Film aficionado Ashley Thorpe has been ploughing his distinct filmmaking furrow more years than you can shake a spectral fist at. And his style, tenacity and downright hard-work (plus talent obs) has been paying hard-won dividends. He’ll be sharing his rich experience -plus some new news about his Borley Rectory film -with filmmakers and film fans during the English Riviera Film Festival. Not an event to miss.
There will also be an opportunity to get your hands on some very limited edition arts print, that will be vanishing soon, by Richard Wells. Richard did the lovely woodcut style poster for Ben Wheatley’s ‘A Field in England’.
Ashley rubs shoulders with industry elite, and at the event you’ll get to see ‘exclusive preview footage from his most recent title Borley Rectory starring Reece Shearsmith (Inside No.9, The League of Gentlemen) and Julian Sands (The Killing Fields, A Room with a View).’
D&CFilm caught up with Ashley to find out at little bit more about the event.
D&C: Who should attend your interactive Q&A -filmmakers, film lovers or both?
AT: Both I think. The evening is very much an overview of my work, how I came to be doing it and where I foresee it going. A ‘filmmakers progress’ if you will, with all the industry insights and pitfalls along the way. It’s been quite the ride thus far so I hope that discussing the past 10 years since I started Carrion Films will both entertain enthusiasts whilst proving useful for those finding their way in an ever changing and mercurial industry.
D&C: You’ve got heaps of experience and knowledge -what are you expecting people to bring with them in terms of knowledge/appreciation of the genre, and what would you hope they can take away?
AT: The evening â€“ in fact the entire day â€“ has been programmed very much with an appreciation of the horror genre in mind so I’d expect the audience to have at least a passing interest in the genre.
My Q&A will focus squarely on British Gothic horror, a term that safely represents much of my work and a large part of my influences. It’s something which had all but disappeared from British film making 10 years ago. Now it’s starting to experience a bit of a resurgence.
For film buffs I think they’ll clearly see how I knit my various enthusiasms and historical genre influences together in my work, but for the less knowledgeable they’ll see a demonstration of how childhood interests â€“ and fears â€“ can be taken and explored with a variety of media.
I explore my love of the genre, its art and history, by making art of my own so I hope I’ll at least provide a few insights about the genre and its precedents.
D&C: If it’s not giving too much away, what is one major lesson you’ve learned as a filmmaker?
AT: It’s easy to be cynical here I think and say ‘don’t do it unless you’re an upper middle class kid with a stash hidden away to fund your hobbies.’ As a working class filmmaker, working from home, trying to provide for a family, I’ve struggled â€“ and continue to struggle â€“ to make films with a degree of ‘artistic content’ and by that I mean that the audience isn’t necessarily in place for it when you start. It’s art vs industry.
You start a film without distribution in mind and how it’s going to make money for people you are generally thought of as a flake or an idiot. Yet simultaneously if you don’t take risks, follow instincts and go out on a creative limb you’ll never stand out from the crowd.
AT: Get a good team behind you, people you trust. I could only make ‘Borley Rectory’ via crowdfunding. We spent 2 years going through ‘official channels’; missed by Channel 4 after a change of development management before being mucked about by the civil servants that call themselves art / creative councils. We got nowhere with any of them.
Crowdfunding gave us freedom but as a filmmaker, especially one without rich parents, you have to be so driven and tenacious.
You really have to be so clear about what you want to make. And you have to want to make that film no matter what. Not for the money. Not for seeing your face in a magazine. You have to want this thing to exist more than anyone else because on the whole the world won’t give a shit.
But passion is infectious and people are drawn to people who are driven and passionate… and that’s what dreams are made of. Don’t waste your time making other people’s dreams.
D&C: And, can you give any hint to the big Borley Rectory news?
AT: Let’s just say that there’s a very good reason that the film has taken nigh on 4 years to make…
â€¢ Ashley Thorpe & the British Gothic Horror Revival is taking place at Cockington Court as part of the English Riviera Film Festival on Thursday, June 15. Get your tickets now.