Friday, May 10, 2013

Frolleagues: UK Indie Films

If you're familiar with my 'frolleagues' strand, you'll know that I get a lot of inspiration from like-minded writers and directors who are out there doing it, trying hard and getting somewhere. It helps if they're also lovely people who share their goodwill online, or (even better) in real life.

A couple of projects from the UK indie scene have me particularly excited this month. The first is from writer/director Justin Trefgarne. It's a name that's featured on the blog before in TWO Q&As, as I first quizzed him about his development role at Working Title Films, and then (2 years later) to check up on how he was doing once he made the bold decision to leave Working Title to pursue a filmmaking career.

Justin's now putting the finishing touches on Dreck, his debut feature, an ambitious British sci-fi thriller. "In a futuristic city where all drugs are legal, an unidentifiable body carries secrets to a terrifying conspiracy." Sounds good, right? It's got a great cast, too. Elliot Cowan, Jonathan Pryce, Harry Lloyd, Lenora Crichlow, James Callis, amongst others.

Justin's finished filming and is now in post-production (where he's got a Kickstarter campaign for the vital final stages, check it out). But in this tough and competitive economic climate, how did Justin even get this far, especially with an epic sci-fi thriller?
I joined forces with Eldar Tuvey, a tech entrepreneur, in 2011. Having looked at the official funding routes and production models (that for most Brit Films end in disappointment) we raised the finance 100% independently with a unique approach to production. We shot the film in 3 phases across 2011 & 2102, which enabled amazing cast combined with emerging talent (as we weren't booking people for large chunks of time) and keep productions costs low overall. At the start of this year we finally wrapped the main unit and are now in full-time post, aiming for a late summer completion.

We are taking an equally maverick approach to sales and distribution. We're aiming to work alongside any distribution partners to a) ensure cinematic release and b) augment their marketing strategy with our own. Because we've kept the budget low it means that our risk is reduced overall, so the chance of going into profit is increased.

Perhaps the biggest difference of all is the film itself. We turned away from the orthodoxy of shooting three characters in a house and have assembled a film that tells a complex narrative across a range of characters. And it's sci-fi...
Looks great, sounds great, can't wait to see it! More info on the Kickstarter campaign page and the official website.

The second UK film is from my local filmmaking hero Suki Singh, who's ready to release his debut feature Emulsion. It's a cool noir thriller, David Lynch-style, about a man obsessed with looking for his missing wife. It's a thoroughly indie affair, produced by Suki and White Lantern Films (I directed After School Club, a fun short film for them last year). Hopefully we'll get to see lots more of Emulsion at the cinemas and beyond, but for now, soak up the psychological noir goodness of the trailer.

Way to go Justin and Suki. Now, where did I put my camera?

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