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Interview: Bad Blood Films – (Facility 31 First Look) (HTF Exclusive)

Spooky Swindon based Horror feature length film, Facility 31 looks to set the bar high for indy horror makers everywhere. Check out what the director and writer had to say when we spoke to them


Facility 31 is an upcoming feature length film from Bad Blood Films,the first of a slate of 5 Horror films. The story revolves around a group of military prisoners who are tasked with cleaning a remote, dilapidated military bunker. One of the prisoners is a dishonored medical doctor named Rosie, she thinks her worst nightmares have come true when the officer in charge is the same person who court martialled her, but when a power surge hits the facility, a lockdown traps them inside. With this and the disappearance of another prisoner, comes the sinking realisation that there is something sinister in the depths of the facility and all is not what it seems…

Bad Blood Films  has recently searched for funds at the Cannes Film Festival for investment and distribution. The aforementioned facility location utilizes a disused bunker in South Devon for an eery authenticity, and  Facility 31 currently has a cast and crew of 27 people. We spoke to Mark Kenna and David Hawk, the producer and writer/directer, respectively behind the film.

HTF: What are the main influences behind ‘Facility 31’?

DH: Film-wise definitely John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, which is just a masterpiece of film making, the combination of remote location and who is the creature dynamic is just beat perfect. More recently I’d add Neil Marshall’s ‘The Descent’, very tightly scripted and some great scares and the way he uses the caves as a character rather than just a location is brilliantly unsettling.

HTF: What do you think of the current state of Independent horror and what are your plans, if you have any, after these 5 horror films?

DH: I think now is a great time to be making horror movies, equipment is cheaper than its ever been and there is a mountain of untapped talent as well as industry veterans that want to work on unique independent horror movies. I do think that there is an awful lot of badly made horror as well but that’s down to the quality of the script, If you have a great script then you are off to a great start, if you have a poor script then you will only ever be able to make a poor movie.

I think that in Britain especially, the horror community is absolutely amazing, I have been a part of it myself for over 25 years but i don’t think people are served particularly well with great British horror movies. Hammer has made a come back but there is still a lack of encouragement for making horror in the UK which is a shame because its also one of the most consistently profitable genres year on year, we have the talent so lets start making a horror industry in UK that gives the fans what they want, whilst actually making some money too.

As for our plans after the first slate of films, we are already up to about 10 now I believe, plus Bad Blood Films as a company is looking to tap into emerging writing and directing talent and offer opportunities to create a continued presence in horror for many many years to come.


HTF: We heard that you have been searching recently for investment and distribution at Cannes Film Festival? How’s that side of things going?

MAK: Cannes this year was more of a dry-run for future visits. We like to do our homework and although I’ve been to Cannes many times before in a technical capacity with Dolby, its my first time as a producer. The visit was invaluable, discussing our projects with producers, directors, acquisitions and sales agents as well as distributors from many international companies. It was clear that our projects, including Facility 31 would sell in many territories, just from the trailer and our investor brochure (showing the quality of content we are producing). It was also pretty clear that, although pre-sales could be an option to help raise the money, it certainly wasn’t the best financial move for us. It’s always better to make your film and then sell it and with the script we have with Facility 31 and the slate behind us, there was certainly a buzz about what we were doing, our approach and what we were offering. A fresh British production company focusing our energy and talents into the horror genre, I don’t think that’s been done in the UK since Hammer. Our approach is certainly looking at international territory sales, as well as VOD/IPTV/DVD too. We see the mobile market being particularly interesting and have some great ideas as far as that goes and are currently working with an app company and will be releasing a Facility 31 app as well as getting our wonderful horror fans engaging with our content throughout our filmmaking process. We plan to green-light the project this year, ready for a 2014 release date and will be looking at Screamfest and Frightfest as major genre-festivals that we would like to be part of. We have already approached talent, both cast and crew including named actors who have shown a keen interest in our projects. We’re still in discussions with their agents and will of course announce as soon as we have confirmation.

HTF: What kind of budget were you working with?

MAK: The budget for Facility 31 is around £800k – £1.3 million deepening on actors and locations etc. We plan to shoot mostly in the secret military bunker that we have secured, but we may have to use a studio for some scenes as well as the epic opening scene that will require an additional location along with some spectacular CG work. Believe it or not, we have prepared multiple budgets over the months, covering variations of project production. We understand that low budget filmmaking will become everyday life for many productions, from £150-£450k being a figure that the industry is talking about. However, it really is pretty challenging to make a film on less than £300k (depending on the film of course), especially if you want to maintain quality and more importantly, make films that are sustainable, paying people/professionals for their work, having a skilled crew and budgeting for sales, marketing, distribution etc. The standard distribution model is changing and more productions are self-distributing. Although digital filmmaking is a quarter of the cost of 35mm filmmaking, costs soon mount up and you cannot afford to be inefficient just because you’re using a digital format. You need to have the right people in the right places, make decisions based on experience, plan well in pre-production, don’t cut corners in production and understand work-flow in post-production as well as having knowledge about the changing markets. You also need to look after your cast and crew, feed them, water them, pay them, ensuring that your cast and crew are around for the second film and the third film etc. Anyone can make a film for no money (well, a very small amount), however, only a successful business will thrive and create opportunities and turn a profit, this is how Bad Blood Films are running their show.

HTF: Many horror films greatly benefit from practical FX more than CGI, what will the CGI / practical FX ratio be like for Facility 31 be?

DH: I think CGI has its place and can certainly help but i have grown up on the likes of ‘American Werewolf in London’ and ‘Evil Dead’, so out of preference i will always favour practical effects and can honestly say that ‘Facility 31’ and the rest of our slate of films will be as close to 100% practical effects as we can make them. I think having practical effects always generates a better performance from actors as well as they have something to be genuinely scared about rather than trying to be frightened of a man in a green suit.

Having seen the as of yet unreleased trailer for Facility 31, we can say that this film looks to be an ominously toned, edge of your seat horror with a chilling storyline. Definitely a film to look out for.

Still Photos courtesy of Clare Adamson

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