HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: After appearances at EAT OUR SHORTS, Fright Night Film Fest, the London Short Film Festival and the Industry BOOST Competition, Mark Kuczewski’s romantic zombie film HAPPY ANNIVERSARY lumbers onwards with three nominations in the upcoming month. The short film, which has Jerermy deciding to rekindle his love with his undead bride one year on from an unforgettable wedding day, will be in competition at this year’s Boston Underground Film Festival (March 22nd-26th). Further nominations come in the form of Best Horror Short at the iHorror Awards 2017 (March 29th) and Best Horror/Thriller at the Screentest National Student Film Festival (April 22nd). "I will be attending Screentest as that’s in London. I actually missed the festival last year when my term five film A BITE TO EAT won Best Film. At the time, I was in Greece shooting [a] grad film. So I am going to make sure I attend this year.”
Kuczewski believes part of the success that HAPPY ANNIVERSARY is having at festivals is down to his experience with his term five film. "With A BITE TO EAT, people liked how fun it was but it was a long film running at 17 minutes. People programming the festival could programme maybe two or three films in that time. I made sure the length was appealing for festivals.” He also targeted horror and comedy festivals. “I tried to revisit the festivals that previous films had success in such as Screentest, as I had already established a relationship with the people running the festivals."
Photo Credit: Thomas Rowe
For his graduation film, Kuczewski assembled an experienced team which included the likes of Julian Smith as both Producer and Editor, Thomas Rowe as Cinematographer, and Nia Fausset as Production Designer. Kuczewski also managed to stay true to the 80s film genre, securing the 80s classic (I JUST) DIED IN YOUR ARMS by the Cutting Crew as the film’s soundtrack.
While HAPPY ANNIVERSARY continues to thrill and amuse around the world, Kuczewksi already has one eye on further projects. "I directed a short Christmas horror film that I released online on my website - www.markkuczewski.com. I am also working on a couple of other short films and currently working a script for a feature. I also work as a DP/Camera Operator for lots of projects. The other day I was in Stoke-on-Trent shooting a short film called DISCO starring George Newton."
HOME EDUCATION: Another London Film School graduation horror film also doing well on the festival circuit is Andrea Niada’s HOME EDUCATION. Screening at the Atlanta Film Festival (24th March - 2nd April), the Crossroads Film Festival (1st April) and the Newport Beach Film Festival (1st April) following appearances at the “Sundance of Horror”, Screamfest, and the 30th Leeds International Film Festival. "I will be attending the Atlanta Film Festival along with Chiara [Cardoso], the producer, as they are kind enough to pay for accommodation and part of the transport!”, commented Niada. "As much as I'd love to go to the others, especially as they're all one after the other, I'm coming back to shoot a documentary in April."
The wonderfully macabre HOME EDUCATION is about an inquisitive girl who is convinced by her controlling mother that her dead dad will resurrect if they show how much they miss him. That is, until he begins to rot. The film itself explores fear and belief and how they can shape our perception and experience of the world, and how the most unhinged of characters may in fact be the ones who speak the clearest truth.
Photo Credit: Phakphoom Saiyvath
Andrea Niada’s documentary, HOW WE ARE NOW, was recently given its online premiere by The National Film Festival for Talented Youth, but Niada is still undecided on if HOME EDUCATION will follow the same route. "Ideally I would like to get [it] some sort of distribution eventually, although I don't yet know if this means putting it up online for anyone to see or going down a VOD route. Both have pros and cons.” What Niada is more certain about is revisiting HOME EDUCATION’s roots as a feature script. “Right now I'm re-writing the feature script and treatment to hopefully find some interest in it!”
With so many festival screenings under his belt for both HOW WE ARE NOW and HOME EDUCATION, filmmaker Niada had a bit of advice for those hoping to follow in his footsteps on making the most out of attending festival appearances. "If you go, it's very useful to bring printed press kits, posters and postcards with your film's info, screening times and contact details on them and leave them everywhere! This way you're advertising your film and if people happen to like it, they have a way of reaching you later on.” For those unable to constantly jet around the world, Niada recommended a different approach. "If you can't go then I think advertising on social media is key. [It] improves your chances of being found on the internet and makes it a lot easier for people to get in touch. It's not necessarily something everyone enjoys doing, but it does make a big difference. Even festival programmers admit that they are more likely to select films from someone they can see actively promotes them online as it inevitably means free publicity for their festival."