Heard the one about the indie filmmaker who didn't try a crowdfunding campaign to get his movie off the ground? No, me neither, usually. That is, until Spencer Hawken got in touch to tell me about his film Death Walks, currently fully crewed up and shooting in Romford, Essex and no sir I'm not going to ask you for a penny of your hard-earned cash.
If there's anything that might quell the joy of seeing a determined director get his film into reality, it's the possibility of another low-budget zombie movie, but Spencer has that covered. He says, "It's my view that zombie horror films are dull and uninteresting, so I wanted to get something that was very much en-vogue, but twist it on its head. I've not had a scare or as much as an unpleasant reaction to a horror movie for years, so I figured that it would need to be so out there, it would need to make me as a viewer go "Oh God!" Hence where I am now!"
I pressed him on how he's going to make it different, but he's remaining tight-lipped for the moment, only offering a brief synopsis of the film: "It's the dead of night, security let an injured girl into the centre, this act of kindness leads to the arrival of a familiar, but very different terror. Imagine John Carpenter's The Fog, Dawn Of The Dead, Cherry Tree Lane, and Eden Lake all kind of mixed into an incredibly weird and shocking synergy."
What is impressive with this project is that it kicked off just eight weeks ago and is now 70% complete, with Spencer having offers to buy from interested parties before a shot was made. Rather than crowd-funding, Spencer took the approach of 'resource-funding' where everyone on set has given their time for the cause. "Essentially we pooled our resources together, whether we were camera, production, performers, sound etc. then we went out to the community and asked for further help." explains Spencer, "What we achieved in return was The Mercury Mall a large shopping centre, make-up team, some well known British performers, and a massive following and support in the community of Romford, Essex where the movie is being shot.
I honestly believe nobody has ever tackled a zero budget movie of this scale before, the centre including back corridors, cinema, supermarkets, shops, nightclub, communal external area, multi-storey car park, gardens, rooftops gives us an epic 3 and a quarter mile shooting location. Our cast and crew all have returned for multiple shoots and now exceed 400 people.
I really think we are going to do something truly historic with this film."
I really hope you do, Spencer. In the meantime, check out the Death Walks Facebook page, where you can view behind the scenes and production stills, plus some rough-cut trailers for the film. This could be one to keep an eye on.
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