A First Award and a foray into Features.

So with a few projects in the offing, I look back to a film that shot last winter. Called Winter Hill. As with everything in film, time plays with you. You prep for it and it seems like forever between writing, to the point where the film is picture locked. Of all my work so far, I’m most proud of Winter Hill. It’s my nicest film. It’s pure British, bittersweet drama and something that the Brits are almost unrivalled in producing and something which I’ve longed to do. Most of my films end in death, or are odd, or psychologically disturbing, so it was nice to do something with an element of  the uplifting.

Now just over a year since writing the script the film is currently doing the festival rounds. So far the response has been very good. There have been some selections but more pleasing has been some nominations for best film (as well as actress and score). I was also delighted to be given a Best Writing Award at the Top Indie Film Festival. It feels good to get that recognition but I have to tip my cap to the cast and crew who all did an amazing job in bringing my pages to life, well beyond even my expectations.

This has happened in conjunction with writing two features for Champdog Films, which have distribution secured for a Worldwide DVD/VOD release in 2019/20. It might sound ridiculous but a dream of mine is to walk into an HMV one day and pick my own film off the shelf. Even if I’ve already had a complimentary copy. So how does one follow their first award for a heartfelt, bittersweet drama? Well you write a feature called Vikings vs Scarecrow of course! Followed by Cy:Wife (Cyborg Wife). I wrote both, one based on a rough spec I pitched (Cy:Wife) and the other based on a distributor demand (can you write a Viking vs Scarecrow). The challenge of writing low budget genre films interests me. Something high concept like Cy:Wife, even with budgetary constraints was enjoyable to write. Vikings vs a Demonic Scarecrow? Well that was just a blast to write.

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My eclectic tastes in film are very much reflected in what I’ve written so far. I love so many different genres and styles. I have several shorts still in the offing, including The Dark Recess (which I’ll be producing) and Everywhere and Nowhere. Then my most personal feature next year, Feral. Long formulating and gestating until we (myself and the amazing Leila Bartell) get it perfect. It will cover dark topics and has psychological intensity. Then my mind drifts back to more straight drama in the next short I do. Then perhaps comedy too. Comedy is my favourite genre but I’ve never quite found the opportunity to forward any scripts or the deep desire to produce a script myself. It will happen eventually.

I also look forward to writing more genre pics as they’re enjoyable to write, and ultimately seem to be the most marketable on low budget. I’m hoping the momentum keeps going into the new year and here’s hoping I can make that visit to HMV.

Tom Jolliffe.

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