Early this summer I caught up with up-and-coming director Justin Carter who has just premiered his first feature Torn: A Shock Youmentary. Here is what is say about the film and how he got into the making films in the first place . Over to you Justin ….
What made you get into filmmaking?
The simple answer is my grandfather, Sidney James Carter. He had VHS & BETAMAX video players in the late 70s and he’d rent a lot of cassettes and show them to me.
I was only five years old when he first showed me Spielberg’s Jaws. I don’t know what the hell my grandad thought he was doing, showing JAWS to a 5 year old boy but from that moment on I was hooked & I knew that I wanted to work in movies.
I spent seven years studying Media Production at college and university and I made some award winning material along the way. I had some of my shorts broadcast on cable television and I eventually ended up working professionally in the industry as an assistant director and a researcher.
Although those are important jobs, I felt like a very small cog in a big machine. That didn’t suit me at all. I’ve always been far more creative and productive when working on my own material so I eventually decided that it was time to crack on with my very own feature.
Tell us about the feature film Torn ?
I’d heard the term No Budget Movie thrown about a bit, referring to films made for less than £50K and I wondered if it’d be at all possible to actually make a movie which really had no budget.
And after I’d wondered about it, I just got on and made one.
There are a lot of aspiring filmmakers out there who do a lot of talking about the projects they’re going to make but the films rarely ever materialise. I made a concerted effort not to be one of those people. Whether for passion or for profit, filmmaking consumes your entire existence and I was prepared for that to happen and I worked long and hard to get Torn made.
Luckily, I had some hardworking folks in my cast and crew to help me get the job done.
TORN: a SHOCK YOUmentary is about a small group of men who join forces to protect their village from a terrifying creature referred to as ‘The Devonshire Devil’. But at it’s heart, Torn is essentially a tragic tale about how the lives of two young men are torn apart by ‘The Devonshire Devil’.
Torn was produced in less than 150 production hours, with a crew size never exceeding three or four of us at any one time, which usually meant that I was Boom Operator, and it has a scale and ambition that defies the limitations of it’s non existent budget.
I believe that Torn is a remarkable achievement and just goes to prove that with passion and determination, it’s possible to accomplish anything…. especially if that “anything” is 92 minutes long and has shotguns and a werewolf in it.
What made you shoot in the South West?
In order to achieve our goal of producing the entire picture with no budget, I scripted the movie around the resources that were readily available to me. That included, equipment, vehicles, props, wardrobe and locations. So, the South West became the setting simply because my home is here and so were all of the locations that I’d written into the screenplay.
The setting was the most influential aspect really as it determined exactly what the movie would become. I’m originally from the South East and spent most of my adult life living in London. If I still lived there, I would’ve ended up with an entirely different movie altogether. Probably a gangster flick or an urban drama and that would’ve been disappointing as the low budget British film market is flooded with both of those.
What do think of the growing film community in Devon ?
It appears to be growing, yes but it has a long way to go. It’ll never catch up with the facilities and opportunities available to filmmakers in London, admittedly, but there are certainly a lot of passionate and determined actors and filmmakers in the region. I look forward to the film community’s expansion as I’d like to see much larger projects produced here.
The South West rarely appears on either television or Silver Screens these days, unless it’s a hospital ward on an episode of Casualty and I’d like to see that change.
Spielberg’s War Horse recently proved how cinematic the South West can be so, there is hope for the region. We just need local filmmakers to be far more pro-active and get some financial investment into the area. All we need is a few of us to show the potential in the region and we can get that ball rolling.
What’s next ?
I’ve been developing a number of projects over the last few years and I’d like to make them all. I’ve got an action thriller which is a throwback to the paranoid US cinema of the 70s, I’ve got a Western which is actually a South Western, based here but with the feel of another time in history and I’ve got a horror picture I’d like to make too.
Torn is like a creepy ghost story but this new one is an in-your-face experience, taking the major character to hell and back, no holds barred nightmare.
It’s a bit of a departure from Torn but I’ve also got a bittersweet romantic comedy on the boil too. I’ve just got to choose the order in which I make them. I’ll probably have to shop them around and start with the cheapest one first but that’s ok, I’m used to working with low budgets.
Thanks you, Justin. Here’s the trailer for Torn: