Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Interview with Howard & Jon Ford ahead of UK TV release of THE DEAD 2 and OFFENSIVE


Ahead of Horror Channel’s UK TV premieres of THE DEAD 2 and OFFENSIVE, (part of the FrightFest season), brothers Howard and Jon Ford discuss the trials and tribulations of filmmaking, healing wounds and why THE DEAD 3 won’t be happening any time soon…


Horror Channel will be launching their massive 13-night FrightFest Season with the UK TV premiere of THE DEAD 2. Excited?

Howard: Well it’s a surprise, but a lovely one! Until I was asked to do this interview, I had no clue The Dead 2 had even been picked up by Horror Channel! But yes, I’m very excited.

Jon: I hope the viewers enjoy the film. We went through much pain and effort  to make this film, in tough parts of India. We were on a very modest budget and didn't go to the usual tourist places.  It made me laugh when I saw a review stating "they obviously had a lot more money", I take that as a compliment.


And Jon, the season ends with the first ever TV showing of your debut solo directorial debut, OFFENSIVE. What are you hoping the viewers will take from the film?

I hope viewers will appreciate a true revenge film for a change. I hope they enjoy that rare gasp of fresh air that only a truly independent film dare give. And notice the messages about modern technology and today's society.


OFFENSIVE is an award-winning film that has wowed festival audiences around the world since its World Premiere at FrightFest in 2016. What’s the latest news on release dates? 

Jon: Thanks yes, it has won many awards including "Best Film", Jury and audience awards, which is apparently a first. So I'm very proud of it. Of all the things I've filmed in my career it's the one I like the best. I think because I remained pure to the original idea. We're still in negotiations at this very moment so stand by on release dates.


Howard, you have quite a meaty acting role in OFFENSIVE. How did you convince Jon to cast you?

Howard: I think what first appealed to Jon was how cheap I was going to be! Ha. Also I owed him one, on-screen as he came out to Morocco and Spain for Never Let Go and I had him run over by a truck (an in-gag from the Dead 1) and he had to lay in the road covered in blood so now it was my turn to get bloody! I loved shooting those scenes in Offensive, who doesn’t want to Axe up a few Nazi’s?! I just wish I had done more, but the experience and the fact I got away with it did give me a bit of a taste for that acting thing!


Did the global success of THE DEAD put a lot of pressure on you both to keep working together and come up with a sequel?

Howard: I’ve got to be honest with you, we did The Dead 2 so we could get paid some of the profit from The Dead 1! We saw all these millions of dollars in revenue on the statements for The Dead 1 in the US, but, some clever wording in the distribution contract meant we were going to see almost nothing of it. We knew we had the remake rights as we felt there was potential for a sequel. We originally planned to continue from where we left off but it was such a traumatic shoot in Africa we decided to do a stand-alone movie in India. The great thing is, it means you don’t have to see The Dead 1 to watch The Dead 2. It’s a different journey with new characters across zombie infested India!


There’s a lot of hope amongst your fans that they’ll be a third THE DEAD film. Can you give us an update?

Howard: We just had a chat about this and we decided that we will do it when we get the rights back to both films. Right now, we get precisely zero from all those amazing fans who buy the movie.

Jon: When you've gone through the hell we went through to make both The Dead movies and see those bank statements with millions of dollars going to other people, it's a bitter pill to swallow. We want to make a Dead trilogy but as Howard mentioned, we'll probably have to wait a good few years to get the rights back.


Having gone on to pursue solo careers, do you think it will harder or easier to co-direct again?

Howard/Jon: There was a lot of tension on those shoots and frustration from every angle trying to bring audiences something different by shooting them in far flung inaccessible locations, but we have a lot of hindsight now and some of the wounds have healed a bit, so I think we’d actually be able to collaborate a lot easier now. We’ve also scratched a lot of our own itches!


Howard, you’ve just released ADVENTURE BOYZ, a big departure from your genre roots. Tell us a bit about the film and what inspired you to make it.

Howard: Adventure Boyz is always going to be the film I love the most. It’ll be that one I’ll be hitting replay to as I crack open my third bottle of wine and cry into it while watching my little boys come and rescue their dad from a jail cell (That’s in the plot by the way, I hope to stay out of jail in real life!). I made the film to inspire my two young sons, who also star in the movie, and remind them that there is more to life than staring into a device or spending time on social media. Adventure Boyz is about re connecting us to the things that matter. It’s also very Goonies meets Home Alone, so I hope our horror fans who have kids can show them this movie as no one swears or gets their head cut off and it has lots of positive messages!


Jon, what’s next for you?

Jon: I'm going to be directing a feature film adaptation of Don Quixote. So will be shooting in August this year. It's a crazy film about a scarecrow that's struck by lightning and comes to life in the form of Don Quixote.

I'm also going to be directing and writing a Medieval thriller, set during the Black death. It's uncanny how close to "Zombies" the plague victims became. they became crazed, dripping blood from every orifice, and would attack people, infecting them in seconds. It's a bit 28 days later so maybe I'll satisfy my running zombie itch in a way after all?! We'll be shooting that in 2020. 


And Howard, is there anything you can tell us about your next film? 

Howard: I am due to direct The Ledge soon for GFM films which is very taught, tight, thriller/horror, you might say a female cliff-hanger about one girl, a witness to a heinous crime, who is being pursued up a mountain by five guys who cannot let her leave alive. I'm also developing my own projects, one being a ghostly affair!


Finally, is there anything in the FrightFest season that you’ll be watching?

Howard: Jon: We both loved Wolf Creek so would love to check out the sequel!


THE DEAD 2 has its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel, Fri Aug 18, 9pm.
OFFENSIVE has its UK TV premiere on Horror Channel, Sun Aug 25, 9pm.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Arrow Video FrightFest announces 2019 Short Film Programme


From unseen forces to dangerous desires, from the remorseful living to the remorseless dead, from under the earth to creepy closed doors, Arrow Video FrightFest 2019 continues the festival’s fine tradition of showcasing the best in global genre short filmmaking.

This year’s five continent selection unleashes the newest creations from both upcoming and established filmmakers and embraces a record fifteen UK films, seven spotlighted selections from Canada and a breakthrough entry from The United Arab Emirates.

Hana

Homegrown talent continues to energise the UK film industry, as reflected in this year’s entries. There’s Folk Horror (WITHER, MARIANNE) and Body Horror (THIS LITTLE DEATH, THE HISTORY OF NIPPLES), whilst lethal women lurk around every corner in SLEEP TIGHT, UNDER THE PARASOL and DOG SKIN. Katie Bonham returns with ticking terror thriller MIDNIGHT and Josefa Celestin is back with the darkly apocalyptic TOMORROW MIGHT BE THE DAY.  Another fearsome futuristic tale is OLD BEGINNINGS, while unseen danger lurks in THE GAME OF THE CLOCK and THE DEAD ONES starring Vinette Robinson. There’s also danger of the male predatory kind in PATRON, starring Far From The Madding Crowd’s Jamie Lee-Hill, and in THE CUNNING MAN (starring Games of Thrones’ Simon Armstrong and actor/magician Ali Cook), magic takes on a macabre  animalistic twist. And in the sinister SERVICE, you don’t always get what you’re trying to pay for…

Canada is a spotlight country this year, with seven stellar entries. Watch in horror as a scientific experiment test a couple’s relationship with food in FIVE COURSE MEAL, while two young women have a strange addiction and hobby in GLITTER’S WILD WOMEN. Isolation can bring out strange creatures in HUNTING SEASON but too many friends can The Dead Ones bring trouble in ONE IN TWO PEOPLE. Some people take big risks to make a living in RE-POSSESSED HOMES, and the elderly find themselves at inadvertent risk in TORCHING THE DUSTIES. And you’ve never seen advertising quite like THE VIDEO STORE COMMERCIAL.

The Dead Ones

From other corners of the world, dangerous people roam the Australian highway in THE HITCHIKER, babysitting has its creepy drawbacks in Japanese entry HANA; from Finland comes ‘grave’ dangers in ABYSSUS and from the United Arab Emirates, a con artist picks the wrong house to conduct an exorcism in MAKR.

The US provides four gripping tales: Jill Gevargizian is back with ONE LAST MEAL, starring Matt Mercer, Izzy Lee directs THE OBLITERATION OF THE CHICKENS, hunger can get you into big trouble in TOE and psychopathic animal behaviour reaches a violent conclusion in PIG.

Programmer Shelagh Rowan-Legg said today, "I never cease to be amazed at the range and quality of short films we are fortunate to screen at Arrow Video FrightFest. The fantastic genres allow filmmakers to let their imaginations soar, and in our shorts programmes, you will see films that will delight and amaze, films that will make you laugh, a few that will make you cry, and several that will have you cowering in fear."


Full line-up

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE 1
SATURDAY 24 AUG – PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA DISCOVERY SCREEN 2
From 13:00


Wither (World Premiere)

Director: Ethan Evans. Cast: Lamissah La-Shontae, Phillipa Howard. UK 2019. 4 min.

A young girl finds herself vulnerable to a sinister mythological farmer after failing to contribute to the annual tradition.


Hana (London Premiere)

Director: Mai Nakanishi. Cast: Hee-jin Jeon, Do Eun Kim, Jeongbi Lee. Japan 2018. 13 min.

Not all babysitting jobs are alike, as college student Sujin is about to discover when she is left in charge of a strange young girl.


Marianne (World Premiere)

Director: Matthew Losasso. Cast: Mae Losasso. UK 2019. 7 min.

A distinguished investigator is called to the grounds of an isolated rectory in a remote English hamlet to observe an enigmatic young tenant.


The Hitchhiker (European Premiere)

Director: Adele Vuko. Cast: Liv Hewson, Brooke Satchwell. Australia 2018. 13 min.

Jade and her friends are on their way to a music festival when they pick up a strange hitchhiker, who makes Jade an offer she might not be able to refuse.


The Dead Ones (European Premiere)

Director: Stefan Georgiou. Cast: Olivia Hallinan, Sebastian Armesto, Vinette Robinson. UK 2019. 19 min.

In this world, those whose lives are cut short by violence do not disappear; they live to haunt the person who killed them.


Abyssus (UK Premiere)

Director: Kim Westerlund. Cast: Sampo Sarkola. Finland 2019. 9 min.

A man regains consciousness as he is being buried alive. Overwhelmed by panic, he tries to force his way out of the box.


Glitter’s Wild Women (UK Premiere)

Director: Roney. Cast: Grace Glowicki, Cotey Pope. Canada 2018. 13 min.

In the Canadian backwoods, sisters harvest and smoke glitter that gives them super strength.


The Video Store Commercial (UK Premiere)

Director: Cody Kennedy. Cast: Joshua Lenner, Kevin Martin, Jesse Nash. Canada 2019. 4 min.

A desperate video store owner hires a crew to shoot a commercial in his shop. But when they accidentally destroy a cursed VHS, suddenly, all their lives are in danger.


The Cunning Man (World Premiere)

Director: Zoë Dobson. Cast: Simon Armstrong, Ali Cook, Ian Kelly. UK 2019. 13 min.

An old farmer must resort to extreme measures to clean up his dead cattle or face a hefty fine from the Inspector.


The History of Nipples (World Premiere)

Director: Bailey Tom Bailey. Cast: Joseph Macnab, Lily Wood. UK 2019. 10 min.

'What are my nipples for?' With this question Ron falls into an existential crisis which seems to have only one solution.



SHORT FILM SHOWCASE 2
SUNDAY 25 AUG – PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA DISCOVERY SCREEN 2
From 15:45


Service (London Premiere)

Director: Theo Watkins. Cast: Paul Clayton, Alison Lintott. UK 2019. 8 min.

Ted is just trying to pay for his shopping, but the shoddy self-service till and eerily elusive shop workers have other, more sinister ideas.


One in Two People (European Premiere)

Director: Ali Mashayekhi. Cast: Katie Strain, Jade Hassoune, Ashley Leggat. Canada 2019. 8 min.

Emily’s friends are getting a bit tired of her insistence that someone in her room is trying to kill her. But maybe they should listen more closely.


Old Beginnings (London Premiere)

Director: Suni Khan. Cast: Hannah Arterton, Lewis Reeves. UK 2019. 16 min.

A young couple trying to rid themselves of the past use an unorthodox and bizarre ritual as they rekindle their love.


Tomorrow Might Be the Day (London Premiere)

Director: Josefa Celestin. Cast: Jocelyn Brassington, Tim Barrow. UK 2018. 20 min.

A fanatical believer sets into motion a chain of dark events that he believes will spare his rebellious niece from the impending apocalyptic doom.


Five Course Meal (London Premiere)

Director: James Cadden. Cast: Melissa Kwasek, Murray Farnell. Canada 2018. 6 min.

Mark and Jenny agree to take part in a mysterious experiment for money. Things get exceptionally messy.


Under the Parasol (London Premiere)

Director: Stanislava Buevich. Cast: Sarine Sofair, Joe Wredden. UK 2018. 6 min.

Marie comes to the beach to catch some sun. The only problem is that it's nighttime...


Makr (UK Premiere)

Director: Hana Kazim. Cast: Mansoor Alfeeli, Mohammed Ahmed, Madiya Humaid. United Arab Emirates, 2018. 15 min.

A fake exorcist visits the home of a man who thinks his wife is possessed by a Djinn, only to find out that things are not as they seem.


Patron (World Premiere)

Directors: Emily Haigh, Alon Young, Cast: Mhairi Calvey, Jamie Lee-Hill. UK 2019. 11 min.

Vickie has her employment sights set high, but the questions from her faceless male interviewers soon become predatory.


The Obliteration of the Chickens (European Premiere)

Director: Izzy Lee. Cast: Bracken MacLeod. USA 2019. 3 min.

The universe does not care. The abyss is stupid. Existence is banal.


Torching the Dusties (International Premiere)

Directors: Marlene Goldman, Philip McKee. Cast: Clare Coulter, Eric Peterson. Canada 2019. 14 min.

Frank and Wilma are finding that retirement life is more trouble than they had imagined, as protestors appear outside making some very serious demands.



SHORT FILM SHOWCASE 3
MONDAY 26 AUG – PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA DISCOVERY SCREEN 2
From 13:00


Pig (European Premiere)

Director: Evan Powers. Cast: Aaron LaPlante, Lindsey Rose Naves, C.J. Vana. USA 2019. 8 min.

A self-conscious psychopath struggles with his body image while terrorizing a group of unsuspecting campers.


One Last Meal (European Premiere)

Director: Jill Gevargizian. Cast: Matt Mercer, Jake Martin, Tim Marks. USA 2019. 11 min.

A prison guard is forced to fulfil an unusual request from a violent criminal on death row.


Dog Skin (World Premiere)

Director: Tiago Teixeira. Cast: Maxwell Cavenham, Laura Obiols. UK 2019. 13 min.

A man in a self-imposed exile is haunted by a mysterious dog, who transforms into an elusive woman every night.


Re-Possessed Homes (UK Premiere)

Director: Matthew Evans Landry. Cast: Natalie Lisinksa, Jordan Gavaris. Canada 2018. 15 min.

Shirley Parker is a real-estate godsend who has discovered a niche market. However, it might put her family in some danger.


Hunting Season (European Premiere)

Director: Shannon Kohli. Cast: Hannah Levien, Luke Camilleri. Canada 2018. 11 min.

It’s a creepy evening when gas station attendant and recovering alcoholic Callie must deal with a wild beast roaming the area, and the men who are determined to hunt it down.


This Little Death (London Premiere)

Director: Alex Hardy. Cast: Sarah Bauer, Jay Simpson. UK 2018. 19 min.

Young chef Zoe who falls for Mortimer the poet. The beginning is filled with love, lust and laughter, but as the months pass, they realise they have very different ideas of happiness.


Toe (European Premiere)

Directors: Neal O'Bryan, Chad Thurman. Cast: Cassie Carey. USA 2019. 7 min.

A starving boy eats a toe he finds sticking out of the ground. Later that night, something ghastly comes to his bedroom wanting it back.


Midnight (World Premiere)

Director: Katie Bonham. Cast Eleanor Crosswell, Ian Recordon. UK 2019. 8 min.

A ticking clock. Hurried footsteps. A woman struggling. Who are the ghosts that come haunting your apartment at the stroke of twelve?


The Game of the Clock (UK Premiere)

Director: Michele Olivieri. Cast: Simone Mumford. UK 2018. 7 min.

A young woman innocently comes to a friend’s home, only to find herself stalked by menacing creature, and time is running out fast.


Sleep Tight (World Premiere)

Director: Lewis Taylor. Cast: Mark Field, Joseph Richard Thomas, Péline Liberty. UK 2019. 8 min.

A wheelchair-bound teen complains about lack of personal space to his overly attached father. But maybe he shouldn’t complain when the lights go out.


Arrow Video FrightFest runs from 22nd-26th August 2019 at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema.

Single tickets ae now on sale and, alongside the few remaining Festival and day passes, are available to buy online: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html