NOT one, not two, but three films stamped Made In York are ready to roll this summer.

Here come Green Screen Productions' The Knife That Killed Me, Risky Things Productions' film short, On the Edge, and MilesTone Films' low-budget serial killer romp, Whoops!. As it happens, Andrew Dunn, the York actor with the face to fit everything, appears in all three indie films. Quite the Dunn thing evidently.

Look elsewhere on this spread for more on On The Edge and Whoops!, but first What's On can update you on the progress of The Knife That Killed, a film adaptation of Anthony McGowan's novel of the same name, made entirely on green screen with the technical wizardry of York film-maker Kit Monkman.

A specially invited audience attended the exclusive Yorkshire preview of the £3 million film last Monday at the University of York ahead of its national release this summer after a major deal was secured with Universal Pictures UK for DVD and Video on Demand distribution.

That screening also marked the start of a "Kickstarter" crowd-funding campaign to raise awareness and additional funding to launch the film with a" multi-platform premiere this summer to assist that distribution.

To do so, Green Screen Productions are teaming up with Heslington Studios, the commercial arm of the University of York’s Department of Theatre, as producer Alan Latham, Green Screen's managing director, explains.

“Through our partnership with Heslington Studios, our aim is to create a media hub in York, which will generate revenue and create new jobs for the region. The Kickstarter campaign is designed to encourage local people to support and celebrate Yorkshire filmmaking talent and help bring more TV and film production into the region,” he says.

This summer's multi-platform premiere, once it has the go-ahead, will be given multi-media saturation coverage. The entire event will be simultaneously live streamed to exclusive pop-up locations in Britain and to a global audience online. The aim is to "provide film viewers with a visual experience that is as inventive and participatory as the film itself".

That is for the not-too-distant future. Last Monday was a chance for Monkman, McGowan and Marcus Romer, artistic director of York company Pilot Theatre, the third driving force behind the film, to gather on Kickstarter Monday to reflect on the film's progress so far and its next steps.

McGowan revealed that three companies had shown interest in adaptaing his story of a journey through the memories of teenage protagonist Paul Varderman as he reflects on the events leading to the fatal moment his life is cut short.

"Three companies vying for the film rights is what a writer dreams of, and the other two, to be honest were offering more money , but I just liked the energy pouring out of Marcusand the attractiveness of his proposal. I was immediately drawn to it," he says.

"Much of the story happens inside the main character's head in a computer-generated world of flashbacks and flash-forwards that you would think would be impossible to capture on film but instead comes across perfectly."

For that to have happened, take a bow Green Screen Productions, who shot the film wholly at their state-of-the-art studios at a former piggery in Bubwith, near Selby. The backgrounds were created digitally by Kit Monkman, giving the film its visual stylistic language that represent the subconscious thoughts of Paul, played by Waterloo Road actor Jack McMullen.

"We pushed the boundaries of independent cinema by using new technology to ‘break the lens’ in order to create a different, more interactive relationship between the audience and the screen," says Kit, whose creative imagination was fuelled by being brought up at Shandy Hall, erstwhile home of Coxwold clergyman and Tristram Shandy author Laurence Sterne.

Filming the actors against the green-screen backdrop "made the experience feel more like theatre – and the viewer less like a spectator – than is generally the case with film", Kit adds.

Marcus was determined not to let the chance to make the film slip from his grasp.

"There was a review of Anthony's book in The Guardian that had just come out and we knew it was only two weeks before film applications had to be in, but we looked at our advantages. We were from Yorkshire; we had green screen; Anthony was from Sherburn-in-Elmet; and Pilot Theatre had toured those schools he wrote about.," he says. "All those things came together, so we knew we had to get the draft right. That was in 2008, and draft 9.2 was shot four years later.

"I just fell in love with the idea that the story needed to be told and we felt the right medium to tell it wasto work with Kit and the green screen team. For people used to watching Waterloo Road or Grange Hill, we knew seeing this film would be nothing like that."


Whoops! It’s a crime...

WHOOPS!, the low-budget serial killer comedy filmed in York, has been selected as the British feature film to tour Vue cinemas under the Raindance umbrella from June 9 to 26.

York, however, will have to wait a little longer to enjoy the fruits of its home produce.

“At the moment, we don’t know when we’ll show it here, but we’re hoping to arrange it for after the main tour,” reveals Miles Watts, co-director of film-makers MilesTone Films.

In the meantime, York film producer Sam Robinson is “thrilled to see our little movie representing British film, not only on the Vue tour but at this year’s NXNE Festival in Toronto”.

“Whoops! was made with a tiny fraction of the budget of the big summer films, yet will be there for audiences to come and enjoy just like any other feature,” he says.

Sam created his production company Heavy Elephant Ltd to make a series of feature films and joined with MilesTone directors Miles Watts and Tony Hipwell to realise Whoops, drawing on the irreverent, guerilla film-making skills that had marked out Watts and Hipwell’s Edinburgh International Film Festival hit CrimeFighters and their cult web series and mobie-in-preparation, Zomblogalypse.

Using a range of cinema and pop culture influences ranging from Hitchcock to Miss Marple, Whoops! is the very British but globally appealing story of accidental and fictional serial killer Rose Clements (played by Elaine Glover) and her long-suffering husband Dave (Phil Rowson); both leads having moved from long television careers into feature films for the first time.

The homegrown cast also features such talents as Dinnerladies’ Andrew Dunn, cast against type as a sleazy estate agent, and Silent Witness’s Olwen May as a dogged police inspector tasked with trying to solve the case.

“Rose and Dave are based on me and my wife,” says Sam. “We’re both clumsy but thankfully neither of us has ever killed anyone. But there’s that question of whether you’d help a loved one bury a body, and if you really loved them, you’d just do it and suffer the consequences.”

“However small the budget for our films, we always aim as high as we can, so it’s great that Raindance are championing the small independent filmmakers,” says co-director Miles. “Seeing our own movie with an audience at a multiplex is something of a childhood dream.”

Fellow director Tony was delighted by the initial response at Raindance. “And early reviews have been very encouraging too,” he says. “Whoops! is rooted in slasher movies and dark British comedy but audiences have responded warmly to the central characters. They’re totally devoted to each other and that’s what drives the story.”

The film was shot in York in 2012 and screened at the 2013 Raindance Film Festival, becoming an instant audience-pleaser thanks to the combination of laughs, scares, gross-out moments and drama.

Whoops! will screen at six Vue cinemas on its tour: on June 9 and 10, Edinburgh Omni Centre; June 11 and 12, Gateshead Trinity Square; June 16 and 17, Halifax, Broad Street; June 18 and 19, Manchester Lowry; June 23 and 24, Cardiff Stadium Plaza and June 25 and 26, Portsmouth, Gunwharf Quays. Tickets are available from

The tour will feature question-and-answer sessions at some shows with the cast and crew, culminating in the aforementioned York screening, still in the process of being organised by the filmmakers for their home city. Watch this space for an update from Miles.

“It will be followed by other screening dates,” he says. “In the meantime, explore the website, watch the trailer and keep up with further news at and”


Rough end of life

YORK film-maker Cathy Denford has completed On The Edge, her 28-minute film drama, made with York acting couple Andrew Dunn and Andrina Carroll.

“The film is about two rough sleepers, who meet in York and start a relationship that gives them the confidence to rebuild their lives and re-engage with society to counter poverty,” says Cathy, the shot film's writer, director and producer.

“We’re now exploring possibilities for distributing it and organising showings, including submitting it for film festivals."

Filmed in high definition by cinematographer Paul Richardson over five days last autumn in York, the film casts Andrina Carroll as Nonni, who has quit teaching in in her late 40s to spend the summer camping on the riverbank in York, living a low-energy, low-income life along eco/Buddhist principles.

"Nonni is an educated woman, an experienced teacher who has opted out partly for ideological reasons, partly because the pressure of her job became too much for her, driving her to drink," says Cathy.

"But lively and sensitive, she is knowledgeable about her subject : economic and political British history. Deeply critical of neo-liberalism and successive government failures, she is passionately engaged in looking for alternative models society could develop. She is trying to live an alternative lifestyle, camping and bartering her skills with the nearby allotment owners, but her savings are running out."

When his marriage collapses, 55-year-old North Easterner JJ ( Andrew Dunn's character) leaves his low-paid South Shields night shifts for York and meets Nonni by chance. She introduces him to the local scene: the warm library, sources of free food; vital services as autumn closes in. After two nights on cold concrete, he ends up sleeping in her tent , quickly growing to respect her, and a relationship ensues.

While he encourages her realisation that she has to stop drinking and take responsibility for her life, her friendship encourages him to value himself. Her political perspectives, presented as challenging questions, widen his mental horizons. They are each led to new life choices and in the final scenes, Nonni becomes more involved in political action through the new local People’s Assembly.

"Education is the way forward, for him to retrain, for her to return to teaching in some setting, and for the whole society to discover a fairer, more effective and sustainable economic and political order," says Cathy.

"The film tells a very contemporary story of how collaborative support helps two people survive against the backdrop of divisiveness in a Britain that is shrinking its welfare system as the gap between rich and poor widens.

"The river setting in York chimes with different themes in the film. It can represent market forces, a life force for good or ill, or intimate the coming climate chaos as it rises, on the edge of flood. York encapsulates contemporary UK society with its affluent and poor sectors, currently the scene of quite intense political action as local groups encourage the council not to implement government austerity."

The film has been made by her company Risky Things Productions with support from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. "Risky Things has done work with homeless people, rough sleepers and people in accommodation for the homeless, at a time when vulnerable groups are becoming ever more disadvantaged, and ever since I learnt about one man's story of becoming homeless in a quick downward spiral, his story became JJ's story," says Cathy.

The New Zealand-born artist, theatre maker and film-maker used to work on documentaries for Channel 4 and ITV. "But I've always had a direct interest in politics around social issues and my work with Risky Things has given me the chance to address that," she says.