I’m Neil Monaghan.
Once upon a time I worked for former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, making video diaries and writing blogs during three General Election campaigns.
Nowadays I'm a writer, director and producer working in both theatre and film.
As a playwright I was commissioned by Alan Ayckbourn four times for plays staged at his theatre, the Stephen Joseph. My play 100 won a fringe first before a sell-out West End run, while my controversial play EYE CONTACT starring Kelly Brook was front page news with its uncompromising look at the strip club industry.
I also wrote the comedy MADE IN ROMANIA starring Jason Flemyng, Jennifer Tilly, Danny Huston and Elizabeth Hurley.
I have written several award-winning short films and my latest has been snapped up by a number of international film festivals. AN UNKIND WORD will screen at Idyllwild in March while the film was nominated for best short film at the CRISSF in New York.
I’ve teamed up with producer-director Ben Pickering, who after his own short-lived political career has been making movies on and off for more than twenty years.
In June 2018 he released the world’s first fully crowd-investor funded film, WELCOME TO CURIOSITY, a psychological thriller starring Richard Blackwood (EASTENDERS’ Vincent) and Amrita Acharia (Irri from GAMES OF THRONES). Before that he turned the British crime thriller on its head with THE SMOKE, starring Matt di Angelo (HUSTLE), Stephen Marcus (Nick the Greek in LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) and Alan Ford (Bricktop in SNATCH).
Between us we’ve worked on films with budgets from £6,000 to £2½ million.
But for our next project we want to try something a bit different.
It’s called ELECTION NIGHT.
It's a horror movie, set in London on election night.
Think ABIGAIL’S PARTY meets THE PURGE.
And with polarised politics on both sides of the Atlantic, it's a movie with a message that couldn't be any more relevant.
The Britain of ELECTION NIGHT is a society where the public has grown cynical about the establishment and traditional politicians.
Many believe in a new optimism coming from a revitalised left. But threatening to spoil the party is a new populist far-right movement headed by a former newspaper baron.
Our film is set on the night of the election as five liberal-minded friends gather to watch the results on television, as politicos do.
It's a drink-fuelled night that could be a huge celebration. But outside far-right supporters are rioting and claiming a rigged election.
And then there's a knock on the door. Three people desperately seek shelter from the violence. It's only when the visitors are welcomed in that they show their true colours.
As the tight election result turns in favour of the far-right, the visitors seize control.
Suddenly we're into a full-on home-invasion movie, with the far-right acting out their new policies of violence and hate towards the establishment.
The film plays out a microcosm of the horrors our world could face if society stays as politically messed up as it is today.
ELECTION NIGHT is a pressure-cooker of a movie, a story that's crying out to be told.
A tense thriller.
A violent, bloody horror.
And a call to arms to the political dangers that lie ahead for all of us.
Where did ELECTION NIGHT come from?
We live in interesting times, as the Chinese curse goes.
The world is becoming ever more politically divided, but the ideological rift is not split along traditional party lines. More than ever, people are retreating into their political bubbles, a world of black and white and nowhere in-between.
It’s in this environment that I felt compelled to make ELECTION NIGHT. This is a film that explores what Britain might look like if the left and the right can’t find common ground.
I want to make a horror film that uses home invasion movie rhythms, tensions and shocks to explore the issues that are currently tearing our society apart.
The film is set a few years from now and no reference is made to the actual political parties of today. Instead of Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems, we have fictional parties from both right and left struggling for relevance in the shadow of Momentum-style left-wing party and a surging populist far-right movement.
With division so rife – a misinformed, desperate generation could very easily back a charismatic extremist who can manipulate fear. HOUSE OF CARDS’ Frank Underwood has nothing on Dominic Drummond, the ex-newspaper baron and far-right leader who wants to be a very different kind of British Prime Minister.
What’s the plan?
We’ve been preparing ELECTION NIGHT for over a year, completing the script, working on the look and feel, making sure it’s political but not too party political and getting the budget right. We also completed our first day of filming at the anti-Trump rally in central London in July, footage which will feature in the final film.
In September, we started pre-production and put out a casting call through Spotlight. We’ve had almost 7,000 applicants from actors and actresses (many of whom you will recognise from their other work), all keen to be involved in telling this story. We’ve begun the difficult task of shortlisting and will be conducting auditions and screen tests in London in a few weeks’ time.
But we've already attached Sean Cronin - best known for usually villainous turns in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH, THE MUMMY and most recently MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION - to play the evil invader Thorn.
We’ve secured Director of Photography Mark Caldwell and are now hiring other Heads of Department – art department, costume design, make-up, fight co-ordinator and so on – so that once this campaign closes we’re ready to shoot!
If we’re able to raise £15,000 through Kickstarter, we can shoot the entire film by the end of February, have it finished by the end of the summer and release it in the autumn.
How much will it cost to make?
ELECTION NIGHT’s overall budget is £50,000
I'm so passionate about this project that I'm able to cover up to £25,000 of that myself and we’ll be able to reclaim £10,000 from HMRC through the Film Tax Credit.
That leaves a shortfall of £15,000.
Or put another way, 1,000 supporters pledging to buy the DVD of ELECTION NIGHT now.
We've put together a package of perks for supporters to match all pockets, ranging from a DVD or Blu-ray of the final film through to VIP visits to set or even an Associate Producer credit.
With that £15,000 we can make the film and get it on the shelves at HMV and the supermarkets by next autumn, along with Amazon Prime, iTunes and GooglePlay. (We already have a UK DVD and VOD distribution deal – all we need to do is deliver the film!) We can also bring in PR specialists to make sure everyone’s talking about it.
And with an extra £10,000, we can get it onto UK cinema screens through OurScreen.com and onto the festival circuit too.
How can we make such an ambitious film for such a small budget?
For a micro-budget film of this ambitious scale, it’s impossible to pay people the going industry rate. But our cast and crew have bills to pay while helping us deliver this project and we don’t want them to be out of pocket.
With a small cast and stripped-down crew we can make an intimate, claustrophobic movie that can be not only a critical but a commercial success.
However low budget does not mean low quality.
Our team already own an 8K Red Epic W camera (used by the likes of David Fincher for THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO and Ridley Scott on PROMETHEUS) along with an array of grip equipment. This hugely reduces the film’s budget.
Because 95% of the film is set in one location, we won’t be wasting time (and money) on unit moves. We’ll be able to invest in the set, the props, the stunts and special effects.
The other 5% of the film is set in a virtual television studio, which we’ll shoot before the rest of the film (between now and January 2019). This will be shot using green screen. We’ll then create a virtual newsroom around our actors, just like they do on the BBC and ITV news for real. Our team includes highly qualified CG artists so these scenes will look particularly spectacular but won’t impact our budget.
Taken together, this is how we can shoot this film in just 18 days.
Why do we care?
It's a long time since the world was as divided as it seems today.
Perhaps a hundred years even.
Whether it's Trump in America, the rise of extremism in South America, mainland Europe or closer to home, politics is more polarised than ever.
It's a powder keg just waiting to go off.
And when it does...
Please share this project with your friends and family.
With those who share your political views. And those who don't.
Because ELECTION NIGHT is a film that goes beyond horror.
After all, it's a scary world we now live in.
Risks and challenges
With a huge amount of collective experience in the industry, our senior production team are specialists in making very high quality, commercially viable films for a fraction of the budget spent by the studios.
Our team have spent their careers delivering films punching well above their budget, with well-known casts, set in multiple countries and with soundtracks including Grammy-nominated artists.
We've also had to learn the hard way, from the contract that wasn't signed to the location that won't allow you back to do reshoots, from the anticipated crisis to the circumstances outside of your control.
No film is easy to make. It can often feel like a constant battle. But that's what projects are. And we have learned as much from our mistakes as our successes.
We have a record of delivery, often under the most difficult of circumstances. We are good communicators and will keep our backers and supporters honestly appraised throughout.
But with our no-nonsense approach to filmmaking, tight but realistic reign on the budget and an overwhelming commercial perspective, we know we can make this exciting project a reality.
We just need a little help to get over the line.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)