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Film-maker's labour of love is finished

IT’s not often that the chance arises to enjoy a movie premiere on your doorstep for the princely sum of £3.

IT’s not often that the chance arises to enjoy a movie premiere on your doorstep for the princely sum of £3.

And for that reason – and a few others besides – you should block out a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon and get yourself a ticket for Behind the Scenes of TOTAL HELL.

Made by Northumberland-based film-maker Andy Wilton, his first feature-length offering has been four years in the making, and takes the form of a mockumentary – a spoof documentary – about the making of a low budget horror movie in the North East.

It will be given its first public screening at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema – an apt location, since the popular independent cinema is where the film’s fictional director, the hapless Jamie Gunn, chooses to premiere his horror film, Total Hell.

“Only eight people turn up to his premiere though,” laughed Andy yesterday, “and they all had something to do with the film. We’re hoping for a bit of a better turnout.

“We’re ecstatic to be premiering at the Tyneside Cinema, they’re such a fantastic establishment and the spiritual home of this film.”

The cinema is one of many North East locations used by Andy and his minimal crew during the shoot, which took place over three months in 2005 and 2006.

And although the 28-year-old has many warm and fuzzy memories about the camaraderie and downright laughs that were had on set -–everyone worked for nothing but expenses – he also remembers having to endure some harsh realities. Namely a Northumberland winter.

“When you see the cast sleeping in tents, you can take that as being the reality of the situation,” he said, speaking from his home in Wooler. “It was very, very cold... but the performances have a very real feel about them because of it.

“It was good fun to make – it would have been more fun if I could have paid everyone – but good fun nevertheless.”

Having got the film ‘in the can’ as it were, Andy then had the monumental task of sifting through the 125 hours of footage he had amassed.

“It was tough enough... and then I lost a year’s worth of editing by pressing a wrong button,” he added, shuddering at the memory. “But I got back on with it and I think the film is all the better for it. It forced me to look at everything again.”

Having used his own money to take care of the £1,000 budget, Andy is now turning his attentions to securing a distribution deal for the film.

“I think it’s the kind of film which could get a bit of a cult following. It’s taken us a long time and a lot of work to get here, but we’re very proud of the finished film.”

Behind the Scenes of TOTAL HELL will be screened at the Tyneside Cinema at 3.45pm on Sunday and there’ll be a Q&A afterwards. Call 0845 217 9909 to book. If you can’t make the premiere, the film can be downloaded for £2.50, via the website www.btsoth.co.uk


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