Was stunned to receive the news this week that I’ve been accepted as a member of BAFTA Connect! As a former BFI Network x BAFTA Crew member, I’m really excited to move forward on my journey with BAFTA over the next few years and beyond, and thankful for the support and investment in me.
I’m honoured to be selected – a genuine much-needed surprise – and eager to throw myself into the development programme and conferences, screenings and events, enjoy the club and literally connect with my fellow Connect community.
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.
Indulge in a bit of aural pleasure with the latest episode of the brilliant award-winning podcast, The Evolution of Horror!
I joined Mike Muncer as his guest to delve into cult classic The Blob from 1958 – starring Steve McQueen in his first notable movie role, and its far superior 80s remake, thanks to the golden horror combination of Frank Darabont and Chuck Russell. There’s lots to love about both these lovely, gloopy alien movies.
Prepare for a potentially controversial statement about another horror classic! Gasp!
On sale now – I’ve written two features for the latest issue of the glorious FilmStories magazine.
First, I chatted with captivating BAFTA-nominated actress, Niamh Algar, about British psychological horror Censor for the cover feature. I’ve been a fan of Niamh’s for a while now since her roles in The Bisexual and Pure, so it was great getting under the skin of her character in this movie – a stylish, smokey piece set against the backdrop of the 1980s video nasty era by debut featuremaker, Prano Bailey-Bond. The UK cinema release date is now 20th August.
Second, I had the honour of interviewing director Ate de Jong about a film I hold dear to my heart, Drop Dead Fred. A personal favourite from my childhood, for reasons I discuss in the piece, Ate and I spoke at length about the serious undertones of this gross-out comedy that was unfairly dismissed in the early nineties, but thirty years later has finally found its audience and cult status. Starring one of my all-time heroes, Rik Mayall, I got the skinny on all the folklore around Fred. I did meet Rik once in my twenties, but that’s a whole other story!
Massive gratitude to the editor, Simon Brew, for once again giving me the pages to write about films I adore and speak to people I admire.
The little fierce diva Connie has a new lease of life! She is back and has high-kicked her way onto Shorts TV’s subscription channel on Amazon Prime. You can watch the feisty foul-mouthed showgirl as part of a free seven-day trial now.
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.
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 Horrorpodcast 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 listenhere 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!
An extended article I wrote for the spectacular new print magazine Film Stories has now been published. The feature is about the too often overlooked 90s rom com Jack & Sarah, starring Richard E. Grant, Samantha Mathis, Sir Ian McKellen, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Eileen Atkins. Spread across five pages, I argue that the film is well worth a revisit and discuss its many merits. It includes extracts from an exclusive interview I did with the writer/director, Tim Sullivan, who was very generous with his time and shared so many interesting stories about the making of his ‘baby.’
Film Stories, Issue 5, is available now from the BFI Shop, WHSmiths and via mail order. It’s a snip at just £5.99, or it’s even cheaper if you opt for a subscription deal! This issue also includes:
The stars of Rocketman on bringing the Elton John biopic to the screen
Richard O’Brien on the lost Rocky Horror Picture Show sequels
The movie apocalypse films that have flown under the radar: Reign Of Fire, anyone?
True confessions of a movie PR rep
The woman who transformed Warner Bros’s movie marketing
Jack & Sarah: revisiting an overlooked 90s British movie.
The evolution of movie special effects, and the return of practical
Three films and he’s out: the movie career of Yahoo Serious
Celebrating the musical films of John Carney
The trick to making a horror movie remake
So don’t miss out! And I hope you enjoy reading my lovingly crafted article!
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’m really proud to say that an article James Moran and I wrote about our hit short, Blood Shed, is featured in issue one of the brand spanking new movie buff magazine, Film Stories!
The magazine is the brainchild of Den of Geek founder, Simon Brew, and accompanies his popular new podcast – also entitled Film Stories. The magazine was recently funded by a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, smashing the initial target – almost doubling it. It champions new releases and new writing, celebrates all the geeky film stuff that you want to read about, and features regular columns by stand-up Romesh Ranganathan, BAFTA-winning creator of Wolfblood, Debbie Moon, and writer/director of The Levelling, Hope Dickson Leach. So we’re in great company!
Our article addresses how to get your film noticed and more bang for your buck when submitting to film festivals, with our hints and tips for playing the odds and creating a successful strategy. There are also some of our lovely behind the scenes photos taken by the brilliant Mike Shawcross.
You can get your hands on a copy of issue one now, or subscribe so you don’t miss out on the next magnificent issue!