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*
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.
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!
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.
Conniecontinues 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!
But, 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.
I’ve been drowning in production and post-production on Blood Shed and pre-production on Hankthe 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!
Conniecontinues 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.
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!
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!
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.
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 Connieis 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.
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)!
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 Shedwebsite 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.
Some joy for the weekend! Blood Shedis 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…
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.
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.
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!
We’re on the home stretch with the Kickstarter campaign for Blood Shed, with just 9 days to go! We’re currently just over 70% funded. This is a lovely sprint to have achieved, but crowdfunding is a marathon. Believe me, it is definitely a marathon – possibly a double marathon. I’m personally surviving on coffee, Diet Coke, 2 hours sleep a night and an obsessive need to constantly refresh the Kickstarter page in case we’ve had a new pledge.
We’re really honoured to have an incredibly talented cast on board for this project. First, we have Shaun Dooley who will play the role of Jack. Shaun stars in the upcoming BBC One drama Gunpowder alongside Kit Harington and Liv Tyler! From the heartbreak of Broadchurch and the Red Riding trilogy, to the hit movies The Woman in Black, The Awakening and Eden Lake, Shaun can always be relied upon to deliver a powerhouse performance. He showed a sensitive yet terrifying side in Misfits, as well as a barnstorming singing voice, proving his range, flexibility and fiercely unpredictable edge. He’s also appeared in the TV shows DCI Banks, Ordinary Lies, Cuffs, Great Expectations, The Game, This is England ’90 and Exile. He is the only man who can take on a massive living shed…
Starring alongside Shaun is the incomparable Sally Phillips (Smack the Pony, Veep, Miranda, Green Wing, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, Bridget Jonesfilms). She’s a comedy gem! These two actors are such a talented combination, and we desperately want to bring this film to life and share it with you all.
11 days sounds like a long time, but in reality, this is a heartbeat away. We’re entrenched in pre-production for Blood Shed (location hunting, crewing up, production design elements, music) as well as cracking on with crowdfunding campaign, but ultimately, we have to hit our £10K target or sadly, the film cannot be made. Not only would we be sad, the shed would go hungry. Please pledge if you can. She loves you.
If you’re in any doubt, here are some very wise words from our wonderful supporters. You can trust them – look, they’re cleverer than us! They know it’s a good concept!
Also, here’s a little press round up below! Click through each one to read the full article.
Thanks so much to everyone who has helped to spread the word so far! Please shout from the rooftops! 9 days… YIKES!
I’ve had some wonderful news about my last short – the unforgettable Connie. Connie has not only been selected for the HorrorHound Weekend Film Festival in Ohio, US, we’re also nominated for the Best Actress award for our superb lead, Catrin Stewart! Catrin had to play both Connie and Dolly, often in the same scenes – not just vocally, but also ‘operating’ Connie for a large proportion of the film. This was a great mental and physical challenge, and Catrin pulled it off in spectacular fashion.
Connie’s lead, Catrin Stewart, nominated for Best Actress at HorrorHound
It’s been an incredible six or seven months so far, but Connie is still on the first leg of her film festival journey, so to get this fifth award nomination is really quite something.
HorrorHound is a convention and film festival all in one, taking place 17th-19th March in Cincinnati. It’s CRAMMED to the ceiling with special guests, including Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chandler Riggs, Tobin Bell, John Waters, Lloyd Kaufman…I am absolutely gutted that I can’t be there! The chance to meet Jeffrey Dean Morgan… I’m such a fan of The Walking Dead. I’ll be crying for months. But, you lucky people can get tickets HERE.
Connie is screening as part of the Late Night Laughs slot on the Saturday night (or technically early Sunday AM), before Space Babes from Outer Space. The schedule is below.
Also, congratulations to my pal Jamie Hooper, whose short Unto Death, which is a real must-see, has also been selected for the Sunday.
Connie is also currently also nominated for the iHorror Award for Best Short Film, which is announced at the end of the month, so it’s a double celebration… but only once I’ve slept… Which at this point, could be July.
Blood Shed is about a shed that eats people. It’s a love letter to the 80s horror anthology style, with key influences being Creepshow, Tales from the Crypt, The Evil Dead and Tales from the Darkside for visuals and feel, while telling a bizarre new tale with a unique monster.
I’m co-writer and producer, and James Moran (Severance, Cockneys vs Zombies, Tower Block, Spooks, Torchwood, Primeval) is my co-writer and director. He is ACE, and I say that as a professional with no bias whatsoever. Well, a little. But he really is an awesome talent.
Here’s the synopsis!
Jack loves a bargain. And he loves sheds. When he buys suspiciously cheap second-hand parts online to build his very own dream shed, he and long-suffering wife Helen find they’ve got more than they bargained for: a killer shed with an appetite for blood. As the body count rises, and the shed’s ferocious appetite grows, Jack is faced with a horrifying dilemma. A comedy horror about a man’s twisted love for his shed… that eats people.
We are desperate to bring this beautiful baby to life, to delight horror, comedy and classic monster fans, but we need YOUR help to do this. We need to raise a minimum of £10K to make it happen, but we’ve budgeted this within an inch of its life and we can deliver something really unique and special for this amount.
We have an incredible team on board, including BAFTA-nominated composer Ben Foster (Thunderbirds Are Go, Happy Valley, Torchwood, Scott & Bailey, Prometheus, The Grey, Prisoners) and illustrator Andy W. Clift on board for storyboards, comic book style panels for the film and poster artwork.
The campaign is live until 27th March, but don’t delay, some of our perks are very limited. If you’ve already backed us – thank you so much. Please share the link, tweet it, like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, send carrier pigeons, semaphore… Please support! Our shed has an insatiable appetite and needs to be fed… and unleashed on the world!
Our perks include signed goodies, exclusive extras and downloads, set visits, on-screen appearances, screening tickets, props, limited edition merchandise, Executive Producer credits, writing workshops, script feedback and even a piece of the shed! With STRETCH GOALS to be announced (my god, they are COOL).
More updates on the cast and crew coming over the next couple of week, along with update videos.