CONGRATULATIONS and THANKS!!
On Saturday evening, 7th September, we hit our target of £19,700 about 26 hours before the campaign was due to close. Congratulations and thanks to all our backers for this amazing achievement. The Judas Curse will now be made. It will be your film.
So what happens in the remaining hours?
You can still pledge and claim the available rewards right up to when the campaign finishes at 10 pm on Sunday, 8th September (today).
So what will be done with the extra money?
Once we have paid the Kickstarter fees and allowed for the money we need to spend on the various rewards, the DVDs, books, photos, and so on, we expect to have around £15,000 on which to make the film itself. This was the lowest budget we could work out without compromising quality.
However, there are still many things we can do with any extra money that will significantly improve our chances of getting The Judas Curse a theatrical release to compete with the vastly bigger budget studio films. One of these, for example, is using 5.1 surround sound. And there are many other things like that we can take advantage of in post-production to greatly increase the quality of the film.
Our pledge to you all is that all the money pledged through Kickstarter, after fees and the costs of providing the rewards has been deducted, will be spent on improving the quality of the film to as much as we can afford to do. And the more profit the film makes, the more we are able to spend making further films on the island of Symi. And of course the more successful the film is globally, the greater will be the benefits to Symi as a tourism destination.
So please continue to join us as backers until the gate closes at 10 pm (UK time) on Sunday, 8th September.
And a huge thank you to everyone who has already backed us. This film is your film!
WHAT WE'RE DOING
The money raised through this Kickstarter campaign will finance the making of a feature-length horror film called The Judas Curse. If the campaign succeeds in reaching the target, the film will be shot on the Greek island of Symi in October 2013 and released in the first half of 2014.
We are delighted to announce that rising British acting talent Kurtis Stacey (Emmerdale) and Rebecca Grant (Holby City, Prisoners' Wives) will be joining veteran actor Richard Syms and Germany's leading television drama actress Wookie Mayer and British actress Lorna Doyle (The Tudors) in the cast. Please see further down the page for details. More principle cast will be announced shortly.
WHAT'S IN IT FOR YOU
There are many different reasons why you might want to support this project. You might be a fan of horror movies and want to see this film. The Judas Curse is about recreating the feel and vibe of 1970s horror - a dark, dirty detached style of filmmaking that produced such classics as The Exorcist, Jaws, The Omen, and Halloween.
You might already be someone who lives in Symi, or visits regularly, and would like to see a film made there that uses locations you already know and love. You might feel that by supporting a successful film featuring Symi as a 'character' in its own right that you'll be helping the island's economy and giving something back to the community.
Or it might be that you are attracted by the great choice of rewards we're offering in return for a pledge of support (see the column on the right) from those who back this project. If you've ever fancied seeing your name on the end credits of a film, here is your chance. You can even become an exective producer and have your name in the opening titles. If so, we'll fly you to Rhodes, ferry you to Symi, and put you up in a luxury hotel where you can visit the production and watch the film being made. And a whole range of goodies connected with The Judas Curse.
If you back the film - and even if you don't - please consider supporting the project by spreading the word. You can do this very easily by clicking the Facebook and Twitter buttons above, and by embedding the video and/or the totalizer widget card (automatically shows how much support there is) in your Facebook and any other website pages you can. Please pass on the link to this page to all your friends.
WHO'S IN IT
We can't reveal everything yet, but there will be further well known names involved. Those we can reveal are shown lower down. We've got a director who is already attracting attention as a rising star in the horrror genre. We've got one of Germany's leading actresses who also happens to love Symi and visits regularly. We have an actress who was famously caught in bed with Sam Neill by new Superman hunk Henry Cavill in the BBC drama series The Tudors. She also appears in the video at the top of this page.
Just as important as those in front of the camera, or directing, are the crew responsible for all those hundreds of other aspects that come together to make a great film. James Collins, who lives on Symi, is one of the scriptwriters and came up with the original story. Unlike most films, where suitable locations are found to fit the script, The Judas Curse was specially written for the Symi locations, which is why the island is a character in its own right. Michael Bishop, one of the composers of the all-important music, knows Symi well and you'll find the island's special character coming out in his score. And cinematopgrapher Felix Schmilinsky, who worked with the director, Navin Dev, on Red Kingdom Rising (see trailer below), will have the vital task of capturing Symi and the performances of the actors.
Once the film is completed we intend to use our contacts, our previous experience and successes to secure, ideally, a theatrical release. The director, Navin Dev, has just secured a distribution deal in the USA with his latest film Red Kingdom Rising. The executive producer, Chris Hastings, has worked on a number of projects that have had theatrical releases. And we will of course be seeking distribution through DVD and Blu-ray, and the increadingly important Video on Demand (VoD) market.
But we also hope that by the end of 2013 we will have ready a version that we can enter into the various film festivals internationally, as appropriate. This is an important way of building sales interest in any film and can play a significant role in the way it is eventually released.
MORE FILMS ON SYMI
The plan is to re-invest profits from The Judas Curse back into more films, including more on Symi. We can't change the world, but, we can certainly create more stories set in the wonderful variety of locations Symi has to offer. And this in turn has got to be good news for the local economy. A recent survey by the Post Office in the UK found that 19% of Britons had been influenced by films and television shows over their choice of holiday destination and a further 20% were likely to choose a location they had seen on the screen. But it's not just tourism. A film production spends money in the location and it also makes use of what local skills and talents it can find. With unemployment for under 25s in Greece standing at 60% (probably more in the islands) giving young Symiots the chance to acquire skills in the film industry over the next few years must also be good news. A large number of Symi residents are already involved in The Judas Curse and we are very grateful for their support and interest.
In his letter to us, the Mayor of Symi, Elefteris Papakalodoukas, wrote that he welcomed the production coming to Symi and was glad we had chosen the island as the location for the story. And it's worth adding that the Greek Ministry of Culture has also cleared our use of locations in Symi as none of them require special permission or arrangemements other than with any private owners concerned.
Trained at the Drama Centre London, Navin Dev initially focused on theatre directing but moved into film in 2006, writing, producing, and directing his first short, The Falling. His gothic, psychological horror style led him to carve out a niche in the horror genre with films such as Red Hood (2008), awarded Best Foreign Film at the USA’s Washougal International Film Festival, and The Tree Man (2009), awarded Best Film Jury Prize at the 2011 Time Out Critics Choice Puppets on Film Festival. His full length feature, Red Kingdom Rising (2013) was described by Empire’s acclaimed horror columnist Kim Newman as 'nicely dense, imagistic feel and a grasp of the nightmarish.' Screened at Gotham Screen International Film Festival and awarded Audience Choice at the Portobello Film Festival (UK), the film now has a US distribution.
Among cast announced so far are:
Kurtis Stacey is best-known for his two years in Emmerdale where he played swarthy heart-throb farm hand Alex Moss. His character was murdered in a shock storyline last Christmas.
Kurtis was born and grew up in Wavertree, Liverpool, and studied performing arts at Hugh Baird College in Bootle. He achieved triple distinctions in the National Diploma and was signed by theatrical agents, The Narrow Road Company.
He began his television career with small parts in Crimewatch reconstructions, Waterloo Road, and Hollyoaks. Then came the 108 episodes in Emmerdale. Earlier this year Kurtis appeared on Celebrity Mastermind.
Kurtis will be playing the lead role of "Chris" in The Judas Curse.
Executive producer, Chris Hastings, says: “Chris is a phenomenally demanding role and it was absolutely imperative that we found an actor capable of pulling the part off with aplomb.
“And, as strange as it may sound for a supernatural horror film, there are elements of Tom Hanks in Castaway in The Judas Curse, as the character of Chris is isolated on a near deserted island and large parts of the film really rest on his shoulders.
“Although he may start off as an ostensibly average Joe who gradually descends into madness, we needed somebody who looks good on screen, but who can convey a particular darkness beneath the veneer of everyday normality.
“Understandably, it was a terrifically hard part to cast, but Kurtis hit every note and brought an extra dimension to the character. So we are really looking forward to working with him and know we have a real talent on our hands.”
Rebecca Grant is best known for playing series regular Daisha Anderson in BBC1's BAFTA award-winning medical drama Holby City (2008-2010), and Shaheen Wazir in Tiger Aspect's second series of Prisoners Wives (2013). She was awrded "Best Actress in a Lead Role" at the International Filmmakers Festival for World Cinema in an independent movie called Kristina (2007). She has just finished playing the lead in Chakara, a film by Laidback Films starring opposite Ben Richards, Kasia Nossier, and Rez Kempton.
Rebecca has had a succession of compelling and challenging theatrical roles and received many rave reviews in national newspapers. These included Nurse Flynn in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Magic Wanda in Immodesty Blaize and Walter's Burlesque! (2005), Tagores Women for Kali Theatre, and Bombay Dreams, all in the heart of London's West End. She was cast as Viola in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night at The Royal in Northampton then called back a few months later to play the feisty American-Canadian rebel Jean in JB Priestly's The Glass Cage. Throughout her extensive theatrical, film, and television roles she has had the pleasure of working opposite Robert Powell, Patsy Kensit, Christian Slater, Eddie Izzard, and Martin Freeman.
Rebecca is the sister of model Angela Grant and of actress Rachel Grant, who played Bond girl 'Peaceful Fountains of Desire' in the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002). Her father, the Baron De Longueuil, a doctor and artist, is of English-Scottish, French-Canadian descent. Her great-grandmother, Ernestine, was first cousin to the Queen Mother and grew up with the Queen Mother in Glamis Castle in Scotland. Her mother is from the Philippines and brought up Angela, Rachel, and Rebecca in Nottingham where they trained locally in the arts. She is of mixed British, Spanish and Asian origin.
In The Judas Curse, Rebecca is playing Stavroula, a mysterious and sensuous Greek woman.
The acting career of Richard Syms reads like a roll call of the greatest British television programs of the last 35 years and several significant films. The list includes Bless Me Father (1981), By the Sword Divided (1983), Rumpole of the Bailey (1983), All Creatures Great and Small (1988), Minder (1991), 2point4 Children (1992), Lovejoy (1993), As Time Goes By (1994), The Bill (1994), Silent Witness (1996), Secrets & Lies (1996), London's Burning (1988-1996), Goodnight Sweetheart (1998), Hetty Wainthropp Investigates (1998), Midsomer Murders (2001), The Six Wives of Henry VIII (2001), Ali G Indahouse (2002), The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2002), Gangs of New York (2002), Hornblower (2003), Foyle's War (2002-2007), Johnny English Reborn (2011), and The Iron Lady (2011). And that is just a small selection.
Richard will play the part of Frank, father to Chris (played by Kurtis Stacey) who has buried himself on a remote Greek island while investigating the legend of the Judas Curse.
One of Germany’s best known and much loved television actresses, and a household name through much of Europe, Wookie Mayer was born 1954 in Munich, where she still lives (Wookie is a Bavarian nickname meaning “curly headed”). A licensed psychologist, and able to speak English, French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, and German with a Bavarian or Berlin accent, as an actress she has been continually on German television screens since the series Auf Achse in 1978. She is best known for her role as Hannelore Siekmann in the long-running popular soap opera Lindenstraßen (Lime Street), in which she appeared from 2007-2010. In The Judas Curse, Wookie plays the part of Helen, a German psychologist and researcher living on the island.
Best known for her role as Sam Neill (Cardinal Wolsey)’s lover, Joan Larke, in the Showtime, BBC drama series The Tudors, Lorna Doyle studied Latin and Greek at Durham University before training as an actress at Arts Ed. She has also appeared in the West End’s London Palladium production Me and My Girl (Eyebrow Productions), the short films Pitch (2005), winner of the Portobello Film Festival, and The Bed Guy (2006), the Bath Theatre Royal’s Words of Advice for Young People (2008), Brimstone and Treacle at Bridewell Theatre (1066 Productions), Black ‘Ell at the Pleasance Theatre (Two’s Company), and the Debut Theatre Company's production of Ciaran McConville's Touched by Fire which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2003.
Above is the scene from the Showtime BBC production of The Tudors where Henry VIII's men come to arrest Cardinal Wolsey (Sam Neill) and find him in bed with his mistress, Joan Larke (Lorna Doyle). The arrest is made by Henry Cavill, recently announced as the new Superman actor. Click HERE to see the complete scene.
Michael Bishop, one of two composers creating a score for The Judas Curse, is an original and versatile creative musician providing high quality music and sound for film, television, radio, advertising, games, websites and events. From the commercial to the unexpected, whether rock, blues, jazz, ambient, classical or experimental.
Clients include Shield the Beat, BBC4 Arts documentaries, BBC1 The One Show, Dulux paints and experimental film maker Fiona Geilinger (including music for her film Wallpaper shown at BFI London film festival, NFT and Bilbao film festival, 2011). He recently did the music for the Blue Square Bet television advertisement Nonsense in Football, Number 34, Manager Gesticulation.
An award-winning writer, producer and story editor, Chris Hastings is CEO of 1066 Productions, UK. He specialises in biopics and genre films, seeking out only the most exceptional stories with true global appeal. Current projects include Canadian thriller Bad Town with Dominique Pinon, baseball biopic Effa directed by Penny Marshall, Manchester United biopic The Busby Babes (which he co-wrote), and several documentaries. Chris is also developing and scripting the forthcoming game Prison Architect for Introversion Software and is the writer for Sable Films International on their forthcoming features Suki and The Camp.
DIRECTOR of PHOTOGRAPHY
Based in London, Felix Schmilinsky studied cinematography at the Arts Institute in Bournemouth and at the Academy of Performing Arts (FAMU) in Prague. He has lit and shot numerous fiction short films, music videos, promos, and commercials. He embraces both the optical quality of celluloid, shooting on 16 mm film, but equally the immediateness of digital technology.
James is a British born writer who now lives on Symi, Greece. Having worked in musical theatre and cabaret, he moved into writing novels and travel books in 2001. Since then, his work has included:
This short concept trailer was filmed using local people living on the Greek island of Symi as stand-ins for actors, to give something of the flavour of what the film may be like. The locations shown are Horio (the ruined village) and Pedi (one of the fishing village ports) that will be used in the film. This concept trailer was uploaded to YouTube in May 2013 and has already been viewed over 2,250 times.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The Judas Curse will be filmed on the beautiful and relatively undiscovered Greek island of Symi. Part of the Dodecanse group, and close to Rhodes and Turkey, Symi has at various times been occupied or owned by the Knights of St John, the Ottoman Empire, Greece, Italy, Germany, and Britain, before being finally handed back to Greece at the end of the Second World War.
Like many of the Greek islands, Symi preserves much of its individual culture and traditions. Many of its distinctive neo-classical buildings date from a more prosperous period in the 19th century when local merchants grew rich on ship building and sponge diving.
The Judas Curse was inspired by, and specially written for, the romantic and mysterious ruins in the ancient hilltop village of Horio. Although Horio is one of the island's oldest settlements, the ruins are not actually that ancient but date from that prosperous neo-classical period. Some are even early 20th century, and it was a plaque over a cafe opened in 1909 (now another ruin) that originally inspired writer James Collins to create the story.
The ruins of Horio are connected by an intricate maze of narrow lanes, many of them stepped, that almost seem to tunnel their way between the decaying walls. While charming and romantic in the sunlight, they are a gift to a scriptwriter, director, and cinematographer, who can easily make them seem threatening and claustrophobic. And there is indeed a point in The Judas Curse where Chris, the main character, gets lost.
But don't fall into the trap of thinking Symi is just ruins. The rest of the island is an idyllic holiday destination, although much more off the beaten track and without the packed crowds of Mikonos, Kos, and the more developed islands. Symi is very much for the discerning holidaymaker. Don't be surprised to see some very well-known Hollywood couples hanging out inconspicuously in the tavernas - it's that sort of place - a papparazzi-free zone. Below is a slide show of various Symi images by island photographer, Neil Gosling, who is also the official on-location stills photographer for The Judas Curse, and whose behind-the-scenes images of the production will lavishly illustrate the book about the film (see the rewards on the right).
THE BOOK ABOUT THE FILM
You will see from reading the column on the right (Backer's Rewards) that we are publishing a special book about the making of the film. Into the Mouth of Madness will be available both as a printed (paperback) version and an e-book.
The text will be lavishly illustratred with behind-the-scenes photos taken by Neil Gosling, the Symi-based photographer who is also the production stills photographer, there to capture all the key moments and give you an insight into what goes on when making a film.
The chapters will include a section on the various legends and myths connected with Judas Iscariot that we have drawn on in making the film. There will be a section on the Symi locations where you can find out all about the romantic ruins of Horio. You will be able to discover more about the local people who are helping us to make this film, some of whom you will see in the film itself.
Into the Mouth of Madness will also contain the names of all those who have backed the film with a donation of £10 or more in the "with thanks to" section. And there will be a small number of copies signed by the director, executive producer and a scriptwriter for the higher level donors.
Extra printed copies of this limited edition will be made available at a discounted price to anyone who has donated at any level.
THE 1970s CLASSIC HORROR STYLE
Navin Dev (director), Chris Hastings (executive producer), and Lorna Doyle (actress) talk about their vision for making The Judas Curse.
Risks and challenges
The primary strength of any production is in its management and creative team and their principles. What makes us certain that we are uniquely placed to overcome any hurdles, both anticipated and unexpected, is a team with a wealth of experience who are fully prepared for any eventuality and fully versed in all of the potential pitfalls.
By far the biggest challenge in making The Judas Curse, a full-length, high quality feature film suitable for worldwide release, is to do so for less than £20,000. It is a challenge made all the harder because of the location; a Greek island with numerous logistical issues. However, the location is very much part of what will make this film special and therefore it is a necessary and worthwhile challenge.
By greatly reducing the length of the shoot, it allows us to work with hugely experienced individuals who would not be able to commit the time from their busy schedules for a couple of months of shooting on a micro-budget, but are able and willing to fit this project into their schedules because of the reduced shooting period and because they genuinely believe in it. It is those experienced individuals that allow us to not only shoot something exceptional, but also the kind of people who really have seen it all and will be fully prepared for anything thrown at them throughout the shoot.
There are numerous issues which can trip up those who are less well prepared (changeable weather conditions, problems with equipment etc) but with our experienced team we are able to fully risk manage and prepare for almost every eventuality (bar alien invasions or demonic possession, but if it comes down to it, we’ll sure as hell get round those too).
Therefore, before we even arrive on the island, every single moment of the script will be broken down and storyboarded, every shot, camera position, lighting change fully mapped out. Numerous schedules and permutations will be prepared to take into account every possible external obstacle that might impact upon filming (i.e. should mother nature decide to intervene and give us rain, sun, thunder and snow all on the same day of an outdoor shoot) and comprehensive and in-depth rehearsals will take place to ensure the actors are fully prepared before they film their very first scene.
In essence, The Judas Curse will be prepared with absolute military precision to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible and we will ensure there is a plan B at every stage.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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