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In 19th Century Scotland, illicit whisky smuggling was rife across the Highlands. Life was hard for an officer of the Excise.
In 19th Century Scotland, illicit whisky smuggling was rife across the Highlands. Life was hard for an officer of the Excise.
79 backers pledged £4,010 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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What is Peat Reek?

Peat Reek is a short film set in the Highlands of Scotland in the early 19th Century. James: a young Customs and Excise officer is dispatched to a remote highland community in order to prevent and reduce the illegal distillation of white spirit: Peat-reek.

Upon his arrival he meets and begins an unsteady relationship with the local Presbyterian minister: Lachlan; a man who appears to have no opposition to the illegality of the distillation practise. In conversation with Lachlan in his dimly lit home, James attempts to understand the complacency that Lachlan and the other locals have with the illegal activities that are going on around them. With little government support, James is left vulnerable in a hostile and potentially violent, baron landscape; he ponders the futility of attempts to enforce taxation laws which are disdained and ridiculed both by the people and the local authorities.

I have a vision for a cold and bleak landscape, within which, people experience warmth and enterprise through illegal means. Our protagonist enters the region as an outsider and tries his best to understand the contempt for the law that is deeply ingrained within the community. 

Who am I?

My name is Mike Dziennik. I am an editor who originally trained as an animator and now I work full time at a post-production facility in Covent Garden. I was born and grew up in the Highlands of Scotland - I became interested in whisky a few years ago when I was at university & I read about the 'wild west' like tales of smugglers and illicit whisky distillation in 18th & 19th century Scotland. I knew this was a story that had to be told so I began writing what would eventually become the script for this short film.

My friend and colleague Janis Balodis is an audio mixer who will be generously volunteering his time to record the on-set sound and to mix/edit the soundtrack.

The lead role of 'James' will be played with a very talented actor from the West Lothian region of Scotland called Aaron Stewart.

Aaron Stewart
Aaron Stewart

The supporting role of 'Lachlan' will be played Allan Thornton who resides in the Cromarty & Ross region of the Highlands.

Allan Thornton
Allan Thornton

Where?

The film is set in the early 19th Century. We will be shooting near the famous Speyside region and there will be some shooting in the dramatic landscapes of the West Highlands.

How can I help?

In order to get this project off the ground, we need a modest level of funding. This is to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for the actors; Camera, lenses and lighting rental; equipment insurance and catering.

The post-production costs (edit, online, grade & audio) are effectively zero since these tasks will be covered by myself and my colleague using the edit suites and studios at the facility where I work. This means that basically all the money that you pledge will go towards the production process and the shoot.

Once complete the film will be submitted to Scottish & British film festivals as well as a few select international ones so a small portion of the funding will be used for festival submission.

Rewards?

I have listed several rewards for your generous donations on the right of this page. The funding target is the minimum we need to cover the costs of making this film. Hopefully we can exceed this which will give us more options for festival submission.

Risks and challenges

Risks?
I am a professional editor and I have a great support network of post-production professionals which will ensure a smooth completion to the project. I have written and directed animated films in the past which have received award nominations; this is my first serious attempt at directing a live action short film which is both exciting and intimidating. However, I will be working with some very talented people who are passionate about this project and so I'm sure we will be able to overcome any obstacles with competence and grace.

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    Your will receive an Executive Producer credit on the film which will also be printed on the DVD case. You will receive a DVD or HD Blu-ray copy of the film signed by the cast and crew. You will also receive a personal thank you message recorded on-set by the director and cast.

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    You will receive all of the above plus the flintlock pistol replica that features in the film, signed by the director.

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Funding period

- (30 days)