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Hello everyone! We are back from our summer break with a look at a fantastic indie drama, Six Years Gone, by writer/director Warren Dudley. Dudley previously directed the indie sports comedy Prankz, and horror flicks Cage and The Cutting Room.

Who?
I am a filmmaker and screenwriter from Brighton in the UK. Six Years Gone is the fourth low budget movie I have written and directed. Another project, The Bromley Boys (with a more sensible budget!), I was very proud to have written the screenplay for. I have produced this movie with my wonderful executive producer David Fearn.

The cast and crew, led by the amazing Veronica Jean Trickettt, were largely found within a few miles of my home town. Six Years Gone has a truly low budget ethos. It’s been amazing to see the film, and Vee in particular, garnering some very kind reviews and continued festival success. The cast and crew worked so hard and I hope seeing all the love makes it feel worth it.

The film is being distributed by Indie Rights.

What?
Six Years Gone follows single mum Carrie Dawson who is living a very comfortable life with her eleven-year-old daughter Lolly… until the worst happens and Lolly does not return from school.

We then join Carrie six years later to find that her life has fallen apart. She has been left to look after her mum and now works as a cleaner at a local social club – her past life a distant memory. However as some clues come to light about the abduction, a desperate search for answers, and eventually her daughter, begins.

We aimed for Six Years Gone to be a gritty and powerful look at tragedy, love, and desperation, that will touch a nerve with all parents. Now it’s up to audiences to decide if we succeeded!

Where?
We made the film in and around Brighton, on the UK’s south coast. The film is set in the same area. We were very fortunate to find four or five amazing (and importantly, free!) locations.

We shot the movie in eleven days – not something I would recommend! This was largely made possible by the fact we used long single takes on many scenes. This means we only had to do one camera, sound and lighting set up on location for what could often end up being 4 minutes of screen time.

Saying all that, my amazing DOP Richard Osborne would, I’m sure, have liked a few more days.

When?
The film was written, produced, cast, crewed, shot and edited during 2021. I started with a blank word doc on January 1st and we’d finished by Christmas.

We then set about submitting the film to festivals, and have done better than we could have imagined. We have had wins in London (where we World Premiered), New York, Paris and many more. It’s been an incredible ride. After the festival run ended we released the film in May 2022.

Why?
I’ve spent the last ten years flitting between football-based comedy and the horror/thriller genres. It’s been a privilege to work on these projects with some brilliant, talented people. However, it’s been gnawing away at me that I have yet to make anything ‘real’. Something gritty and heartfelt that packs an emotional punch.

The idea for Six Years Gone had been floating around my head for a while. As the parent of a now thirteen-year-old daughter, news reports about missing children have always left me with chills, and I felt those feelings could be mined for a script. About two years ago I saw a Belgian film called The Unknown Girl, and it immediately made me think that a similar way of shooting could bring my new idea to life. I loved the ultra-real performances and greyness of the film. I aimed to get close to this with Six Years Gone.

How?
Six Years Gone can be seen on the streaming platforms Tubi TV, Amazon Prime, YouTube Movies and Google Play.

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We recently connected with indie film producer Mark Stolaroff, who also happens to be the founder of No Budget Film School. He chatted with us about his latest flick, The Last Days of Capitalism.

Who?
The Last Days of Capitalism was written and directed by Adam Mervis, the screenwriter of 21 Bridges (which was produced by the Russo Brothers and starred Chadwick Boseman), and National Champions (starring J.K. Simmons, Uzo Aduba, Timothy Olyphant, and many others). Unlike those studio films, Last Days was made on a micro-budget ($40k) and produced by long-time indie producer Mark Stolaroff (the founder of No Budget Film School) and Kenny Harrison, who was a classmate of Adam’s at Florida State University. The cast of two is comprised of veteran actor Mike Faiola (Awkward) and newcomer Sarah Harper. It was shot by AFI grad Bethany Michalski and edited by filmmaker David Au. The music was scored and collected by Alexander Burke, co-founder of the band Magnolia Memoir. This was Adam’s feature directorial debut. It was released by Indie Rights Movies. 

What?
Last Days is about a wealthy man who has been holed up high above Las Vegas in a penthouse hotel room for nearly a month, clearly suffering from some unnamed trauma. His night with a mysterious young woman turns into several nights, as he discovers that she is more than a match for him intellectually. She, too, is intrigued and while she initially stays because he is paying her, the two begin a complex relationship that could turn into something more than just lustful desire. But both have secrets, and getting to the bottom of those—without the inevitability of money getting in the way—will be a challenge. Despite the title, Last Days is NOT a political film. 

Where?
Last Days was shot in 10 days in Las Vegas, entirely in a penthouse hotel room high above the city. We had no permits to shoot in the room, and somehow managed to sneak all our equipment up the elevator without anyone asking any questions. I mean, it’s Vegas, and a lot of crazy stuff happens there, so I don’t think anyone cared. The cast and crew drove up from Los Angeles, where everyone is based. We loaded Adam’s brother’s Suburban up with gear and caravanned to Vegas. 

When?
The film is set in the present and was shot in September 2019. It was completed in March 2020 and premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival, right before COVID shut everything down. It ended up playing a number of film festivals—virtually—winning several awards. It was released by Indie Rights Movies in November 2021. It is currently 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. 

Why?
Director Adam Mervis got what he likes to call “The Typical Hollywood Screenwriter Treatment” on 21 Bridges, where the writer (and original creator) of the film has no control over the project. He wanted to make something that was entirely his own, so he adapted a play he’d written for the screen, something that could be made on a small enough budget that he wouldn’t get stopped from making it. 

How?
The Last Days of Capitalism can currently be seen on Amazon Prime, Google Play, and YouTube.  

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We recently connected with genre actor/producer Jeff Kirkendall on Twitter and were lucky to be able to chat with him about Return to Splatter Farm, an indie horror flick that he wrote and co-directed.

Who?
Return to Splatter Farm is a sequel to the 1987 movie Splatter Farm. That original film was produced by brothers John and Mark Polonia, along with their friend Todd Smith. I wrote the first draft of Return to Splatter Farm, and Mark Polonia added additional material which was included in the final shooting script. The two of us co-directed, while Mark handled the bulk of the camera work, as well as the editing chores. Prior to this production, I had appeared in numerous feature films Mark had directed for his company Polonia Brothers Entertainment (PBE).

The Return to Splatter Farm main cast was made up of many PBE regulars, including Danielle Donahue, Marie DeLorenzo, Nico Bryant, Tim Hatch, James Kelly, James Carolus, Ken Van Sant, Jennie Russo, Jamie Morgan, Drew Patrick, and popular model/scream queen Mel Heflin. I starred as (an older version of) the character Jeremy, who was the killer in the original 1987 film. The DVD and streaming distribution was handled by Wild Eye Releasing, a company that has released many past PBE movies.

What?
The original 1987 film was about twin brothers who spend a summer with their eccentric aunt on a rural Pennsylvania farm, unaware that her handyman Jeremy is a serial killer who stores the body parts of his victims in the barn. In Return to Splatter Farm a distant relative named Bobbi inherits the farm and travels there with some friends to determine what to do with the place. On the way they stop at a general store where some locals discourage them from visiting the place, calling it the “Death Farm”, referring to the unsolved murders which occurred there over 30 years ago. But the group doesn’t heed the warnings and continue on their way. Little do they know that a now grown-up Jeremy still resides at the old farmhouse, and that he has dispatched countless unlucky folks over the years. And keeping with his murderous tendencies, he now hunts down Bobbi and her friends one by one. Can the local sheriff save them? And will anyone survive?

Where?
As mentioned, the story takes place at a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse. Our goal was to find a place that resembled the location used in the original film as closely as possible. And fortunately, Mark was able to locate such a farm not too far from where he lives in Wellsboro, PA. The outside of the building was very similar looking to the one in the original movie, and also the owner hadn’t lived there in awhile, which suited our needs perfectly. And we had many other buildings (barns, storage sheds, etc.) and open fields to work with as well. For all but one afternoon (when we filmed the store scene) the cast and crew were at that farm location.

When?
Return to Splatter Farm takes place approximately 33 years after the events of the first movie. We filmed the sequel over a week during Summer 2019, and it was released in the United States on DVD and various pay streaming platforms in November 2020. Following this, it went on to play on the free streaming channel Tubi. There is even a VHS version available for collectors of that format.

Why?
I had previously directed several of my own short films and features, and as mentioned acted in many PBE movies. Mark Polonia and I were on a break during the filming of his feature Amityville Exorcism, and I asked him if he would ever consider producing a sequel to Splatter Farm. He said he would and shared some ideas. It turned out his ideas were similar to my own, so when I returned home from Pennsylvania I began working on a script. I surprised him with the finished draft a few months later and he really liked it. And a couple of years later we went into production together on it.

I was motivated to write Return to Splatter Farm because of my admiration for the first film. It has become an indie horror cult classic over the years, and I thought it was amazing that three teenagers with minimal resources could not only produce a feature back in the 1980’s, but also get it distributed nationally on VHS as well. Splatter Farm is a quintessential home-made, shot-on-video (SOV) example of what can be done with sheer determination and lots of imagination. And as for story, it is a compelling tale mixed with potent shock value that keeps one watching from beginning to end.

I wanted this sequel to be an entertaining standalone slasher movie, as well as a plausible continuation of the story. This was achieved by bringing a fun group of characters to the old farmhouse for a legitimate reason, where Jeremy is alive and well. For viewers new to the franchise it will be something of a mystery who the killer is, whereas fans will know his identity and have an idea what he’s up to. And speaking of kill scenes, I intentionally wrote each one to be as unique and different as I could in order to make the movie fresh and memorable. My personal favorite moments include one where Jeremy makes use of a flare gun, and a scene involving an 80’s boombox. And I would also mention there are several nods to famous 1980’s slasher films sprinkled throughout the movie. This was done because I’m a big fan of the genre and the films of that decade in particular, and I’m hoping other fans will enjoy these moments as well.

How?
Our film Return to Splatter Farm can be seen on the streaming platforms Tubi TV, Amazon Prime, Vimeo and Google Play, among other places. It is also available on DVD and VHS from various major retailers.

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We had the pleasure of connecting with Peter Kondra and Mikael Schallock, the producers and co-directors of the indie drama/dark comedy Good Old Friends. Learn more about their dark comedy/drama that took more than 4 years to make.

Who?
The independent film Good Old Friends was produced and directed by Mikael Schallock and Peter Kondra. It marks their directorial debut and first feature length film as producers. Kondra created the story and penned the script. Schallock tended to camera and editing. Andrej Vickers was cast for the third leading role playing Marc. Given our limited resources, we were constantly jumping back and forth from acting to directing. It was a minimalist approach that was at times overwhelming but also felt liberating.  Our cast was rounded out by the wonderfully talented actors Ronja Klatt, Marie Céline Yildirim, Haydar Türkoglu, Anna Rosa Braun and Martin Herden. The legendary actor/filmmaker Ulli Lommel, famous for The Boogeyman and his many collaborations with Andy Warhol and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, makes an unexpected voice cameo at the beginning of the film. Ultimately, after winning six awards at four international film festivals, we were delighted to find worldwide distribution with Indie Rights Movies based in Los Angeles, CA.

What?
Here’s the short synopsis: Mike (Mikael Schallock) is an actor from Los Angeles and visits his old college friends, the drug dealer Pete (Peter Kondra) and the office worker Marc (Andrej Vickers), in Berlin after five years. It quickly becomes clear how their lives have changed so much that they all can’t quite find their way back to each other. During the drug and booze fueled festivities at Marc’s apartment, a harmless prank devolves into the tragic death of one the friends. The remaining two have to figure out how to dispose of the body in order to avoid jailtime. They set out on a roadtrip driving a VW Beatle, with their friend’s body in the trunk, and scour the Berlin nightscape in hopes of putting their huge problem to rest. During their odyssey, what’s left of their friendship is put to the test.

Where?
Most of the film was made in Berlin. The intention from the beginning was to show as much of Berlin as possible. The film was shot mainly in two locations. The first half takes place in Marc’s apartment, which is really Peter Kondra’s place. The second half essentially takes place in Marc’s VW Beatle, which was actually Mikael Schallock’s mother’s car. The finale of the film takes place at a lake outside Berlin, but we actually shot this scene in Poland for practical reasons. The quiet location of the lake was extremely important to us and we found the perfect motif in the region of Borne Sulinowo in Poland.

When?
The first take was shot in Poland in the summer of 2016, where we shot the finale of the film first. Due to unforeseen interruptions, the shoot dragged on until the middle of 2019. For the most part, we were only able to start shooting in the evenings after our other commitments. In exchange, we started editing immediately afterwards and were able to complete it in early 2020. The film was immediately submitted to international film festivals. It first won an award in Prague in October 2020, followed by further nominations and awards in the USA, Cannes, Sweden, Japan and Slovakia. The VoD release for American audiences was in September 2021 on Amazon Prime, followed by Tubi TV, Google Play and Youtube. Additional releases on Amazon Prime have already appeared in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Why?
Mikael and Peter worked together as actors and assistant directors for the controversial filmmaker Ulli Lommel (The Boogeyman, films with Andy Warhol and Rainer Werner Fassbinder) until his unfortunate passing in Dec. 2017. Lommel encouraged us to make our own feature film. The idea for Good Old Friends was Peter’s brain child. He recalled from his mid-thirties how friendships at the time were falling apart. The film was supposed to portray the disintegration of friendships and the viewer is encouraged to think about their own friendships. The three main characters were meant to be as different as possible. Mike, the actor from L.A., is generally looked up to. Marc has a regular 9-5 office job like millions of others. And Pete portrays the drug dealer who manuevers on the fringes of society. Emotions like envy and jealousy play against the goodwill and joy you see in friends. In addition, it was important to incorporate the city of Berlin and its landmarks into the film. That’s why you see the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz and so much more of Berlin in Good Old Friends.

How?
Our film Good Old Friends can be found on the video on demand platforms Tubi TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Youtube. A DVD/Blu-ray release is currently not planned.

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In the past we have spotlighted the indie horror flick Char Man from producer/director Kipp Tribble. Recently, we got the chance to exchange messages about the new horror film he produced and co-wrote titled The Stay.

Who?
Myself and Scott Hamm wrote and produced the film, with Scott making his directorial debut. Charles Huddleston was our other producer as well as our cinematographer. Scott and I both also star in the film, alongside Nija Okoro, Rob Mayes, and Michele Martin. We also had a fantastic crew and would like to put a spotlight on Robert Felsted, Jr., Ezequiel Garcia Lopez, Ryan Bounphasaysol, and Jaclyn Lopez. They were rockstars during production and we couldn’t have done this without them. In the end, we were happy to receive several offers for distribution, and ultimately assigned North American rights to Gravitas Ventures. Distribution for the rest of the world is being handled by Cardinal XD.

What?
Here is the short synopsis… When Hayden (Scott Hamm) realizes his marriage to Misha (Michele Martin) is slowly falling apart, he organizes a secluded couples’ weekend with best friend, Chris (Rob Mayes), and his wife, Nora (Nija Okoro). Though it starts off as a relaxing getaway, they soon encounter an odd caretaker named Bo-Lee (Kipp Tribble) on the property. The vacationing group become increasingly suspicious of Bo-Lee and his possible sinister motives, all while a dangerous secret begins to surface.

Where?
About 90% of the film takes place at a secluded Airbnb style rental. It is surrounded by hiking trails and open property, all tended to by the caretaker, Bo-Lee. In reality, we actually filmed at three different locations. The main house was in Aqua Dulce, California, a bit north of Los Angeles, and that had the house, barn, trailer, and horses you see in the movie. The hiking scenes were filmed on a different property not too far from that location. And the scenes set at Hayden’s house and Chris’ garage/backyard, were both filmed at Scott’s mom’s house a few miles south of Los Angeles.

When?
We filmed the movie in early 2020… as in the first day of filming was on January 2nd! There was a very tight window for when everyone would be available, so we braved the cold temperatures and went to work, finishing up near the end of the second week of January. Thankfully we got the film in the can and into post production before the world shut down in March of 2020, but the pandemic did delay our post process a bit. The film was released for rent or purchase in North America on March 16, 2021, and just became available on Amazon Prime on June 18th. Our international release is coming soon.

Why?
The original idea for the story started because Scott had rented an Airbnb, and thought the process was so easy that you could just rent a property and pretty much do anything in it without prying eyes. Scott and I had worked on a couple of films previously and were looking to do another one together, particularly in the thriller genre. So he came to me with this idea and an outline of characters that are like people most of us know or have in our lives. They were relatable and so were some of the issues they were dealing with… whether it be relationship trouble, unsuccessful attempts at becoming parents, general insecurities, jealousy, or even dealing with an inappropriate weirdo. We set about building a script based on those initial ideas, while leaning into the thriller aspects.

How?
People can find The Stay for rent through most cable VOD services, as well as streaming services such as Prime, FandangoNow, Vudu, iTunes/AppleTV, GooglePlay, YouTube Movies, Hoopla, Microsoft Xbox, Vimeo, and more. It is also available on DVD through online stores such as Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Best Buy, etc.

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Filmmaker Jeremy Guy talked to us about his debut feature documentary Purdah, which he directed, produced, and shot between 2011 and 2018.

Who?
Purdah follows the remarkable and passionate young women of the Mirza family in Mumbai, India. Kaikasha, Heena, and Saba each have dreams for their personal lives and careers, but they clash with the rigid views of their father and their conservative Muslim community. Kaikasha desperately wants to become a professional cricketer in a community where women playing sports is forbidden. Saba and Heena want to become an actress and a singer, but their father stands in the way of their careers, believing that women should not work.

The film was directed and shot by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Guy and made with a small but mighty team. Purdah was edited by Anisha Acharya and Salman Syed. Sound design by Sung Rok Choi. Composed by Marcello De Francisci.

What?
Purdah is the inspiring documentary about Kaikasha Mirza trading her burka for dreams of playing on the Mumbai Senior Women’s Cricket Team and how the harsh realities for women in her country creates an unexpected outcome for her own family, ultimately shattering and fueling aspirations. The film was called a “real-life Bend It Like Beckham” by NPR, is 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and was named to film critic Marie Asner’s list of the “Best Independent Films of 2019.”

Where?
This documentary takes place in Mumbai, India. Much of the footage occurs within the conservative Muslim enclaves of Mumbai where the Mirza family lives, but the film takes you on a journey across the metropolis from the skyscrapers, to the slums, to famous cricket grounds.

When?
Filming spanned six years, with the first shots coming in early 2011 during the lead up to the World Cup of Cricket that was being hosted in India. Since many dramatic events occurred in the lives of the Mirza family, the filming continued for several more years in order to tell the full story.

Why?
The young women of the Mirza family have a remarkable story to tell that is inspiring and full of perseverance. When we heard Kaikasha talk about wanting to remove her burka and become the first Muslim woman to ever make the Mumbai Senior Women’s Cricket Team, we were all fascinated and inspired by her and wanted to help her tell her story on screen. We then met the rest of the Mirza family and were captivated by Kaikasha’s charming sisters and became invested in their journeys for self-determination. In talking to viewers at screenings for Purdah, many people have mentioned that the film allowed them to understand and empathize with people across the globe who they might never have otherwise even known about, which was very much the goal of the film.

How?
Purdah is available on a number of major platforms. We would love to have you watch the film and let us know what you think with a rating/review!

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My favorite genre of indie films is horror. I always love seeing how inventive filmmakers can be with lower budgets. How will they scare us? Director Mark W. Curran chatted with us about his horror flick Abandoned Dead, which stars horror icon Judith O’Dea from my favorite indie horror flick of all time, Night of the Living Dead.

Who?
It was written, produced and directed by me, Mark W. Curran. It stars scream queen Sarah Nicklin (Sins of Dracula) and Judith O’Dea (Night of the Living Dead). Supporting characters include a creepy caretaker played by Chris Parker and the main antagonist is a psychopathic doctor. This was my first feature film. I shot it in 2015. It was picked up by Gravitas Releasing and enjoyed a US and Canadian release on the streaming platforms. It was then picked up by Indie Rights for the re-release last year, which is the color-enhanced ‘Director’s Cut.’

What?
Abandoned Dead tells the tale of a security guard, trapped in a run-down inner-city medical clinic and terrorized by supernatural forces which threaten to overtake her. It also touches on loneliness, alienation and the fallout from childhood abuse.

Where?
It was filmed in scattered locations around LA, but the main part of the movie was actually filmed in an old medical clinic in Artesia. It was really a creepy place. I think there were rats in the attic. Sometimes late at night some of the crew said they saw ghosts. I didn’t see any, but I suppose that doesn’t mean they aren’t there!

When?
We made it in 2015 and it was released in 2016. We shot it on weekends over a 6-week period. We had a very small cast and crew. All of the people on the set with the exceptions of the lead actresses were working on their first feature.

Why?
I’ve made some short films and shot some commercials and always wanted to do a feature. Having worked as a security guard when I was younger, I’d experienced some odd and scary things, namely on double shifts late at night walking through abandoned buildings my mind would play tricks on me. I always thought it would be cool to write it into a movie, and when the location became available to shoot in, I wrote the script based on some of those experiences.

How?
You can watch Abandoned Dead for free on Tubi TV. Click the link below or search on the app for “Abandoned Dead.”

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