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!
Our secret ident for Arrow Video FrightFest this year is now online for free – #FFIDENT20 – FrightFest Opening Night of the Dawn of the 28th Day. Starring Andy Nyman, Emily Booth, Kim Newman, Jack Doolan, Adam Green & Joe Lynch.
Please watch, rewatch, share. I loved directing the Night of the Living Dead segment with the wonderful Emily Booth – such a funny woman. Huge thanks to her and our other brilliant guest stars. We made this with a huge amount of love, care and attention couldn’t have done this without the fab crew who gave us days and days of their time on this epic labour of love – Kirsty Graham, Joao L C Da Silva, Stu Dye, Taylor Rae Papworth, Grace Sargeant, Rhian Webster, Lauren Webster, Louise Brightman. This is our last ident as we’ll never beat this one!
It was screened before the UK premiere of Come to Daddy at FrightFest on the gigantic iMax screen last night.
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!
2018 is now in full swing, and this is my first news post since the birth of my amazing baby daughter, Ava-Grace, in January. I’m loving balancing motherhood with my writing and filmmaking, and have actually found myself with a renewed sense of vigour, despite the mountain of diapers I have to contend with on a daily basis. I’m incredibly inspired and the ideas don’t stop coming at the moment. I can’t wait to share them, but for now, I’m riding the wave of love for Blood Shed!
Since making its festival debut last August at FrightFest, Blood Shed has been selected for more than 30 festivals across the globe, winning 6 awards and garnering many more nominations, and we’ve still a long way to go! Our latest win in February was the Best International Short award at Nevermore Film Festival in North Carolina.
It’s been just over a year since we smashed our Kickstarter campaign target and began production on the the film, and James and I can hardly believe it, but Blood Shed has been selected for TWO Oscar qualifying festivals in the USA. The first is Nashville Film Festival! It’s one of the longest-running film festivals in the US and one of the most acclaimed in the South, so we’re thrilled to be part of it. We’re screening with the superb Found Footage 3D on 18th & 19th May. Nashville had nearly 5000 short film submissions this year, selecting just 215, and we’re competing as part of the Graveyard Shift competition.
The second qualifier is the amazing Seattle International Film Festival! Connie screened at #SIFF last year, so Seattle feels like home for me as a filmmaker. It’s the largest and most highly-attended festival in the USA and the selection of films this year is not to be missed. Blood Shed screens on 26th May as part of the Terror Internationale block.
It’s not that we think a film about a man-eating shed would ever actually be nominated for an Oscar, but it feels amazing to get recognition from such big festivals that get thousands and thousands of submissions from films of all genres from across the globe.
Finally, I’m happily beavering away at feature ideas, with several already scripted and others at the outline or pitching stages. I’m also keen to get back on set and shoot my next two shorts from the Summer, but am making sure I get plenty of time to enjoy my babymoon with my favourite Moranic production…
I’m chuffed to say that we’ve had news of more festival acceptances for Connie, two of which I can share below, though others are currently under wraps! Very exciting. Ssssh…
First, Connie will be screened as part of Nightmares Film Festival, a top international film festival dedicated to the horrific, the dreadful and the weird – perfect for little miss puppet. The festival takes place from 20th – 23rd October in Columbus, Ohio, at the world-renowned Gateway Film Center, named one of the top twenty art houses on the continent by Sundance. This is currently set to be our North Americanpremiere!
Connie will be screened alongside some of the very best features and shorts from around the world, including my recent FrightFest stablemates from August, The Stylist by Jill Gevargizian, Gwilliam by Brian Lonano and The Babysitter Murders by Ryan Spindell, so Connie will be in great company! Precise day/time of screening is to be announced.
Then on Friday 18th November, she’ll have her second London outing as part of the eighth annual Crystal Palace International Film Festival. Following the success of KEEN-wah at the festival last year, this is sure to be a real treat. The festival has a great vibe, with themed nights and is one of the coolest I’ve been to in years. It runs from 29th October – 19th November at several venues in South East London. You can buy tickets for our screening on 18th November here.
I’m really thrilled that Connie is finding its audience and that people will get to see Catrin Stewart’s powerhouse performance as both Dolly and Connie. She’s truly mesmerising.
I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that KEEN-wah will be screened at Film4 FrightFest in Glasgow next month! It’s their 11th year as part of the Glasgow Film Festival, taking place from Thursday 25th to Saturday 27th February.
I feel triumphant that my little film, shot on an uber-low budget of £300, will be screened alongside some fantastic films, including the world premiere of Stephen King’s Cell, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. There are eight UK premieres, including the Blumhouse remake of Martyrs, and two European premieres. My film will be shown on the Friday afternoon. Whoooopeeeee.
As a FrightFester myself, I know how passionate the fans are. I just hope that my ‘baby’ meets their justifiably exacting standards. They’re the best bunch on the planet.
It’s the first screening of KEEN-wahsince its delightful world premiere at Crystal Palace International Film Festival last November. It was a joy. I was so pleased to be part of it and was happy with the audience reaction, especially the lovely lady who came up to me after my Q&A and said “I loved your film. And you’re so normal… I expected you to be weird. I’m so pleased.” I think it really is one of the nicest things that anyone has ever said to me.
Big thanks to the fantastic FrightFest team – Alan, Paul, Ian, Greg and Shelagh, for their support. As a kid who was bullied at school, it’s nice to actually be picked for something!
Also, many thanks to my fab team David Puckridge, Jessica Taylor, James Moran, Stu Dye and Poppy Taylor. The film wouldn’t have been made without their (fake) blood, tremendous sweat and very high quinoa tolerance!
The full line-up for Film4 FrightFest Glasgow has been announced. It looks spectacular! If that’s not enough to whet your appetite, check out the trailer. Event passes for the Friday/Saturday ONLY cost £70 and are on sale from noon tomorrow (Tuesday 12th January 2016). Tickets for the Thursday evening screening, and individual tickets for Fri/Sat films go on sale on Mon 25th January from 10am priced at £9.50 / £7.50 concessions. Tickets will be on sale here.