You’ve just returned from the cinema and what an experience: the music, the action, the story, the special effects and those edge-of-your-seat moments! If you’re an independent filmmaker or film fan you might dream one day of making such a film. So you’ve decided to make to make a feature film, not only that, but fund it independently, gather a wonderful team and five hundred supporters from around the world. Simon Cox, director of sci-fi feature film Kaleidoscope Man, has done just that. I was intrigued to find out more , so I caught up with him.
John Tomkins: What was the moment you decided to embark on making a sci-fi feature film ?
Simon Cox: I’ve wanted to make an epic sci-fi movie since I first saw the original Star Wars when I was 13. I came up with the initial idea for Kaleidoscope Man back in 1999 after I’d finished my first feature Written in Blood (1998). I had no idea it would take me nearly 20 years to make!
John Tomkins: How did you go about getting the team together to make K – Man?
Simon Cox: Having worked in TV and film over the years, a lot of the people I’ve brought in were people I’d met along the way. I also found a few local people who have since joined the team. Our cameraman, Gordon Hickie, shot my first feature film (Written in Blood) and he now shoots Holby City, Casualty and The Inspector Lyndley Mysteries.
I found the cast via acting agencies apart from Toyah Willcox who I met at a film meeting a few years ago.
John Tomkins: Tell us a little about the epic story of K – Man.
Simon Cox: After the death of his young daughter, Thomas Dunn is a man who has lost his faith. His life has crumbled and his confidence is shattered. Yet, on this day he wakes to discover that Mandy, his loving wife is finally pregnant again. Maybe this is their chance to move away from the tragedy of the past and for him to find his faith again.
But also on this day a large alien mother-ship appears in the heavens and the people of earth are suddenly plagued with visions about the end of civilization. Tom and Mandy are split up as the mother-ship launches a massive alien fleet which attack the towns and cities of earth.
Tom must look deep within himself to find not just his faith but the wisdom and strength to save the human race from the horrors that threaten them. However, first he must find Mandy, as he discovers that their new baby holds the key to the future of mankind. The battle lines are drawn and the final stance for Earth is about to begin…
John Tomkins: What have been the challenges of making the film?
Simon Cox: The main challenges have been financing the film. There isn’t really any real financial support for making independent movies in the UK at the moment (despite what you might hear about UK film industry and especially now as the US film industry is spending multi-millions making their films here in the UK).
This has been the reason the movie has taken me over 15 years to make. There have been a lot of promises and false leads along the way, which on occasion has been heart-breaking.
Eventually, we started crowdfunding the film in stages. So far we have run 7 campaigns and had the support from over 500 wonderful people from across the world (which I still find incredible!).
John Tomkins: What has been the most challenging part of filming?
SC: Probably our nightmare sequences where we had the four main cast and 80 zombie extras in a very large shopping complex location in Birmingham.
There was a lot of running around with the camera on a Steadicam with crowds running into each other. It was a great day and the footage was amazing, but communication was hard due to the scale and ambience of the place and we had a mountain of shots to get through.
There were loads of stairs, escalators and lifts and navigating our cast and crew through it was complicated. We only had the location for one day and were filming flat out for around 16 hours. I certainly slept well after that day!
John Tomkins: The film is now in post production, what it the next stage for the film?
Simon Cox: Being an epic sci-fi movie there are a lot of FX’s to get done. The next 10 months is going to be working through these. We still have a few small scenes left to shoot too, but these will be done by the end of September.
One of these will include shooting tanks and soldiers blasting at attacking alien spaceships which we will be shooting in central Birmingham (in a War of the Worlds style!!).
John Tomkins: Tell us about your seminar tour which is touching down in Exeter in August ?
Simon Cox: I have learnt so much since I started my Kaleidoscope Man journey and I want to share with people who, like myself, have had a burning desire throughout their lives to create something extraordinary.
In this modern age, creativity can often be crushed by the need to earn money, but despite the difficult odds I have done it and what’s really surprised me is the unbelievable support and encouragement I’ve had from normal people, just like myself from around the world.
I believe that when people see the scale of what we have achieved with our movie, they will see the potential and importance of following their own dreams.
We recently discovered that the eyes of the British Film Industry are very keen to see what we come up with and I believe Kaleidoscope Man will shake the system to its very roots. I guess ultimately, it will be the audience though who will decide if I am right about this!
John Tomkins: Where can we find out more about your work ?
John Tomkins: And finally what film makers inspired you to get into film making when you were growing up?
Simon Cox: For me it’s fairly simple, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner! Jaws, Superman and Star Wars are just the best movies ever made (in my humble opinion!)
John Tomkins: Thanks for your time Simon. What Simon has achieved / is achieving is really inspiring to Indie filmmakers out there and I can’t wait to see the finished film on the big screen.
Simon will be in Exeter on August 27, 2016 for a one day seminar at the Barnfield Theatre. To book tickets and find out more about this exciting day click on the link:
- Ben Tallamy on bringing a creative music vision to screen - September 13, 2016
- Exclusive interview with Simon Cox, director of Kaleidoscope Man - July 4, 2016
- Are Aliens invading Bristol? John Tomkins talks to Horizon web series director and actress - October 10, 2015