Volatile (Feature Film)
Volatile (Feature Film)
John is a hard-hitting bouncer. When his house is burgled, he risks everything to hunt down the criminals and retrieve what was taken.
John is a hard-hitting bouncer. When his house is burgled, he risks everything to hunt down the criminals and retrieve what was taken. Read more
What's the story?
Every victim of burglary would probably love to get their hands on the criminal that stole from them. This is the true story of one man who obsessively risks everything to do just that.
When his wedding rings are stolen prior to the big day, John is told by the police that he will never see his jewelry again. Incensed, he decides to hunt the criminals himself, through the seedy lower working class tenements, the spit-and-sawdust bars and snooker halls, second hand shops and no go areas. He puts his life on the line for pride and then watches as it falls apart.
"Volatile” is a faithful account based on events that took place in Geoff Thompson’s extraordinary life.
So, who is putting this project together?
We're Ludwig & Paul Shammasian, AKA The Shammasian Brothers. BAFTA winning writer Geoff Thompson wrote the brilliant script and we're producing and directing the project as an independent production.
Who is involved so far?
As you can see from our video, we already have a brilliant cast for “Volatile” including James Cosmo (“Braveheart”, "Trainspotting", “Highlander” and the new hit HBO series “Game of Thrones”), Craig Conway (“Doomsday”, “Romans 12:20”, “Fragile”) and Amy Manson (“Torchwood”, “Desperate Romantics” and “Being Human”).
These actors all came on board because they believe in the script and the creative team behind it. They are putting their names to it to help us, the filmmakers, build momentum and try and make this project happen.
The Shammasian Brothers - Directors
We started directing together in 2005 when our first commercial won the Cannes Young Director Award. In 2008, we decided to make a short film that would help build our careers as film directors. After meeting Geoff Thompson and discussing various projects, it was evident that we had found a very powerful and special writer to collaborate with. Once Geoff completed the script for "Romans 12:20", a 30 minute short film, we tirelessly tried to raise the finance through traditional funding channels and get a producer attached. But "Romans 12:20" is not an easy subject matter and many found it far too challenging to take on or back. We exhausted the traditional finance route with no one willing to support the film.
Down but by no means out, we felt we owed it to the project and its message not to give up, so we turned to alternative means. We reached out using a crowd funding strategy and "Romans 12:20" ended up being funded by a group of fans and followers who all shared an extraordinary love of the project. In return, we gave rewards such as signed books, scripts, DVD copies of the film, invite to the screening, and so on. This was actually just before the concept of crowd funding took off and it worked out really well for us. We managed to raise our target goal and combined with generous industry support, we were able to independently produce and direct "Romans 12:20". It went on to win awards at international film festivals and secured us a UK and US agent.
After the success of "Romans 12:20", we collaborated with Geoff Thompson on developing other projects and it's all ultimately led us to "Volatile", which we hope will become our first feature collaboration together. We feel it's a small enough project to make independently and at the same time is extremely powerful, hard hitting and has a beautiful message at its core. It's simple but has the ability to reach out to a mainstream audience.
Watch our first commercial below that won the Cannes Young Director Award.
And watch our multi-award winning short film "Romans 12:20" (contains strong language, violence and adult themes).
Geoff Thompson - Writer
Geoff Thompson has written 30 published books - 250,000 copies in print - and was on the Sunday Times Best-Seller list with his autobiographical book "Watch My Back" about his nine years working as a night club doorman. As a freelance journalist he has written for the Independent, Guardian, GQ, FHM, Arena and many other publications. He is one of the highest ranking martial arts instructors in Britain.
Geoff was nominated for a BAFTA for his short film "Bouncer" staring Ray Winstone and Paddy Considine. Watch below (contains strong language, violence and adult themes).
He then went on to win at BAFTA the following year for his hard hitting film "Brown Paper Bag" about alcoholism. Watch below (contains strong language, violence and adult themes).
We fought hard to get traditional finance for "Volatile" but unfortunately were met with the same closed doors we encountered when trying to put together "Romans 12:20". History repeating itself all over again...
So, we decided to go full circle and approach this project as we did with our short film. Reach out to individuals who can get involved and become part of a wonderful story and just take the power back as filmmakers and make it independently ourselves.
We're here because we believe this is what Kickstarter is truly about - getting artists out there who are unable to compete for traditional funding. So we're reaching out to people who want to help make a great film and be part of the journey.
Where did the project come from?
The original idea for "Volatile" came from a chapter in Geoff's best selling book "Watch My Back" called "A Hunt for Gold". It's the true story of when Geoff's house was burgled and the personal hell he went through to get his gold back. The story is a real page turning thriller and we all felt it would make a powerful movie. So, here we are today...
What's the vision for Volatile?
Please note, there are story spoilers in this section.
To best answer this, we need to first briefly look back at "Romans 12:20" which is a 30 minute film about child abuse and is based on Geoff’s personal experience about confronting his past. When we asked him how he felt before meeting his abuser, Geoff replied “wrath, vengeance, hatred”. And how did you feel after meeting and forgiving your abuser? “Free”, was Geoff’s reply.
You can read about his story on The Forgiveness Project website.
"Volatile" is also based on a real life incident experienced by writer Geoff Thompson, tackling the subject of home burglary.
When we asked Geoff how he felt after his house had been broken into and his belongings taken, he replied, “Abused all over again”. And how did you feel after violently hunting down every criminal in the area and finally retrieving your possessions? “Like I had lost everything”. He was referring to the extent one would allow pride and materialism to come before morality and those we love. "Volatile" is the story of that powerful journey. On the surface, it’s an exciting revenge film. A man takes the law into his own hands and decides to make an example of his burglars. Who wouldn’t like to do that? The film is set out like a mystery as the main character hunts high and low for the culprits. As he gets closer, the stakes get higher. Will he ever get his possessions back? Who are the criminals responsible? Will he live to see justice? However, we will also draw out the tale of morality that parallels the action. The closer he gets to his possessions, the more anger he leaves in his wake, which in turn pushes him further from those close to him.
"Volatile" will in many ways feel quite mainstream yet we want to retain a sense of honesty by offering the prospect of revenge and then playing with those expectations. How would people really feel about risking everything for the sake of their pride?
Soundtrack by Stephen Hilton
Stephen Hilton works out of Remote Control studios in Los Angeles where he collaborates with Hans Zimmer. He's worked on titles such as ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ (2011), ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’ (2011), ‘Haywire’ (2011), ‘Man on a Ledge’ (2012), ‘Wrath of the Titans’ (2012) and ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ (2013).
We first worked with Stephen on the short film "Akhtamar" where he composed and produced for us an evocative and beautiful soundtrack. We've built a very strong relationship since and are very excited to be working with him again.
Here are two of Stephen's tracks for the short film "Akhtamar" we did together.
Music by Stephen Hilton.
We need to raise our target to begin production. We are hoping to start shooting early 2014. After the film is finished, as we did with "Romans 12:20", we will enter it into festivals and do industry screenings for distributors.
A personal message from Geoff Thompson
"I can't tell you how thrilled I am to be working with the Shammasian brothers on my new script Volatile. It is a story that is close to my heart, so who better to direct it for me than the two men who are equally close to my heart, Paul and Ludwig. Not only have they always proven to be amazing collaborators and the most discerning script editors, but they are also visionary film directors. I have complete faith in them to produce a world class film. Thank you to everyone for helping us bring our film to fruition in any way you can." Geoff Thompson
Where can I learn more about the project?
Please visit our official Facebook page. We will keep it updated as the journey unfolds.
Is my pledge amount publicly displayed?
No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see your pledge amount.
If I donate, when can I redeem the incentive?
All incentives, big and small, will only happen if our goal is met. If we do meet our goal, immediately after our deadline we will start to deliver all rewards directly to you. Some of the rewards, such as invites to the private screening, wrap party, thanks on the credits, online stream of the completed film, and so on, can only happen after the film is completed so this will take a bit of time but once you have donated you will get access to all of our updates so will be well informed of the timeline.
Why are we asking for £250,000?
It may seem like a lot of money but similar UK “micro-budget” films tend to float around the £300,000 mark so in fact we are a little below. Also, we want to be fair to all of you by setting a goal that realistically allows us to complete the project to a high standard.
Can we exceed the goal?
YES. This would be truly amazing. Exceeding our goal would give us the opportunity to make a more ambitious film. Kickstarter will allow as much money as is given before the deadline. We have set our goal at the absolute minimum we need to make the film BUT raising a bigger budget would help us make a bigger movie experience.
Can I increase my pledge once it’s been made?
YES. Once you donate to our campaign, you may want to change your incentive reward to a different one, or increase your pledge amount. To do so, go to Kickstarter and sign in. If you go to our campaign page, the green “Back This Project” button has been replaced with a blue “Manage Your Donation” button. Click it and you can enter a new amount, or choose a new incentive.
Can I gift an incentive?
YES. That’s very kind of you. If you would like to donate to the film but give the reward to someone as a gift, go through all the normal process of making a donation in your name. For billing purposes, this action must be in your name. After our deadline, we will send a message to you on Kickstarter using the email address you provided. We will request all the details we need to fulfill your reward. Please reply with the person’s information that is to receive the reward and we will make sure they receive it.
How do I receive my reward?
When the project is fully funded we will drop you a message through Kickstarter asking for the relevant details for your reward and as soon as it's ready we will send it over to you.
What happens if the money isn’t raised in time?
If our full goal isn’t met before the deadline, no money changes hands and no film is made. We really hope this doesn’t happen.
Who does the money go to?
Every penny (minus the fees for Kickstarter’s involvement) will go directly to the “Volatile” film budget - i.e. Your money goes directly to the funding of this film which covers everything from the equipment to locations, the cast and crew, post productions, and so on.
I'm not in the UK. Can I still pledge to projects?
Yes. You can pledge from anywhere.
How do we contact you?
Through the the "Contact me" feature on our Kickstarter page.
Thanks so much for all your support and we hope the journey continues after the campaign deadline is up.
Risks and challenges
Our plan is to shoot "Volatile" as soon as possible after raising our target. Given when our Kickstarter campaign will be going live, this could mean we will start principle photography at the start of 2014, but it's very much based on people's schedules and existing professional commitments. Everyone on board knows they'll be working on a low budget film and we will be expecting to pull in favours and get some help - but, we're aware, for example, one of our actors may suddenly land a role in a Hollywood film and it could mean the production schedule is delayed as a result. We will know more once the money is raised and we are able to start booking our cast and crew for specific dates. So, expect updates online with how that's all shaping up.
Cast & Crew
We don't expect our cast and crew to change as we're a tight team, but these things do sometimes happen due to unforeseeable reason.
Being a low budget feature film, we have decided to stay away from distributors until it's all finished. At which point, we will do screenings and get the distributors involved. We actually prefer to do it this way. Without a distributor or financier attached at this early stage means we get to make the film we want to make and not have to adjust it for their needs. We believe this way we will attract the distributor that's right for us and our creative vision.
We will first fulfil all the rewards that are not dependent on the film's production or release. For those of you who are coming on set, taking part in the post production process or joining us at the wrap party, etc, we will keep you up to date on our schedules and dates.
Just a few points to consider:
For those of you visiting the "Volatile" set, we anticipate shooting early 2014 in England. However, as mentioned above, there is a chance dates could change. So, we will keep you updated so you're able to plan your visit and stay ahead of the schedule.
You must be over 18 or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian for any of the visits (production, post production, screening, etc). All extras or those attending any of the parties must be over 18 so please bring valid photo ID with you just in case.
If you are appearing in front of the camera, even as a background artist, you will have to sign a release form. We will do our best to keep you in the final cut, but a lot changes in the editing process and we cannot guarantee you'll be seen in the final film.
If we have to change a reward for a reason outside of our control, we will do our best to give you something that we feel is a fair substitute. We are not expecting this to happen, but making a film is often a huge up hill battle and inevitably we will encounter situations we simply could not have predicted. If, for example, our post production unexpectedly gets moved abroad on the grounds of, say, availability or price - we wouldn't expect those who pledged to join us in the post suite to pay for expensive flights and accommodation abroad, so we would try and work something else out. Again, this is a pretty extreme example and very unlikely to happen, but we're just saying.
Having said this, we are a group of incredibly experienced film makers so we don't foresee any problems in terms of the production of the film. The more money we raise over and above our minimum target the more freedom we get to make an even bigger film.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)