Archive for Derek Melling

More on Ascension, the Premiere and Behind the Screams!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

Following on from my review of the film, I am now going to document the premiere that took place on Sunday, the 30th of June at the Electric Cinema in Birmingham. I am also going to discuss the reception Ascension received at the event as well as the screening of my own Making of Documentary titled Behind The Screams. Firstly I would just like to say how impressed I was with the venue, I’d have to describe the Electric as the comfiest cinema I’ve ever been in. At the back of the room, leather sofas were reserved for the main cast and crew which made it feel like you were in your own living room. The standard seats further down provided plenty of leg room. The entire room seemed refurbished and modernized. Despite it being a small room, it created a more intimate atmosphere as cast, crew and their families sat down to enjoy the days events.

Electric Cinema

Photo by Dave Jeffrey

Director James Hart, Writer Dave Jeffrey and Producer/Editor Richard O’Connor began the premiere by introducing themselves and their roles, then informed the audience of the day’s line-up. We were treated to a screening of Venomous Little Man’s entry into the 666 Shortcuts to Hell competition for the Horror Channel, Six Feet Under. This sick and twisted short was the perfect way to set the audience up for the main feature as it demonstrated the type of material Venomous Little Man produce. It also showcased Mark Rathbone’s acting talent and strong on-screen presence, which is also seen later on in Ascension.  Following another brief introduction from James, Dave and Richard where they thanked all who had been involved in the project, it was now time to view what we were all there for Ascension.

Cast Q&A

Having been fortunate enough to view the film prior to the premiere, I was interested in hearing first time viewers reactions to it, particularly the cast. After the credits rolled, the film received a massive round of applause and all involved seemed impressed by the outcome. Dave and James got the cast up on stage to answer a few questions, the one I particularly remember was if they enjoyed using the prop guns during the shoot! They all emphasized how cold it was on location and how they battled the weather conditions. Exciting news about the company’s future productions were then announced. A raffle was later included and prizes were a signed copy of the poster and a copy of Alt-Zombie.

Following a short break, I was then asked to go on stage to say a few brief words about how I became involved in Ascension and introduce my first film the behind-the-scenes documentary Ascension: Behind The Screams. This was a particularly nerve-wracking experience as I had fought sound issues and several problems during the editing process, however the outcome was better than expected. The film contains the actor interviews available on this blog and my youtube channel as well as the filming of key scenes. I did focus a lot on the gory, zombie eating scene to demonstrate the FX side of things and the direction. There’s a lot of humor within the Making Of, the audience were surprised to see how muddy the location was and the sound did help to highlight the fierce wind that was present throughout the shoot.  Everybody also enjoyed the cameo from the softest guard dog ever on the second location, a lovely wolfhound. As a filmmaker, its natural to be critical of your own work so I am going to potentially revise certain scenes and cut parts for length reasons, some of the transitions seemed a bit rough even though they had been rectified during the editing process. However, on the whole I received some really nice comments from the guests which has filled me with confidence for the future. To see my film up on the big screen did bring a lot of emotions and on the whole I am proud how its turned out. Through being on the set I learned a lot from the crew which I will take on board when I hopefully make my own feature film.  I think the main objective with a Making Of Documentary is to capture the reality of how the film was made and provide a naturalistic feel for the viewers to get a sense of what it was like. Overall I feel I achieved that.

To conclude, I feel very privileged to have been part of Ascension as I have been able to do something I greatly enjoy and have made many new friends.I would particularly like to thank Derek Melling, Dave Jeffrey and James Hart for giving me the opportunity and Ross Hunt for all his help and support in creating the Making Of. I would definitely like to work with these guys again and wish them all the best with the future.

http://www.venomouslittleman.co.uk/

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Advertisements

After Apocalypse: A Review of Ascension (2013)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

**WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS**

“The human race has to adapt, Ascend”- Joe

Image

Ascension (2013) is a British short horror film and the directorial debut of James Hart. The screenplay has been adapted from a short story written by Dave Jeffrey from the anthology Alt-Zombie. Filmed in Redditch, during the cold winter of 2013, Ascension tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic world where survivors are few and far between and puts forward strong ideas of community and a breakdown in modern society, echoing back to the Second World War, with everything on ration and people sticking together through hardship. The film opens with a series of news reel’s depicting the gradual stages of the apocalypse and the decline of humanity. With, fast-paced, slick cuts, these moments set the scene for what’s to come. It also must be noted that the opening is accompanied by a chilling score (composed by Liz Comley) that creates a melancholic tone, greatly adding to the film’s atmosphere.

We are then introduced to Ascension’s protagonists Joe (Derek Melling) and Annie (Jacky Fellows), two survivors who are determined to find others to bring back a sense of community spirit  (“The Blakewell Spirit”). In a time of crisis the characters still manage to maintain a sense of humor, which is seen throughout the film and is an example of the witty writing in Jeffrey’s script. Our protagonists are joined by Tom (Laurence Saunders) before setting off into the wilderness in the hope of finding others. The characters share a believable dynamic and its clear there is a strong bond and trust between them. On their search they come across brother and sister Alex (Debbie Nicholls), Carl (Sam Knight) and their leader Eddie (Mark Rathbone) who appears as the main antagonist. In a Western-style stand off the characters attempt to convince each other they can be trusted which keeps the audience on the edge-of-their-seats and allows for some intense and confrontational moments as well as ambiguity, nothing is clear cut in regards to who are the good guys and who are the bad? Without revealing anymore, the film concludes with a shocking and heart-wrenching twist that is sure to leave the audience satisfied.

Ascension Image

Ascension sets itself apart from other texts within the Zombie sub-genre in several ways. Its a very character-driven piece and develops each individual well, providing a lot of empathy for them. The actors are all brilliantly cast and put a lot of heart into the material. It gets the audience on a psychological level, questioning how we ourselves would react if in the same situation and allows an understanding of the motives involved. Another interesting aspect is the film isn’t overly gory and doesn’t feature many zombies which differentiates it in a major way, proving that horror can work well as a backdrop with high drama as the main focus. Isolation is a key theme and its represented well through the location. It could be said that Ascension is the coldest zombie film out there due to the weather conditions the cast and crew worked in! There is some stunning cinematography, particularly the aerial shots near the beginning. For a thirty minute film, Ascension manages to convey a lot but still leaves you wanting more which demonstrates that its done its job. To conclude, Ascension is an emotionally-charged, good humored horror story, with well written characters, strong actors, breathtaking cinematography and good direction. Venomous Little Man Productions should be proud of their efforts and hopefully have more wonderful work to come.

Hayley Alice Roberts.

Ascension: The Interviews #1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

ascension2In the run up to Ascension’s premiere on June 30th I have decided to unveil a series of interviews taken from my upcoming Making Of Documentary. Here, I interview Derek Melling who plays the lead character Joe. Thank you to everyone at Venomous Little Man Productions for all your support. I am hoping to post an interview every other day so keep your eyeballs peeled!

The music in the video is called Ascension Song and is composed by horror enthusiast and fan Flo Schwingshandl which will be heard more in the behind-the-scenes featurette.

**Note: Apologies for the spelling mistake at the beginning of the video**

ascension1Hayley Alice Roberts

ASCENSION Teaser Trailer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

704607_516225645062556_722168598_o

Here is a sneak peak from the Ascension film, in a brand new teaser trailer. I am currently working on some behind-the-scenes footage for the piece, so watch this space over the next few months!!

Until then…

Hayley Alice Roberts.

After Zombies? The Ascension Film Project

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on January 28, 2013 by Hayley's Horror Reviews

I have had a busy weekend in Redditch providing coverage and filming some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage for up and coming zombie film Ascension. Back in early September 2012 I interviewed the film’s writer Dave Jeffrey and director James Hart on their expectations of the project, which can be found here: https://mshayleyr1989.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-zombie-apocalypse-is-coming-an-interview-with-dave-jeffery-and-the-crew-of-ascension/

704607_516225645062556_722168598_o

Since the interview, they have heavily promoted the film with various teaser newsreel’s to gradually generate interest in the film, a link for their facebook page will be provided below in order to view these. I was privileged to be invited on set by lead actor Derek Melling (who plays Joe) to conduct interviews with the main cast and showcase what its really like to create a horror film. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working on Ascension through getting an insight into horror filmmaking and met some truly fantastic people from the industry. Despite weather conditions (heavy snow!) and a few mishaps (getting covered in mud and blood sticking to my hair!), the majority of filming went smoothly and I am pleased with the outcome of my footage. Later this year I will be editing it all together to create a making of/promo around the film’s release, which at the moment is top secret, however I may gradually upload the cast interviews so you can all find out a little bit more about the character-driven, horror piece that is Ascension.

I am grateful to Derek, Dave and James for the opportunity. Also, I’d like to thank Ross Hunt for helping me out with filming and getting some great photo’s of the shoot! Much appreciated.

Ascension Shoot 011

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/project.ascension?ref=ts&fref=ts

Hayley Alice Roberts.