This month, my short comedy play Crappy Birthday to Me premiered at the marvellous Slung Low Shorts alongside a collection of new plays by new and established writers. Slung Low 4, as it was Slung Low’s fourth outing, was performed at The Holbeck, Leeds from 18th to 21st July. I was delighted to be asked to be part of Slung Low this year – it was an honour.
Crappy Birthday to Me is a twisted family comedy about a twentysomething woman who returns home to a secret birthday party. She is less than thrilled at the idea of an awkward evening with her parents and sister, but this is no ordinary birthday bash…
I was super excited to be there on the opening night and meet my cast and director, and see and hear the reaction of the audience. It was a full house and I’m really proud of the team for pulling it together so brilliantly. And some horror geek trivia, the dad was played by Michael S. Siegel who was in Killer Klowns from Outer Space!
I’ll be bringing this short play to London soon, and may possibly turn it into a short film, but for now… I’m happy to say that my play was the one with the most clean up afterwards… Apologies to the stage management team for putting up with the fruits of my mad brain.
And huge thanks to all of Slung Low for including me in the line up this year! It was utterly brilliant and I can’t wait to see Slung Low 5.
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.
Fantastic news! Bloody Nurses, in which I played one of the three deadly bloody nurses, for the Soska Sisters’ Blood Drive PSA, directed by Damon Rickard (The Package, The Tour), will also play as an exclusive ident for Horror Channel FrightFest in Glasgow from 23rd to 25th February.
There’s a little extra content there just for FrightFest and my specially recorded voice over, so treat it like an Easter egg. I’m so pleased it’ll be seen on the big screen, by a wider audience and help spread the message for the Blood Drive – so go and give blood – #inyoutogive. I was very lucky to be cast alongside the extremely talented and beautiful Lucy Clements and Jessica Messenger – a joy to work with.
It’s an incredible line up for FrightFest in Glasgow this year, including The Warrior’s Gatewritten by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and directed by Matthias Hoene (Cockneys vs Zombies), Phantasm: Remastered, and a special preview screening of Julia Ducournau’s Raw, which I’ve been desperate to see for months. So get yourselves to Glasgow for the best weekend of your life!
Mike Shawcross at This thing called photography
Playing a nurse in Bloody Nurses, directed by Damon Rickard Pic: Mike Shawcross at This Thing Called Photography
KEEN-wah is set to have its fantastic New York Premiere this Sunday, 11th November!
Yes, my little zombie flick will screen at Iron Mule Short Comedy Film Festival at the gorgeous new Alamo Drafthouse cinema in Brooklyn. I love New York – it’s probably my favourite place on Earth and I’ve been about eight times now – and I’d go every week if I could, so knowing that an NY audience will get to see KEEN-wah really means a lot to me.
Iron Mule have a great history and have been running for 14 years and screened more than 1,100 films, including early work from celebrated filmmakers and comedians such as Stephen Colbert, Seth Macfarlane, Lena Dunham and Aziz Ansari. I’m extremely proud to be in such great company!
There are special guest judges at each screening who pick a winning film, but the lovely audience also get to select their favourite! So fingers and toes are very much crossed, but the line up of films selected is rather impressive.
Tickets are only $12 and on sale now, so if you’re in NY, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Please go along, and tell me how fabulous it is… While I cry about not being able to be there.
It’s been less than two months since the World Premiere at Horror Channel FrightFest, and Conniehas bagged seven festival screenings and is nominated for several awards. I’m overwhelmed by how well it’s performing and am now delighted to announce our fantastic Canadian and Mexican Premieres!
First, Connie’s Canadian Premiere will be at Camp Horrors CREEPFEST Film Festivalin Ontario, which takes place from 28th to 30th October. Sponsors include Screammagazine, and it promises to be a real treat, screening shorts and features, with a horror art gallery, after parties, costume contest and more! Screening day and time to be confirmed.
NOTE: Dates and location for Creepfest have moved:
Second, the Mexican Premiere is at Morbido Film Fest, Mexico City, which runs from 2nd to 6th November. Connie screens as part of their THE DEVIL IS NOT HOW YOU IMAGINED, programme: Leave pre established ideas outside. Here nothing is what it seems. These are 8 short films that will teach you not to trust appearances! Screening day and time to be confirmed.
The full programme of international short films is very impressive and I’m proud to be included as part of such an esteemed list, which includes The Puppet Man, The Stylist, Dawn of the Deaf, Death Metal, The Itching and The Procedure. Check it out here!
There are also fine arts exhibitions, plays, thematic lectures, book presentations, concerts, and even a traditional Mexican wrestling match! All that and a whole lot of sunshine.
We had a lot of fun adding the subtitles to the film and we’ve expanded our vocabulary with lots of Mexican swear words!
Connie ha sido seleccionada para el Festival de Cine Morbido en el maravilloso ¡México! está emocionadísima ¡esperamos que estén listos!
Finally, my previous short film, KEEN-wah will have its North American Premiere at Ax Wound Film Festival in Vermont on 5th November! Lovely to see that KEEN-wah is still finding its audience around the world long after Gary and Suzanne’s first date… Especially as Ax Wound is quite possibly the best film festival name ever. Very witty. Connie will also be playing at Ax Wound, so I’m doubly thrilled.
Ax Wound have a range of great sponsors, including legendary horror magazine Fangoria, Twisted Twin Productions (the amazing Jen and Sylvia Soska) and horror on demand service, Shudder(which I LOVE, by the way).
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.