Your upcoming movie Sister Vengeance - in a few words, what
is it about?
Aidan: Sister Vengeance is the story of a genetically engineered samurai
nun from the distant future, who is on a quest for revenge against her
diabolical brother after he massacred the rest of their ďfamilyĒ. That
Marc: An orgy of nuns, guns
and badly-drawn puns.
Sounds like the film I signed up for.
As far as I know, Sister Vengeance
is your final year project in Media Production at the University of
Lincoln, UK. So how did you band together and decide on exactly this
Aidan: I think it was one of
those things where I suggested the idea semi-jokingly, but people sort of
latched on to it. It was something that appealed to the whole group for
different reasons, the humour, the violence, the action, the style, etc.
There was something there that got all our respective creative juices
flowing, and it was something ambitious and different to what any of us
had done before.
I've read somewhere that Sister Vengeance
is going to be "a cocktail of grindhouse cinema, samurai B-movies,
pulpy science fiction and anime" - so what can you tell us about your
love for these genres, and some of your genre favourites (for whatever
What I love about all those genres mentioned is that they all present this
warped version of reality. They donít play into the logic of the real
world; so youíve just got to sort of go with the world the presented.
That was a big inspiration for Sister Vengeance. I think we all relish the chance to create a world on
screen that is very far from ours. Our
main influences for Sister Vengeance has been stuff like Shogun
Assassin, RoboCop, Claymore, Kill Bill, They Call Her One-Eye. There
are definitely shades of all those mentioned and more in Sister
Hannah: I think
itís safe to say that people will be sitting there watching, saying
ďIíve seen something like this beforeĒ or ďThis scene is just
likeÖĒ, but then thatís where weíll hit them! Sister Vengeance
certainly dips into different genres and acts, as homage to different
films, but thereís a streak of originality that we canít wait to show
What can you tell us about the film's writing
process and your co-writer Marc Smith?
have never really co-written a screenplay, so itís been interesting.
Itís been strange to invite someone else into the crazy internal world I
inhabit when Iím writing, but itís certainly been fun. Marcís a big
horror buff, so he comes at Sister
Vengeance from that angle. Itís
been useful for a project thatís so ďout thereĒ to have another
perspective, either to say ďI think thatís too muchĒ or ďI think
we need to go furtherĒ on various aspects of the story and script.
Do talk about the
intended look and feel of your movie for a bit!
Aidan: The visual style
weíve been talking about is very Ď70s. Like a spaghetti western on an
even lower budget, so lots of open spaces, with very bright
cinematography. Where we do want to differ, is that in terms of movement,
we want more energy and more camera movement.
Marc: Yes, really
reminiscent of 70ís grindhouse cinema, essentially creating a
faux-grindhouse look that works well with modern filmmaking techniques.
Vengeance seems to be quite a complex project - so where do you see
the challenges of bringing your story to the screen on the production side
Aidan: I think the biggest
challenge is making the action not look shitty, to be frank. Set dressing,
props and so on are easy enough, but to achieve this big, over the top
action scenes on a low budget, and to do that safely, is going to be a
challenge. A fun challenge, but a challenge all the same.
Hannah: That was the idea
behind launching the IndieGoGo campaign -
-, to raise a budget big enough to
ensure that weíll be able to pull off Sister
Vengeance without looking shitty. None of us have worked on university
projects with budgets larger than £100, so itís going to be exciting if
we reach our target.
Marc: Thankfully though to
ensure that we can pull off the over the top action scenes, Ben, our sound
guy, is trained in various martial arts so heíll be able to make a lot
of the action scenes work for us.
Do talk about your key crew for a
bit, and why exactly these people?
Hannah: Sister Vengeance will mark the first time that the five of us have
worked together, but thereís already a really strong rapport between us
all, and years of friendship between certain members. But from the word
go, everyone has had his or her head in the game, showing clear
determination to make sure this project succeeds. From a producing
viewpoint, thatís the key ingredient.
Aidanís worked on a number of short
films and sketches, ranging in genres, but having also worked on screen
and stage as an actor himself, heís exactly the type of director you
want on a project where youíre asking so much of your actors.
Cinematography is in the
safe hands of Marc, whoís worked on a number of short films, which have
tested his creative skillsets, and heís a firm believer that nothing too
insane is impossible, which is perfect when youíre aiming to bring a
screenplay like Sister Vengeance to life.
From the word go,
Charlotte Dick, our Editor, understood the quality of work we were aiming
to produce and simply wasnít fazed. Having edited fiction shorts as well
as documentaries before, sheís geared up for the challenge and weíre
thankful that weíll be placing the rushes in her hands.
Music and sound
engineering is the responsibility of Ben Kelly, whose background includes
various radio dramas and short films. Heís got an ear for sound and
knows exactly what works and what doesnít. For Sister Vengeance the
soundtrack will be one of the most importance factors, so having Ben on
board will help us ensure that itís not a failure.
Iím undertaking the role
of producer, so itís great to know that Iíll be working alongside a
dedicated team, each determined to bring Sister Vengeance to life. My
previous works include a variety of short films, as well as a feature
length film that was shot this summer.
As far as I know,
your movie's still in its fundraising stages as we speak. So what can you
tell us about your fundraising efforts?
response that weíve received from the IndieGoGo campaign has been
incredible. It was launched just over a week ago, and with over 20 days
still remaining; weíve almost raised half of our £500 goal. Seeing that
people are just as excited by the project as we are only makes us more
determined to make this a success. Weíre offering various Ďperksí to
anyone that donates, everything from signed scripts, DVDís to being an
extra in the film. Each perk is our way of saying thank you for backing
Once the funds
are raised, any idea when and where the film will be released onto the
is currently underway, with filming set to begin in October/November and
post-production beginning towards the end of November. Due to the project
being part of our university course, our first priority is to submit it to
our tutors in December. We are aiming to upload the film around the same
time, to sites such as Vimeo, but anyone that has donated and claimed one of the perks,
that include a DVD copy of the film, will receive these before Sister
Vengeance is released publicly online.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Weíre in the process of forming our own production company, Aidan,
Hannah and myself; so various projects are in the pipeline for sure.
Aidan: Weíve got a few
things coming up after Sister
Vengeance, including a horror flick thatíll be interesting for
people to see after the release of this project.
Hannah: Our minds are constantly running away with new ideas, and
after the positive response that Sister
Vengeance has received, thereís no doubt that weíll begin
production on a new project as soon as this one has finished. After all,
filmmaking is what weíre passionate about.
did you get into filmmaking to begin with, and what can you tell us about
your filmwork prior to Sister Vengeance?
Aidan: For me
personally, Iíve always been into film. My parents showed me a lot of
stuff, and actively discussed films and stories with me, so itíd always
been encouraged. I think what made me actually sit up and think ďI can
do that!Ē is the movie Shaun of
the Dead. Before that came out, movie making felt like a very American
enterprise and I felt like the only British movies Iíd seen were either
very dated comedies or very serious dramas. Seeing something fresh and
crazy like Shaun of
the Dead, that was not
just a comedy, but also a genuine zombie movie, was a revelation to me at
that age. Since then Iíve discovered many other influences, but I think
the suggestion that I could make
movies, and they could be
something different and out there, was planted in my brain by Shaun of
Marc: I got into
film-making when I was a teenager, it was a case of getting together with
my friends, with a crap mobile phone camera and being like ďHey guys,
letís make a film!Ē We made a terrible horror short in the woods near
my house, but the experience of that was so much fun that I wanted to keep
doing it. Once I left school, I immediately signed up for the Film &
Television course at my local college and the rest is history. Recently
Iíve become involved with Backyard Productions, working in the PR
department, as well working on the first feature length production from GS
Productions What Goes Up, and
those experiences have brought so many new things to the table for me.
Hannah: Iíve been quite lucky
in knowing where Iíve wanted my career to head for a few years now. My
overly active imagination met its muse in filmmaking during sixth form.
Unlike most of the students, Media Studies wasnít a Ďdossí subject
choice for me. The course gave me the creative freedom to bring all of my
ideas to life. Iíd always had a stronger interest in films and their
productions than most people I was surrounded by, so deciding to work
towards gaining a Media Production degree at university finally felt like
Iíd arrived home. For the past two years, being surrounded by people
just as creative and determined, as myself has been incredible. However
the real career push came last year, when I realised that I wanted to
focus on the producing side of filmmaking. The opportunities Iíve been
granted this year, such as producing the feature length film What
Goes Up and the short film Magique,
which is lined up for future festivals, are ones that I never pictured
myself receiving whilst studying for my degree. Itís the challenges that
keep me motivated.
would you describe yourselves as producer and director, respectively?
Aidan: I think that itís
for other people to discuss the actual work we produce, but in terms of my
on-set attitude Iím a laid back, collaborative director. I know what I
want, I have a clear vision for each project, but Iím not a dictator.
Hannah: Organisation is key,
without it thereís no point in starting a project. I make sure that
everyone involved in the production feels like theyíre on the same page.
Everyone has an equal role to play and itís important thatís not
forgotten. Iím fair, I know exactly what needs to be done and by when. I
treat the cast and crew with the same respect I expect back.
who inspire you?
Aidan: So many. To list off a few,
the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Edgar Wright, Terry Gilliam, John
Carpenter, Park Chan-Wook, Guillermo Del Toro, Stanley Kubrick,
Thatís a real mixed bag, but I think itís best to be open to many
Marc: Personally, Iím influenced by Dario Argento, Rob
Zombie, John Carpenter, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick, directors who have
their own styles grab my attention.
Hannah: Where to start? Paul Thomas Anderson, Stanley Kubrick,
Martin Scorsese, Park Chan-Wook. Christopher Nolan, Pedro Almodovar, Garth
Edwards and Lynee Ramsey. My biggest influence though is David Lynch.
Your favourite movies?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
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The links below
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Aidan: I have too many to
list just a few easily, but The
Shining, Panís Labyrinth and Let
The Right One In are ones that always come up when I discuss favourite
Marc: Off the top of my head,
the original Halloween, Suspiria, the
original Black Christmas, Battle
Royale, and on the flip-side of that, films such as Forrest
Gump, Bicentennial Man, Full Metal Jacket, The Goonies, Big Trouble in
Hannah: Thereís a real variety for me: Blue
Velvet, Oldboy, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, His Girl Friday,
Lost In Translation, One Flew Over
the Cuckcooís Nest, to name a
few. Thereís also a special place in my heart for Toy
and of course, films you really deplore?
ďDeploreĒ is a very strong word and I donít know if Iíd apply it
to any work of artÖ unless of course M. Night Shyamalan directed it.
Marc: I used to really
dislike rom-coms, but after working on What
Goes Up, and enjoying it so much, I feel I canít really speak too
harshly of them now.
Hannah: Any film that Jason
Friedberg has worked on and ever will work on.
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