HORROR-ON-SEA FILM FESTIVAL is an amazing gathering in Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Every year horror filmmakers and fans flock to the Essex coastal town to satisfy their lust for all things horror.
The festival screens, over two weekends in January, some of the most gruesome, scariest, funniest and entertaining independent horror films you’ll ever find. For more information please check out their Facebook page here. And the website here.
I would personally like to thank Horror-on-Sea for screening my short psychological thriller, TOLERANCE (2019). It was a great crowd who seemed to enjoy the film last Sunday night. You can see the film by clicking on link below. Also, please subscribe to the YouTube channel by clicking here.
Lastly, a big shout out to Paul Cotgrove and his army of assistants who make the festival such a success. Also, congratulations to all the filmmakers who commit to making their horror films so bloody entertaining. Many of these films are self-funded and produced so well done to them.
This was my third visit to Horror-on-Sea Film Festival and this year I stayed for two nights. That enabled me to watch even more short and feature horror films. Here is a list of films I watched with promotional links (where possible). They were all really entertaining with horror, comedy, fear, sex and gore all combining to wonderful effect. There were many, many more films shown too so I recommend you go next year as it’s back in 2021!
HORROR-ON-SEA 2020 – FILMS WATCHED
The Dead Ones (Short) – Director: Stefan Georgiou – Link
The Front Door (Short) – Director: Andrew Rutter – Link
YOU HAVE A NEW FOLLOWER (2020) – SHORT FILM UPDATE
Last year I wrote and filmed a new short film called You Have a New Follower (2020). It is now completed and it is now being prepared for submission to film festivals. Here are the details, credits and a trailer to watch.
Astrid Nilsson’s life begins to unravel when she is stalked by a mysterious hooded figure.
You Have a New Follower (2020) is the latest short film from Paul Laight and Fix Films. It was shot in London and combines mystery, suspense and science fiction genres with dramatic effect. It’s a short, low-budget film which seeks to explore themes of paranoia, anxiety, and identity within the thriller genre.
ASTRID NILSSON – Tilde Jensen DAVID MARKER – Mitchell Fisher
CREDITS AND CREW
DIRECTED BY: Paul Laight and Tilde Jensen WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY: Paul Laight CAMERA: Petros Gioumpasis LIGHTING: Sakis Gioumpasis SOUND: Marina Fusella EDITORS: Oliver McGuirk, Petros Gioumpasis COMPOSER: James Wedlock SOUND DESIGN: Simos Lazaridis LOCATION MANAGER: Melissa Zajk PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: Lue Henner
TOLERANCE (2019) – MY SHORT FILM WINS FESTIVAL AWARD
Just a quick post to say that my short film Tolerance (2019) won best short film at the 2019 UK Offline Webfest. It’s a great independent film festival with the awards held at the Etcetera Theatre in London. As a low budget filmmaker it’s great to get screenings for my films, and while I am not a massive fan of competitions or awards, it was also fantastic to be acknowledged. If you haven’t seen the film you can watch it at the link below.
“What’s your poison?”
Tolerance is a story of obsession, addiction, revenge and murder. It concerns a dinner “date” which takes a twisted turn. Inspired by narratives like those of Hitchcock, Tales of the Unexpected and Inside No. 9, it explores the damage toxic relationships can cause. It is both a thriller and a very dark comedy.
CAST & CREW
Written and directed by Paul Laight Starring: Georgia Kerr and Patrick Tolan Sound: Marina Fusella Camera: Edward Lomas Lighting: Kato Murphy Make-up: Camille Nava Music: James Wedlock Editor: Jodie Williams Set Designer: Melissa Zajk
Last year I wrote, produced and directed my second short film called Tolerance. Post-production was carried out and completed including artwork and the music. It was finished earlier this year and I am now releasing the film online here.
TOLERANCE premiered at the Unrestricted View Film Festival, London in April 2019. Also, it was nominated for best art direction award at http://www.uvff.co.uk.
Also screened at:
Fix Films Ltd Film Night, London, March 2019 UK Monthly Online Film Festival, April 2019 Lift-Off Online Sessions, Pinewood Studios, April 2019 Direct Monthly Online Festival, April 2019
Tolerance is a story of obsession, revenge and murder. It concerns a dinner “date” which takes a murderous turn. Inspired by narratives by Hitchcock Presents, Tales of the Unexpected and Inside No. 9, it suspensefully examines both personal and societal issues when a relationship breaks down.
On the surface it is essentially a suspensful thriller and dark comedy. However, within the subtext I attempt to examine the harm people inflict on each other with their relationship choices. Lastly, with the recent #MeToo furore that correctly highlighted the horrendous toxicity of human behaviour, I wanted to consider wider concerns of gender politics.
CAST AND CREDITS
Written and directed by: Paul Laight Starring: Georgia Kerr and Patrick Tolan Sound: Marina Fusella Camera: Edward Lomas Lighting: Kato Murphy Make-Up: Camille Nava Music: James Wedlock Editor: Jodie Williams Set Designer: Melissa Zajk
On Sunday the 30th June 2019 I did two of my favourite things. I took a long walk through the city of London and watched loads of short films.
London is obviously a very busy city and hive of activity during the week. However, on a Sunday it, despite there still being traffic, is way more peaceful. Well, especially from eight in the morning until around lunchtime. Indeed, until I got to the tourist trap that is Westminster it had been a pleasure to walk down the Thames Embankment and through the city of London.
I set out to walk from Clapham to Hackney and my destination was the Yard Theatre, Hackney. I made the walk of around ten miles in good time and the event was The Shortest Nights 2019 – Short Film Festival.
The Shortest Nights is an annual celebration of British short film. They bring you five cutting-edge programmes across a range of themes and genres featuring new works from emerging British filmmakers.
The people running the event are so enthusiastic and put on a great array of different British short film productions. Overall, there were thirty-nine short films and I watched all of them. It was a great day and I was especially impressed by the: comedies, horrors, documentaries, dramas, animation and art-house films on show.
There were low-to-high budget short films of brilliant quality and the programmes were broken down into five categories. So, if you ever get a chance to go to their film events I recommend it to all filmmakers and film fans alike.
YOU HAVE A NEW FOLLOWER (2020) – A NEW SHORT FILM PRODUCTION
While my most recent short film production Tolerance (2019) has yet to be released online, I am still hopeful of further short film screenings. It was recently screened at the Unrestricted View Festival 2019 in London and was also nominated for an award for set design and art direction.
Tolerance (2019) will be released online in the next few months. Details of the film can be found HERE.
Also, the trailer can be seen here:
Over the last year I have been working with the excellent Swedish actress Tilde Jensen on a new short film. It has been a fascinating process as I was ready to film in February 2019. But, after shooting a test video I decided the film wasn’t dramatic enough. So, I re-wrote the script to try and make it more cinematic. I finally settled on a script that was an improvement in our view and rather than just be voice-over based, it now has a lot more suspense, energy and mystery.
You Have a New Follower is a mystery thriller set over one fateful day. Astrid Nilsson is a freelance writer, pitching to clients around London. However, she is unaware she is being followed. Only when she is surprised by her follower do events take a twisted turn.
Inspired by filmmakers such as Hitchcock and DePalma, of all the scripts I have written I was say this is the most ambiguous and mysterious one. I have deliberately not filled in the narrative gaps, so I’m hoping that the audience will still feel the fear our main character does from her predicament. Thematically, the story is about the threat of being followed by the unknown and how one would handle such a situation.
Choice of shots, music, performance and editing style will be paramount. I am relying on the cinematic style to convey the emotion rather than explaining the story in the dialogue. I like to think that I have exhibited interesting style in the previous short films but I always closed any narrative or story gaps. In this film I take more of a creative risk.
We shot over two days during the recent May 2019 Bank Holiday. I assembled a small but fantastic crew. We were a truly international team with crew from: Greece, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and England. Low budget filmmaking can be incredibly difficult but very rewarding. As with my prior short films the whole crew worked together brilliantly and I was very happy with the shots we got.
In order to make any shoot work smoothly I had prepared a scene-by-scene breakdown and shot list. I had also done reconnaissance on the London locations at: King’s Cross, London South Bank and Leake Street Arches, Waterloo. The locations were important and integral to creating the city look I wanted for the film. I wanted the character to feel trapped by her surroundings but also use locations which looked impressive. Despite being moved on a couple of times by security staff I believe we achieved this, despite some compromises.
The internal locations were shot on the second day. Here is where the main drama of the story unfolds. We find the character of Astrid in a very stressed state and as she recounts her day to her boyfriend, David. Tilde Jensen and Mitchell Fisher gave great performances and I think our rehearsals prior to shooting really paid off.
TO BE CONTINUED. . .
You Have a New Follower is a very contained story full of enigma, but it hints at a larger scale universe. However, mostly it is an isolated character story about urban paranoia and the fear of being followed and watched. In the subtext it’s also about that existential anxiety we all feel in life and why we sometimes feel afraid and just don’t know why.
The film will now move into post-production and the editing, music and sound production will form a bond to make it another decent low-budget short film. Here’s hoping!
CAST AND CREDITS
Written, produced and directed by: Paul Laight Cast: Tilde Jensen, Mitchell Fisher, Lue Henner Sound: Marina Fusella Cinematography: Petros Gioumpasis, Sakis Gioumpasis Production Assistants: Lue Henner, Melissa Zajk Music: TBC Editor: TBC
Between the years
of 2008 and 2011, I did some screenwriting work for the Mountview Film Academy;
a filmic extension of the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Based in London,
they would produce a number of student acting projects including many low budget
short films. Writers would be shuttled in and given a remit to create short
films using specified actors, locations and length of film. Thus, I wrote a
number of scripts which were adapted on very low budgets. Here are the three I
wrote for the year 2011.
2011 was an
interesting year. Britain faced countrywide riots in London, Birmingham,
Manchester and Liverpool. The reasons for the violent outbreaks were mixed and
included social unrest due to government cuts, police brutality, hot weather
and youth discontent. British courts meted out severe justice and law and order
was restored, however, the protests in Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Yemen and
Bahrain gave 2011 what became known as the ‘Arab Spring’. Here the people of
the Middle East didn’t just riot and loot but actually took power back from
In other news Vladimir Putin held onto power in Russia while in Britain, again, the News of the World lost its power and position as the major Sunday newspaper. This was due to the phone hacking scandal and heads rolled and injunctions followed. More legal ramifications occurred for a number of MP’s sent to jail for fiddling their expenses. While, in more frivolous news Charlie Sheen has a complete meltdown; Hugh Grant became a father at 51; Adele’s star went stratospheric as she sold millions of recording units; but sadly the pop and soul singer, Amy Winehouse passed away aged only twenty-seven. Meanwhile. . .
BEST LAID PANS (2011)
short comedy is about a guy who gets trapped in a restaurant toilet when striving
to propose to his girlfriend.
This has some great work by the cast, director and crew and my script has a lot of comedic promise. I think it suffers from being over-written for the eight minute running time. With a slightly increased budget and, say a few more minutes, it would have been even funnier. Nonetheless, it’s still quite an entertaining little farce.
short comedy-drama concerns two friends who bump into each other having not
seen each other for years.
I think this is one of my favourite scripts and it is executed to perfection. The story of a too-shy and over-confident couple of buddies trying to “pull” a work colleague is full of twists and dark humour. The acting by the Mountview students is really good and the pacing of the story handled expertly. All involved bring to life my script very well.