiers, winning awards, receiving great reviews and entertaining audiences we could only have dreamed of. Being able to share it now with a whole new audience is really something else. Film festivals rock, but so few people can actually get to them, so I’m proud that Connie has been licensed by Shorts International.
The film showcases the incredible talent of our superstar, Catrin Stewart, who did an incredible job of playing two roles at once and also operating a puppet – all in just two days on set! It also features the legend that is Kim Newman. It’s a film I’m incredibly proud of. Meeting audiences at festivals and seeing their reactions to the film, and to me and the puppet, has been an extra slice of joy.
Connie is also screening now on ShortsTV’s channel in the US, with the European premiere coming very soon. ShortsTV is the world’s first 24/7 HD TV channel dedicated to shorts, and currently available to approximately 25 million homes, with more channels across the globe to come. More details on how to watch ShortsTV here.
I had excellent news this month! One of my feature film pitches, a period horror piece, has been selected for Arrow Video FrightFest’s New Blood 2018 scheme with Queensbury Pictures! The scheme aims to find new writers and nurture their project from script to screen. One of last year’s entries, thriller Broadcast Signal Intrusion, is now in pre-production and due to be shot later this year.
I’m ecstatic to be one of eight writers selected, and have already had invaluable mentoring by BAFTA-nominated UK producer Jack Tarling (God’s Own Country; Await Further Instructions), horror icon Barbara Crampton (You’re Next, Re-Animator, From Beyond), director (The Ranger) and producer (Psychopaths) Jenn Wexler, and Queensbury Pictures’ Giles Edwards. Over the next few months, I’m going to hone the script and see if this scary baby can be brought to life. Many thanks to FrightFest and Queensbury Pictures for the opportunity.
Also, I made an ident for FrightFest – Shushpiria – which is now available online! A spoofy love letter to Argento’s Suspiria, it screened just before the UK premiere of The Ranger on both main screens, including the iMax, which blew me away. The point of the ident is to get the audience to switch of their phones.
This no-budget project was shot in one day by a very talented and creative team who gave their time because of their passion for it (credits at the end of the film). It’s a huge challenge to spoof something as specific and well-loved as Suspiria, but the lovely feedback from the crowd suggests the effort worth it. It was tremendous fun to do, even down to recording the faux Goblin music. Little bit of trivia – the painting in the background of the phone scene is by my dad – a very talented artist. Enjoy!
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.
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 Conniesite.
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.
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!
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!
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*