Bright stars of Bri­tish in­die film mak­ing

They were 25-year-olds with £25k to make a movie. Nick Ahad spoke to Will Sharpe and Tom Kings­ley on mak­ing it hap­pen.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FILM -

THERE are more independent movies made in the UK each year than you imag­ine.

With the con­tin­ual im­prove­ment of af­ford­able equip­ment avail­able, more and more peo­ple are turn­ing their hands to film-mak­ing – and the re­sults, it’s fair to say, are mixed.

Even if your film is good – not quite the same as buy­ing a lot­tery ticket – it takes a huge amount of tim­ing and good for­tune to make it stand out in this in­creas­ingly crowded mar­ket, and rise to the top.

With Black Pond, film­mak­ers Will Sharpe and Tom Kings­ley have be­gun their as­cent.

With just £25,000 – the same fig­ure, in dol­lars, with which Kevin Smith shot his first fea­ture movie Clerks, Sharpe and Kings­ley have made a movie that is caus­ing waves on the independent fes­ti­val cir­cuit.

Se­lected to screen at Rain­dance and at the Moet Bri­tish Independent Film Awards, Black Pond looks set to an­nounce the ar­rival of two tal­ented young film­mak­ers.

The film is se­ri­ously high qual­ity – it helps that it hap­pens to fea­ture the co­me­dian Si­mon Am­stell and the comic ac­tor Chris Langham, in his first role since be­ing re­leased from prison (Langham was sen­tenced for hav­ing videos of child abuse on his com­puter. He has al­ways sworn he down­loaded them in or­der to re­search a char­ac­ter. Ex­pert wit­nesses tes­ti­fied that he was not a paedophile).

Sharpe and Kings­ley first started work­ing to­gether five years ago when they met at Cam­bridge where they cowrote a play which pro­vided the ker­nel of an idea for their de­but movie.

Black Pond tells the story of a dys­func­tional fam­ily, the Thomp­sons, who are ac­cused of mur­der when a stranger dies at their din­ner ta­ble.

Dark and amus­ing, it is a tri­umph, not least be­cause it was made at all.

“There were so many times where we thought this film just wouldn’t hap­pen. What was great about hav­ing two of us work­ing on it, was that when one of us was ready to throw in the towel, the other would be op­ti­mistic and vice versa. It was like this cy­cle of morale where one was down, the other would be up and that’s how we got through the tough times when it re­ally felt like it wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen,” says Sharpe, who is known to au­di­ences for his role as Yuki in BBC hos­pi­tal drama Ca­su­alty.

The pair con­sid­ered try­ing to find fund­ing to make the film but, with the clo­sure of the UK Film Coun­cil, money is thin on the ground for small independent film projects.

Kings­ley says: “Our orig­i­nal bud­get for mak­ing the film was £20,000 and we wrote let­ters to peo­ple, tried to find in­vestors. We man­aged to raise £25,000 – it would have been great to raise more than that, but what it came down to was mak­ing the film for the money we had. We had that amount so that was all we could spend on mak­ing it.”

With a work­ing crew of four at any one time (some­times crew had to drop out be­cause of other com­mit­ments – a haz­ard when mak­ing a mi­crobud­get movie) the look of the film is an achieve­ment in it­self, but the pro­fes­sion­al­ism on dis­play from two 25-yearolds mak­ing their first film for peanuts is im­pres­sive.

Sharpe says: “We’ve treated the film, from mak­ing it, to post-pro­duc­tion, to get­ting it out to peo­ple, like a job. We pre­vi­ously made a short film with a bud­get of ab­so­lutely noth­ing, where the ac­tors were hold­ing the mics be­cause we had so few crew – but that was a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence when it came to ac­tu­ally mak­ing Black Pond.”

The film-mak­ers are clearly a canny pair and hav­ing Chris Langham in his first role since com­ing out of prison – and a

MEN AT WORK: Tom Kings­ley and Will Sharpe shoot­ing their crit­i­cally ac­claimed low-bud­get movie Black Pond.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.