Your two new movies Clowns
and Laura's Story -
in a few words, what are they about?
is simply a horror short that focuses on a girl and her friends being
harassed by psychopathic clowns in the forest. Original I know! And Laura's Story
is a short awareness film, showing the dangers of
drink-spiking and its effect on people, especially women.
How did the two
projects come about, actually, and since they're largely shot with the
same crew, were they conceived as back-to-back projects from early on, or
was one of them just a result of having worked well together on the other?
Kellyann Summers and director Kirsty (Nikki Tomb) wanted to make Clowns
for months but didnít get
much luck with finding a reliable crew. They even crowdfunded the film but
werenít successful. Our mutual friends linked us together via social
media, and I was looking to do something creative again after a brief
hiatus. I was pretty much a one-man band at the time, providing the
camera, sorting sound, lighting and even editing both films back-to-back.
It was a very challenging process for me. It was originally meant to be us
making only Clowns, but during the second or third week of shooting Kirsty
suddenly wanted us to make another short which came to be Laura's Story.
talk about Clowns first
- do talk about this movie's approach to horror!
concept of clowns portraying as sadistic killers has been a phase for
quite some time. Some have been very authentic and generally disturbing,
like It (2017) and Terrifier 2 (2022), and some have been embarrassing such
as the Camp Blood franchise. I donít personally have a fear of clowns so
it was hard for me to make the film as gruesome as possible. There
wasnít anything remotely original about Nikkiís script when I first
read it, so I had to find a way of making the film horrific in a
traditional sense. I concentrated more on the fear of the darkness and the
idea of being alone at night in the middle of the forest. That to me was
scarier than killer clowns on the loose.
can you tell us about the look and feel of Clowns?
inspiration for when I was making Clowns
were movies like Blair Witch
(2016) and Cabin Fever (2002). I guess I was going for a more
documentary-style look for the film, creating a kind of ďsnuff-filmĒ
handheld feel Ė unnerving and voyeuristic. Like youíve stumbled across
some dodgy home movies in a basement and Clowns
would be one of the
videos. We were making a low budget indie film with portable lights in the
woods at night-time with very little time and money, so handheld felt
appropriate at the time.
talk about Clowns' cast,
and why exactly these people?
wasnít involved with the casting of Clowns. Everybody was cast by the
time I was asked to come on board. Kellyann and Kirsty had to get rid of a
couple of actors to begin with but overall the cast were the best thing
about making that film. My hat goes off to actors like Annina Kaski and Shane
Buckley (Jasmine and Josh) as I thought they were patient, friendly and
professional. Tom Summers (Lewis) is Kellyannís husband, and Vicky
Lissaman(Cindy) is an
Instagram model, so they had very little experience, but they did a good
A few words about the
shoot as such?
than the fact that the film was meant to be feature length and that the
ending was rushed in my opinion, as there was a lot of creative
differences towards the end of the shoot. Probably the hardest thing
Iíve ever had to create as a filmmaker because horror is without a doubt
the most challenging genre to get right.
On to Laura's
Story - with this one based on a true story, does that in any way
alter your approach to filmmaking, and what can you tell us about your
directorial approach to the story at hand?
the words true story with a pinch of salt. The concept was apparently
based on Kirstyís bad experience one night, but she fictionalised quite
a lot of things in the script. I wasnít so sure about directing at first
because it wasnít personal to me. I never experienced a night like that
before, so my understanding was pretty vague. Plus I felt like the story
needed to be told by a woman as these are serious female issues in life.
But due to Kirstyís lack of experience directing I ended up
helping her. We took the premise very seriously however, I wanted to make
it grounded and hard-hitting as possible for the audience to feel for the
rather sensitive subject matter, how easy or hard was it to cast Laura's
Story, and what can you tell us about your cast?
I wasnít involved with the casting of that film. But Kellyann and Kirsty
did a great job finding them as they were phenomenal with their
performances. Kellyann Summers was our producer for both shorts and she
plays Kaylee, the devil on Lauraís shoulder. A lot of people said she
stole the film but for me it was Megan Groves (Laura), an upcoming actor
who I genuinely believe will be a star one day. The script was plain and
basic so the cast improvised most of the dialogue to keep it convincing
and authentic as they interact with each other.
do talk about the shoot as such?
was torture trying to stage a night club on a Saturday night! We werenít
provided that many extras for our clubbing scenes so it was hard to stage
properly. The shoot was an experience Iíll never forget.
Now how did the shoots
of these two films actually compare?
was a smoother process whereas Clowns
was more complicated and all
over the place with its direction and organising. Less days to shoot for Laura's
Story as that was something like two weekends worth. But Clowns
unnecessary amount of time, something like nearly half a year due to
weather conditions and availability.
The $64-question of
course, where can Clowns
and Laura's Story
The films can be seen for free on YouTube, even though Kirsty uploaded it on
Amazon Prime. I can happily give you the links here. For Laura's
- and for Clowns:
Anything you can tell us about audience and
critical reception of the two movies?
seem to have had a positive reception. Both were nominated for awards, but
we werenít fortunate enough to win any. Maybe next time! Weíve
received mostly good reviews on various websites though and Iím pleased
with how both films turned out.
Any future projects you'd like to share?
Iím glad you asked! Iím in pre-production for my latest short film New
Yearís Eve, a crime thriller about two strangers meeting online and
going out for a date on NYE. The crux of it all is that one of them
isnít telling the truth on their dating profile! We start shooting in
May and Iím so excited about this one as Iíll have full creative control for the first time since the
pandemic. Plus I co-wrote the script this time so it feels like a breath
of fresh air.
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
love movies and filmmaking for as long as I can remember. Borrowed my
parentsí video camera at the age of 6 and filmed little sketches with my
schoolfriends. I originally wanted to be an actor but decided in my teens
that being behind the camera was my true passion. Studied over at Norwich
University College of the Arts with a Masters Degree in film.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to Clowns and Laura's
made some feature films prior to Clowns and
Story. Wrote, produced and directed a drama, Iím Still Here starring Dan Burman (Human
Centipede II) and Lucy Russell (HBOís
Chernobyl), which was about terminal illnesses and the time we have left with our loved ones. Also
Z-Listers, which is a comedy about the lifestyles of Z-list celebrities,
and I made a period piece drama set in 1960ís about a love triangle
titled Damage. They can also be viewed on YouTube for free.
How would you describe yourself as a
I can be blunt and forward at times, but some actors appreciate that
approach. Iím a hands-on director who likes to engage with his cast and
crew, but since I started photographing my films Iíve been more distant
directing while focusing on framing the scenes simultaneously. Itís not an
Filmmakers who inspire you?
Tarantino, Spielberg and Coppola. Four legends who went far and beyond for
keep it brief for your sanity! Oldboy (2003),
American History X (1998), A
Clockwork Orange (1971), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Saw (2004),
Apocalypse Now (1979).
... and of course, films you really
All movies are art! Haha joking. I REALLY didnít like Ghost Rider (2007) for
some reason. Remembered walking out of the cinema in utter disgust.
Your/your movies' website, social media, whatever else?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
If you search for TV Bandits on YouTube you should be able to find my work on
there. I do have Instagram and Facebook as well where I promote my work.
Anything else you're dying to mention and
I have merely forgotten to ask?
at all! You did great with these questions and it was a pleasure. Thank you.
Thanks for the interview!