Your upcoming movie Castle Boulevard - in a few words, what
is it about?
is a little odd. Easy-going and naive, an artistic photographer from a
remote village, the city holds wonder and magic for him in the form of
trendy jazz clubs, quirky friends and limitless opportunities for finding
his 'perfect picture'. Unfortunately, his move into the city has come
at a price, and that debt is already pursuing him.
What were your inspirations when writing Castle
Boulevard? And quite honestly, how much of yourself can we fid in your
lead character Dominic?
I've always had a soft spot for jazz music. Though I'm by no means a
sort of expert in it, so I did my research into as much in the way of
the unique musical techniques of the genre, and its greatest legends
such as Miles Davis as a focus point, and the people he played with in
the earlier days such as Bird, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk and so
The 'feel' of the film was inspired by Woody Allen films such as
Manhattan and Annie Hall, who is a great jazz enthusiast himself
plays the Oboe, I think). They were very much my starting point in terms
of styling, but the story grew out of the elements of this jazz scene,
and the character Dominic. I hope that you can't find much of me in him,
to be honest, what with him be socially inept, outwardly slow-witted,
and almost constantly smiling! The only similarity we share is our
passion for photography, and in that I wanted Dominic to be someone who
openly shuns digital photography, and instead embraces the dying art of
35mm and traditional processing and developing (he's goes so far as to
build a homemade enlarger on which to develop his pictures).
Somewhere, your film is
described as being "set against the smoky backdrop of jazz club
nightlife" - you just have to elaborate on that aspect of your movie!
love low key lighting, smokey atmospheres and ambiance, and that just has
jazz club written all over it. I've always wanted to create and photograph
scenes like that, so when Castle Boulevard started to develop as a
concept, I had the ideal opportunity to really recreate that hazy late
night blues feel in a modern film. Our characters will inhabit this
underground jazz club Little Mintons, hidden behind a nonchalant door to
the street, sitting at barely lit tables and watching jazz musicians play
their bluesy melodies across the smokey expanse. That's the vision we're
trying create during these scenes.
can you tell us about the look and feel of your movie?
like to shoot in a very simplistic way, long mid to wide shots that
allow both the audience to appreciate what they're looking at, and
the actors lots of room to perform. This, in this film in particular,
harks back to films of the 60's and 70's, and we really wanted to give
this project and real retro or vintage feel. Hopefully, when coupled with
the score, the sets and the styling, people will feel a
little bit transported back in time.
talk about the movie's cast for a bit, and why exactly these people?
We've been extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to build up a
group of actors who wanted to work with us time and time again, and then
been able pile even more talent on top of that! The majority of the main
cast is made up from our own production team, many of whom are hardwoking and
very talented actors. Liam M. Edwards [Liam
M. Edwards interview - click here] takes the leading role of Dominic.
Having worked with me over dozens of short and feature projects since
about 2007, he's lent his incredibly versatile ability to perform to roles
as nerdy zombie-killing soliders, to gullible social workers, volatile
thugs and moody assassins, to name only a few. Each one has depth,
credibility and is fun to watch. Dominic is Liam's most colourful role to
date, and he is bringing a fantastic sense of both innocence and odd
insight that, as seen in recent scenes that we've shot, is truly bringing
a truly oddball character to life. Daemian and Bushra Greaves are the most incredible
(husband and wife-)producer team that I have ever had the pleasure of
working with. They have built this production from the ground up with
such determination, ambition and energy that I've found it incredibly
motivating. They also take 2 lead roles, as Henry and Cecilia, and
have injected such colour and crediblity to the characters that they
have literally jumped off the page down the lens of the camera! Katie
Richmond-Ward interview - click here], who is a tremendous, and VERY busy actress, is playing
Kathleen and also taking on the role of casting director/human resources.
Her vast knowledge of the casting process and the industry as a whole
has been invaluable. Also starring we have the fantastic Becki Lloyd as
Miriam, along with supporting roles from Craig Canning (taking a break
from martial arts films for this), the charming Peter Radford, our
regular SFX artist, has taken on Nathaniel, and theatre director Simon
Ward (Katie's husband) is playing Gene. And we can hardly forget Anthony
Webster, playing the villainous Ted. On top on this we have an army of
willing and dedicated extras whose participation can't be thanked
Got to mention our incredible crew, Keith Morrison, our head of sound,
working with Rob Jonston and Liz Carlyon, our composer and music director Tom Rackham, and
senior production coordinator, Claire Edwards,
and AD's Lucy Young and Harry Wilding.
Think I've got everybody!
the film being almost entirely shot in and around Nottingham, what can you
tell us about the Nottingham filmmaking scene?
(and Derby, for that matter) is literally saturated with filmmaking
talent! There is a real wealth of men and women who are deeply passionate
about the medium of film, and especially independent film. With the onset
of accessible technologies in the past fews years, we've really seen a
change in the face of indie filmmaking. People with little or no budget
can now really create in their films what they see in their heads, and at
the standard once reserved only for higher budgeted productions. But even
this technology would mean nothing if not for the terrific support the
Nottingham/Derby filmmkaing community shows one another, moving between
productions on a weekly or monthly basis, sharing skills, talent and
vision. It's an exciting time to make indie films in the region!
As far as
I know, you're currently running a fundraiser for Castle Boulevard
- so do talk about that one for a bit!
Well, it's a slow
burn! We're trying to spread the word among our Facebook and Twitter
followers, and encourage people to get involved by donating and getting
hold of our fantastic perks, such as production DVD, CD featuring the
original score music and jazz songs from the film, photo shoots and even
special effect makepup sessions. Our film's quite unique in the sense that
it's not horror, or action or comedy, but kind of sits between genres; it ended up
in a little niche, which certainly makes it original, but
difficult to identify where exactly we need to go to drum support and
interest for it!
You have already
started shooting Castle Boulevard though - so what can you tell us
about the shoot so far?
Yes, we started shooting in early September,
doing all the 'easy bits'. Our schedule then slowly ramps up to the more
complicated bits towards the end of November. Scenes such as our jazz club
and bistro locations, which has lots of extras and things going on, and
take a little more organizing and cost a bit more than the lower-key
scenes that we're shooting right now.
Any idea when and where the
movie might be released yet (though it might be waaay too early to ask
Our aim is March 2015, though there is every chance
that we will overshoot this! We ARE optimistic however, as we are using
what we've called a 'rolling production', in which we have a
stepped-schedule where we are still in pre-production on some remaining
aspects of the project, whilst rehearsing and shooting, week on week, and
are also putting together rough edits and sound syncing. Because we are
only shooting a few days a week, we wanted to make sure we weren't
spending the next 18 month in post! It also means that by the time that we
have wrapped principle photography, the initial edit will be 95%
complete, the sound syncing will be around 50% finished, and the score
chugging along at about 20-30%. So yeah, if we can keep ti all moving
along, March 2015 should be fine... but as always, there are unforeseen
complications, and it's the tidying up that takes the most time!
Any future projects beyond Castle Boulevard
you'd like to share?
We have more scripts and ideas than we
have time to shoot! After we've wrapped Castle Boulevard and are getting
it through what remains of post-production, we'll be sitting and
down and discussing project options. There'll be up to half a dozen shorts
in 2015, as well as another feature, though have haven't yet decided what.
I can say that one our favorites to start looking at is rather ambitious,
and quite different; a dark sci-fi thriller called Basilica...
What got you into filmmaking in the
first place, and did you receive any formal training on the subject?
always been interested in stories, and always in the visual, so when I
realized that these elements combined in film, there was no going back for
me! I played around in secondary school with the school's camera (which we
filmed something in black and white, then forgot to turn it back.
Consequently, we got into trouble...), then went to do a BTEC Media course
at South Nottingham College. This was very practical, and I learned a lot
of the fundamentals from some excellent tutors. After that, three of
us teamed up to created a small production company and continued to make
dozen of shorts and featurse over the next 10 years. That group eventually
grew into the current form of Coalescent Films, and I hope we are producing
films of a standard higher than ever before!
can you tell us about your filmwork prior to Castle Boulevard?
(currently) fortunate enough to be able to work in film and photography for a
living, as a solo independent, shooting music videos for bands, artists
and recording studios, from Nottingham, the UK and New York. I also
photograph for families, portfolio and commercially, usually for online
fashion boutiques. Before Castle Boulevard, I'd worked with the team on
our 2014 short films, directing Time, Broken and Postcards,
and DPing Council
Housed and Violent. The year before that, we all worked together (and met)
on the set our our feature Legacy (Coalescent Films was born from that
project), and 1 or 2 shorts a year, on a off for years before, including a
shlock-zombie film that I co-directed with Harry Wilding, Dawn and the
would you describe yourself as a director?
Still trying to
work that out! In fact, it's a very difficult question. You'd need to ask
the people I work with really, but at the very least I would try to be
personable, decisive and motivated, able to to inspire and communicate
what I want to the people around me. I know that I do have a very specific
vision of how I want each film to look, sound and be paced, but like to
think I am a great collaborator and encourage ideas from EVERY person on
who inspire you?
The list of filmmakers I love is every growing! It was Ridley Scott who
really inspired back when I was 17-18, with his Alien,
Blade Runner and
Black Rain, and then Gladiator, which was new then. These films were
visually breathtaking, and I adored thy way they drew me into
their atmosphere. As times moved on, I discovered Sam Mendez and was
mesmerized by American Beauty and Road to Perdition (but actually later
realized it was the Conrad L. Hall that I truly inspired by, his
method of composition and movement in the frame still is perhaps amongst
the strongest influences on my work). I began to watch foreign films,
Jean-Pierre Junet and then a bit later Lars Von Trier. VERY different
directors. I loved Junet's oddball world, both narratively and visually,
and Von Trier's vocation of pushing the audiences to the absolute limit
through provocative (and usually pretty horrendous) visuals and themes.
Fincher, especially recently (Zodiac,The Girl with the Dragon
Tattoo), has been a great
influence with his pulsing, writhing movement of the film that I find
Then there are the real greats, PT Anderson, whom I've been drwn to a
lot recently. I found Magnolia's relentless forward motion, from the
camera, the actors movement and especially the score, FAR more exciting
than most multimillion dollar action movies I've seen!
Of course the heaviest influence is Kubrick. Although I was aware of The
Shining I really 'discovered' and understood his work when I was about
25, and have been enamored ever since. Every frame is perfection, the
atmosphere is thick, the stories deep and moving, the envelope pushed in
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Films mentioned above, I guess, but new films are added every week! Not
just new films, but I'm working my way through as many older films as
possible, To Kill a Mockingbird would be a recent addition to that list,
and Jean-Luc Godards Weekend. But I'm no film buff, and love watching a
great film for the first time. I'm in no rush to get through them all!
and of course, films you really deplore?
Nearly anything by
Paul WS Anderson (or Evil Anderson). Event Horizon was passable, I
movie's website, Facebook, IndieGoGo, whatever else?
you are dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
methinks I've rambled on far too much anyway! Sorry about that!
for the interview!