Katie McKenna in ‘The Dark Recess.’
So Winter Hill is in the festival phase. It’s a time where you leave a film and wait patiently to hear back about selections. So far we’ve had a pleasing amount of selections for the film and on a personal level I’ve now won two awards, which is greatly satisfying. Again, I can only give credit to all involved in bringing my PDF delivered script to life so fantastically. Actress Lucy Lowe hits first, and brilliantly well in a key car scene which requires a lot of emotion. According to the director, my good buddy Alex Lawton, she did it right on cue. It’s the central heart of the film (every film has that key moment, like Rocky Balboa’s pre-match confessional to Adrian in Rocky), on which we need to grab the audience, and she nailed it, and as such the film is doing well in the fests, and I get a little more recognition than perhaps I deserve (but will gladly take).
Meanwhile I’ve been overseeing the shoot for a no budget short horror/thriller I wrote (The Dark Recess), that my brother is directing. An ode to all manner of films from Labyrinth, Stalker, Persona, Cries and Whispers, to Videodrome, American Psycho, Taxi Driver and The Machinist. Not having any money to spend on a film provides challenges, but at the same time a certain (maybe indulgent) freedom. I like to think I have a good eye for casting. I’ve cast quite a lot of roles in films over the years and there’s never been anyone in retrospect I was disappointed with. Genuinely. I’ve had a few first timers too, some newbies and they’ve done very well and in Katie McKenna (for The Dark Recess) I’ve found someone who makes me think of Liv Ullman. Given Bergman was one of several influences for Recess, that comparison seems apt. She’s got a gift for introspective acting that not many can pull off (particularly so young). I think this film could be her ‘do you remember this early short you did with a couple of mad bastards?’ when she hits it big.
Film is a funny business. I’ve been working non-stop it seems of late. Projects blend into each other. 2-3 on the go at once. Then you see a window in the distance where you might have space. An itching begins. I long for a break, for some peace, but then I begin dreaming of new projects. Then one day, in the space of an hour I get a new project offered, plus a potentially very exciting one in Poland (that would mark my biggest project so far). Then another day passes and another opening comes up from China (that would be massively big). Then another just today and the short version is, I’m pitching left, right and centre like a pitching demon. If just one of them sticks, I’ll be happy. For now though, I move onto Hell-Girl (undoubtedly to be retitled) and continue enjoying a mix of genre pictures. I had a lot of fun writing about Cyborg wives, demonic scarecrows and Witches so far, so Demonic cults, Hell-Girl vigilantes and Demons will be masses of fun. No rest for the wicked. Never stop pitching.