Katie Mccullough Talks and Writes

Words will get written here and some videoblogs will appear. You don't have to look but it would be nice if you did.

Firehouse Films – The Result! July 6, 2013

Here’s the resulting film from the Firehouse Film Creative inaugural film challenge I was invited to do. Six writers, six directors, one room. We’re all paired off after being picked at random from a hat and we’re all played the same stimulus. It’s a recording of a woman talking about how she remembers her grandmother being the life and soul of the party, a real chatterbox. But as age takes over she slowly begins to talk less and less, a former shadow of herself.



So there was our stimulus which we could take anyway we wanted. I was paired with director/producer-duo Dave Thomas and Nell Garfath-Cox who were living in Worthing when we started the project together. I’ve mentioned before how I like to have imposed restrictions as it gets the ideas flowing thick and fast, so this was no different. Although I’d never had to do something so restrictive over a prolonged period of time. A month. One month to write, shoot, edit and finalise a short film with no budget. I was worried that the initial adrenaline rush would drop once we were out of that room and as the days ticked over. But I knuckled down to the script and vomited something down as soon as I could so the momentum would tide us over. And collaboratively myself and Dave worked great together – we’d email the drafts with notes and work out where we both wanted to go, and it worked. People seem to avoid particular areas of collaboration because they feel exposed, or that they feel they have to bend to somebody else’s whim. That’s definitely not the case. You discuss points and open them up. You never have to take on every note, but you’ve got to have a good reason for going against it. And if you can articulate that reason well, then there’s nothing to worry about.
Anyways. Script done.
Then we had an issue with a location. I’d written the script for one location, but it was proving difficult. So much so that the script that was written so soon after our initial meeting… Was actually shot on the last weekend of the month. It was so close to not happening at all. But then the lovely Beatrice Curnew stepped in and saved the day by letting us take over her house (and cook a whole roast meal) for the short. Thank you Bea!
Here are some shots of the filming in action.








I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ingvild Deila, Ian Houghton, Dorothy Lawrence, Oliver Malam, Dave Thomas, Nell Garfath-Cox and Sarita Tam all work. I know that I’ve made some friends from this, and there’s more delights to come.


Firehouse Films – Writing For Film (Again) January 31, 2013

I’ve been invited by Firehouse Creative Productions to be involved in their inaugural launch for the Firehouse Films project, with the first writer-director workshop happening on this Saturday. I’m quite excited about flexing my film muscles again, I’ve been aching to do it for a while… But I’m also excited because I’m going to be meeting new folks AND I like the challenge of crafting a short film in a short space of time – but not limited to a 48hr film challenge this time. The idea of there being a definite finished article at the end of it is always appealing.
The plan will go like this…
Every month Firehouse Film will invite a group of filmmakers to collaborate with them. They’ll provide a creative spark and at least one London location. They’ll put potential cast and crew at your disposal and the filmmakers will then face the challenge of producing a short film to be screened one month later.
The “creative spark” will be provided by real life stories from people in London through Firehouse’s Story-Station installation (see photographs above). They already have an extensive back catalogue of real-life stories and will collect more as this project goes on.
On the first Saturday of every month, they will hold a workshop during which 5 writers and 5 directors (or writer-directors) will collaborate to choose which stories they want to adapt into short films. Firehouse will help partner the writers and directors with actors and crew as necessary. 5 teams will then undertake to produce 5 short films.
On the first Friday of the following month, all 5 films will be screened at a high profile venue. With the filmmakers’ permission, these films will then be screened on http://www.firehousecreativeproductions.com and partners’ websites.

So I’ll let you know how it goes on Saturday and keep you in the loop. It’ll be great to meet the lovely people behind the project – through a combination of film festivals, Twitter and friends of friends we’ll finally get to meet face-to-face and more importantly, get creating. 


St. Albans Film Festival Is Coming… Are You? December 20, 2012

Looks like St. Albans is going to get its first film festival next year from 8th – 10th March, conveniently called the St Albans Film Festival. And if you’re a filmmaker, then you still have time to submit.

The regular deadline is 28th December so if you’ve got withoutabox then pootle on over to there and click the buttons. The next deadlines (will obviously be a bit more expensive) are in January so GET A MOVE ON!


And the reason I’m excited about the festival? Because:
a) It’s on my doorstep
b) There are some amazing things in the pipeline for the festival
c) I’m a judge

St Albans has been a popular location with the film industry not only because of its close proximity to some of the leading film studios such as Pinewood (Superman, James Bond); Elstree (Star Wars, Indiana Jones); and also Leavesden (Harry Potter). But also because it’s relatively close to London, a 20min train trip (if you get the right train).
It’s been featured on TV (Life Begins, The Inbetweeners), film (The Birthday Girl, Johnny English) and Arthur Melbourne-Cooper – the pioneer of moving pictures – was born in the City. Stanley Kubrick came to settle in the area and remained, crafting his prolific works. The Shining was finished there, and Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut were started and completed there. He also used to only leave the place to buy his bottled ink from Ryman, y’know, the very shop I used to work in.
So checkout the website: www.stalbansfilmfestival.com
Look at the Facebook page: StAlbansFilmFestival on Facebook
Peek at the Twitters too: StAlbansFF



You may remember me talking about a collection of short documentaries/films that I’m going to be distributing soon called SOUTHBANK UNSEEN, a while back…

Well they’re all finished and have been treated to a sexy grade and will be having their World Premiere as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival this coming weekend on the 10th and 11th of September. They’ll be projected on to the side of the Royal Festival Hall and to keep things interesting the projector will be bicycle powered.

“Cycle-In Cinema screens the world premiere of Deva Palmier’s Southbank Unseen, a series of four short documentary dramas that give us an alternative view of the South Bank through the eyes and ears of four extraordinarily gifted individuals: Carolyn Findlay, a clairvoyant; Peter Bleksley, a surveillance detective; John Hutchinson, a twelve-year-old on the high end of the autistic spectrum; and, in the fourth film, Prof. Geraint Rees, who will enlighten us on their three views from his own perspective as a neuroscientist.”


I’ll be going along on the Sunday to see the four mini documentaries being screened together. Make sure to bring along a wireless radio to tune into the sound. It’s going to be quite exciting seeing the finished product in front of an audience.


Click the flyer to see the details or click here.







On the film side of things there’s a project that I’m extremely excited about which is called, “SOUTHBANK UNSEEN“. It’s going to be a collection of short films from the perspective on different people along the Southbank and in tandem it’ll be getting scientific advise from top neuroscientist Geraint Rees. As most of you know one of the jobs I do is that of Film Festival Distribution and it’s a job I thoroughly enjoy. I scout out different festivals all over the world and submit my client’s films into festivals whilst building up dialogues with the programmers and coordinators. I’ve been specifically asked to be involved with this project in that capacity, but I’m also taking on the role of Publicist. What captured my interest about this project is the amazing amounts of how interactive it can be. The approaches to getting it to an audience are limitless because of the variety of the films.


Collectively SOUTHBANK UNSEEN can be marketed as an entire project meaning that they could be entered in to festivals worldwide. There are a higher concentrate of experimental festivals that are art-led and explore installation territory abroad which means we’ll have an ever increasing audience across the board. There are genre specific festivals that call out for documentaries such as DOXA Documentary Film Festival (Canada), One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival (Prague), Sundance Film Festival (USA), Edinburgh International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival (USA), London International Documentary Festival, Sheffield Doc/Fest, the list goes on. All of these are established festivals with opportunities for further distribution that can add more interest to the project and propel it further. This is my job.



SOUTHBANK UNSEEN brings together an amazing team, who are all working for the love:


Deva Palmier an award winning filmmaker, directing.

Fionn Groegor an excellent production manager, producing.

Jes Benstock an award winning filmmaker, co-producing.

Prof. Geraint Rees a world renowned neuroscientist, our scientific adviser.

Karoline Moser an outstanding editor and head of Editing at the Met Film School, editing.

Julian Stewart Lindsay an outstanding composer, who has worked with the best, composing.

Alastair Sirkett a top sound editor, designing the sound.

Marianne Agertoft a top costume designer, taking care of the costumes.

Katie McCullough who is amazing at publicising projects and clued up on international festivals, is publicist.

Nick Ward who has worked on numerous London Consortium TV shoots will be working in the crew.


London Consortium TV are offering to crew the shoot with students and provide the second camera and sound equipment.


The project has so many fantastic people attached and I’m excited for the outcome. Unfortunately (as most people are encountering right now) we had our funding application rejected. With so many brilliantly qualified people involved and everyone passionate about the idea, we were disheartened. But we’ve decided to go ahead and make the films regardless, just on a lot smaller budget than planned. We’re asking for a very small sum of money to be raised via IndieGoGo to cover catering, travel expenses, insurance .etc. The details that people forget are vital to any film shoot. We’ve been lucky enough to get equipment and editing facilities given to us free of charge, now it’s just tying up the loose ends so the project can run as smoothly as we’d like.


For those new to IndieGoGo it’s a donation site that’s international. Similar to WeFund that Box Of Tricks used for Word:Play4, but with this site the total doesn’t have to be reached for the donations to reach the project. There are particular donation amounts which will provide you with either credits, DVDs, private screenings and other quirks. This really is a project that I am excited about, because we’re making it because we want to. We’ve already secured our premiere to be at the BFI as part of the Mayor’s Thames Festival and to have the film screened on the exterior wall of the Southbank Centre and on top of that are in talks for other innovative ways to screen around the Southbank. We’re all invested and more importantly we have an audience already. I can’t divulge the finer details as yet, but when I can it’ll be electric! Please spare what you can, be it £5 up to whatever. Be a part of the collaborative process and help the arts at the same time. It’ll make us happy, you feel good and an audience appreciative of being able to see the finished product. Please share with those that might be able to help.