THE Triangle’s independent film scene is thriving with the release of two local horror films made on incredibly small budgets.
Working Late, the latest film from Portstewart-based Coral Moon Productions, was written and directed by local author Philip Henry and based on a short story he wrote while at university.
“It was the second story I ever wrote, so when I looked back on it I thought the writing was pretty terrible, but I liked the plot, so I turned it into a short film script,” Philip told the Times.
The 17 minute film is based around a group of people in an office working the night shift, when they begin to suspect that one of them may be a killer… or worse.
After the success of Leaving the Lawn last year, Philip says he was approached by lots of local actors wanting to be involved in his next project.
“Leaving the Lawn was great,”, he says, “but it was also a learning experience. We’ve learned to do a lot of the technical stuff better now and I think that shows in this film.”
Two of the Leaving the Lawn cast, Cal Hunter and Liza Ackermann, are also in Working Late, and are joined by local actors Aoife Claire McLaughlin, Camilla Carina McAuley and Carleen Melaugh. The film also features the distinct vocal talents of Tim Burden, well-known DJ across the Q network.
Since funding to the arts has been hit so badly in this recession, film-makers are learning what they can do on a very small budget.
“This whole film cost less than £80,” says Philip. “Most of that was spent on props. The actors all worked for free and The Riverside Theatre were kind enough to let us film in their offices. It really is amazing what you can do with a HD camera and some editing software these days.’
Philip hopes Working Late will stimulate interest in local film-making and perhaps encourage some investment from local sources to do another full-length film next year.
The Last Light is a new feature film from the award winning production team Yellow Fever Productions. Shot on location on the North Antrim Coast in a real-life haunted mansion.
The film is based on real experiences and follows the story of Rob Walker, a maintenance guy who soon finds out he is not alone.
As darkness falls, Rob finds himself lost in the pitch black and maze-like corridors of the abandoned mansion, struggling to find a way out before he burns his last match… Is it the local kids playing with him, or is there something else at play?
The third feature from local film maker George Clarke (Battle Of The Bone, The Knackery), The Last Light premiered to an audience of over 200 people at this years Yellow Fever Independent Film Festival.
The results were as expected, with grown men leaving after 30 minutes, the crowd jumping in unison, audience members left with nightmares for days after, and some people refusing to look at the screen right after the first scare!
One film critic said it was the “scariest film she had seen since the Blair Witch’. Others said it was “better than Paranormal Activity” and earlier this month, its lead actor Robert Render picked up the award for Best Actor at the Freak Show Horror Film Festival in Orlando.
And all this for a production cost of just £200.
A typical tradition from Clarke and his team - no budget film making - that now has George invited to film schools across NI and the US to talk about his productions and give away secrets.
On his trip to Orlando with the film, George was flown up to Oswego University in New York to do a screening and talk which went down a treat, and was quickly followed by a VIP tour of Full Sail university in Orlando, one of America’s biggest film schools.
“Much like Orlando and its premiere screening, the men all screamed louder than the women. I was quite surprised how the change in pace from my usual films, was accepted so well,” says George.
For more details on a free local screening of the two films next Tuesday evening, log on to www.philiphenry.com