When we heard about a 3D feature film which is being planned in London we thought we'd find out more. Here is our interview with Producer Brent McPherson from Stretch Productions, who has travelled all the way from New Zealand to start working on the production of Silent Fear, which will feature Deaf characters on screen using BSL! Here he tells us all about his project.
Tell us about Silent Fear. What's it about?
The premise is:
When you can’t hear……death comes silently.
What happens in the film?
Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at London's (fictitious) Wandsworth University for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Her investigation coincides with a student contracting a deadly flu virus, which results in the university being sealed off from the outside world.
When more Deaf students are murdered, it’s clearly the work of a serial killer. The stakes rise when Valerie becomes the killer’s next target and the deadly virus claims more lives.
The virus virtually shuts down the entire country, sending shockwaves through the entire population and stranding thousands of Brits abroad when the UK's borders are closed.
I am working with Ronel Schodt, of Shotz Productions, and we are aiming to shoot Silent Fear on location in London as a likely 3D production in 2014.
Why is the film being made in the UK?
Initially, we wanted to film in New Zealand, but we believe Silent Fear to be more suited to a UK setting. Certainly it will be more cinematographic to show the mix of old and modern architecture and buildings that London has to offer.
Additionally, the UK Deaf community is more culturally diverse and in terms of casting, it will be easier to source suitable extras in London.
The London setting allowed the screenwriters to include Scotland Yard in the investigation of the murders, making the film more high-concept, more compelling to audiences and more attractive to A-list directors and stars.
Silent Fear is shaping up to be a big budget production and we are approaching experienced British producers to help get this ambitious undertaking across the line (producer enquiries are welcome!).
Does it help that the sign language is similar to New Zealand?
Wandsworth University is an international learning institution with Deaf students and staff of various nationalities and cultures from around the world.
There are some instances where these people use native sign language, but for our lead actors and supporting Deaf/Hard of Hearing actors it will primarily be BSL.
Who is acting in it?
We are about to target 'name' actors for the main roles. They need to be A-list to greenlight, or finance, an ambitious film like this.
Usually, the director makes important casting decisions. As for Deaf supporting actors to work alongside the lead actors, that's also ahead of us. We have done some preliminary research on this and it’s likely I will work closely with the director to entice experienced Deaf actors.
As for extras, we will probably need around 100 Deaf/Hard of Hearing actors as students to transform the shoot location into a university. I will need to directly liaise with appropriate people to find actors, BSL tutors, BSL coaches, BSL interpreters (and those from other countries as well) just to name a few.
How did you get funding?
Silent Fear is in the late development stage and we are poised to begin packaging the film. The first step will be to secure our director and stars. Then we will approach film financiers, investors and film distributors to arrange finance and distribution.
It's very likely we will require studio involvement as Silent Fear is no low budget Indie (independent) film. It’s shaping up to be a blockbuster! It will be a superb opportunity to showcase sign language for a worldwide audience.
Have you worked with any UK filmmakers on the film?
We have yet to approach anyone from the UK, but will soon be reaching out to experienced UK film producers to collaborate with us on this unique production.
An official UK-New Zealand co-production is one obvious possibility for this film. It's likely we will attach a UK director to helm Silent Fear, though we remain open to an A-list director from outside Britain.
What are your hopes for the final film?
My ultimate dream is for Silent Fear is to see it become a genuine blockbuster, filling theatre seats with Deaf and hearing audiences around the world (a Best Film Oscar wouldn't be bad either!).
It's also my fervent desire that this film will showcase sign language internationally as a tool to raise our culture and language.
It has been pointed out to me that I could potentially become the first Deaf producer to produce a studio feature film. That's exciting.
I would love to present workshops for Deaf directors and producers on how to be involved in the commercial world of producing films. How satisfying it would be, to see Deaf directors/producers grow and prosper within Hollywood circles!
You can see a 'teaser' for Silent Fear by clicking here.