The internet - it’s a great field leveller. It gives people like myself and others a chance to do what they want to do, or more accurately what they yearn to do that a few years ago wouldn’t really be feasible. I’d probably be sitting in a corner typing reviews that nobody other than myself would read - that’s how I started. The internet came along and all of a sudden, I could publish my articles and get them "out there".
That led me to being a blogger and then a magazine writer. An occupation previously that I guess I’d have to live in London, Manchester or another major city to be a part of. I know of several similar cases out there. People who’ve used the internet to satisfy their calling.
And it’s not just writers - the world of film production has been thrown wide open to talented individuals who work painstakingly to follow their dream of making a movie. Check out sites like YouTube - there are some pretty spectacular home made horror and sci-fi movies out there made on a budget that wouldn’t even cover the cost of cup of coffee. These are made with skill, a wealth of talent and unswerving enthusiasm. This, I feel, is where Hollywood should be looking for the major talent of tomorrow. This is where the next Wes Craven, John Carpenter, del Toro or Rodriguez is currently learning his craft by sheer experimentation and ingenuity.
In the past few days, I’ve seen an amazing short horror film that I recommend you to watch before reading the rest of this article. It runs just short of 17 minutes and can be viewed free at this link.
Pretty intense, huh?
Well, I caught up with Nikki Chatwin of Sick Bunny Pictures who graciously took some time to chat about the film, its making and what we can expect in the future from Sick Bunny Pictures.
Robin Pierce: Tell me about Sick Bunny Productions - how did it get started?
Nikki Chatwin: Jason & I are brothers and best friends. I myself have a background in art and film education, Jason a background in music. Sick Bunny Pictures started after years of doing no films due to being stuck in a very small village with no real opportunities. After I finished my degree in film, I decided to move back to my city of birth and opportunities came quickly with music videos for local bands. I soon got my brother on board as editor for a micro horror short I made called "Tools Of The Trade" and I could see he really had a passion for it and so Sick Bunny Pictures was born.
It’s really just me and Jason running everything, we edit,direct, write and shoot everything ourselves getting occasional help when needed
RP: What inspired you to start making your own horror movies?
NC: Its always been my passion ever since I was a small child. Some of my earliest memories as a child was watching old Hammer House of Horror films with my grandad and then a bit later on watching slasher flicks like Halloween & Childs' Play with my mum and that was it. I always knew I wanted to be involved with horror. I would even write film ideas and draw concept art for masked killers.
RP: 15-05-08 seems like an American slasher movie transplanted into suburban England, how long did it take to film? How did you cast it? What was the budget?
NC: It’s funny that you say that because slasher films are my real passion and the thing I am most influenced by. But what we really wanted to do with this film is combine the sub genres of found footage and slasher films together - something we believe hasn’t really been seen before.
Also, found footage is often put down by most hardcore horror fanatics and we wanted to show them that found footage films dont have to be all about the paranormal and running around stupidly in dark woods...
Filming wasn't very long at all, lasting only 3 nights and our budget was sooo small it brings new meaning to the term "shoe string budget" with actors practically doing the work for free.
RP: How did the idea for 15-05-08 come about? What are your influences?
NC: At the time, I was watching a lot of found footage films and home invasion films like The Strangers and Funny Games. I started writing a script for a film called Untitled Tape. I loved the script but unfortunately I wasn't quite ready to go forward with it so we decided to do some test shots.We were so happy with the test footage that we decided to make it into a prequel of Untitled Tape and so it developed into15-05-08
RP: Does the title date have any meaning for you personally , or was it chosen arbitrarily?
NC: No it doesnt mean anything to us personally. I chose a date that was coming up so we could release the film on that date. After choosing the date though we did find out a number of interesting historical events that happened on May the 15th including the founding of The city of sin Las Vegas and numerous massacres which we highlighted on a teaser poster for "15-05-08" seen here:
RP: You’re making films for an online release, which cuts out the distribution costs, but where do you go from here?
NC: Although it is a free online release we are releasing the film on a double disk DVD with lots of extra features including some wonderfully sick trailers for other indie flicks that we have been given permission to use as our way of helping out fellow indie filmmakers.
This is planned for a release hopefully at the end of May and even a possible VHS release at a later date.We also have a lot of merchandise for release in the next few months as we have had a lot of interest for T-shirt with our "Sick Bunny" logo .We also plan on entering 15-05-08 into a number of British Horror film festivals and maybe even some U.S. ones as well
RP: Where do you see yourself in say five years time?
NC: We love the loyalty of the horror community and we feel like we are a "family" and to reward that loyalty we will listen to our "family" and bring them short films they want to see and maybe even a feature film.
We have a number of of ideas planned for the near future including Tools Of The Trade - a development of a short we have previously made. Some traditional slasher films like a short we have planned called Leporiphobia and a number of more "extreme" exploitation titles.
We also plan to bring out another 3 films that link with to 15-05-08 each delving into different horror sub genres , with the sequel Untitled Tape which is more of a FF Snuff/Torture Porn film.
A 3rd film which is more of a traditional slasher film and a 4th film which becomes more of a Giallo/crime/slasher. The most exciting thing of Sick Bunny's future though is working with a very talented special effects company N-FX which will bring the "Sick" to Sick Bunny pictures.
Okay - Rob here again, with thanks to Nikki for an insightful look at the upcoming talent at Sick Bunny. Naturally, I'll be keeping an eye out for any and all future productions - so keep checking the site for updates, but don't forget to show your support and like their Facebook page.
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