IMPRINTs 11th award and COMFORT HIM’s fest latest

IMPRINT – our unproduced dark horror short script picked up its 11th award – for Best Short Horror Script (under 30 pages) – at the Horror Film Awards. That’s huge news! We’re very happy that the script continues to pick up some awards, despite some major A-list festival rejections.

Horror Film Awards - Best Horror Script laurel
Horror Film Awards – Best Horror Script laurel

And despite the films being snubbed by every Scandinavian region festival to date, the 60 second version of COMFORT HIM has been officially selected to the Swedish International Film Festival (SIFF). Double cool! This means that the curse of being ignored by Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish and Estonian fests to date has officially ended. It doesn’t mean they won’t reject again. But it’s huge. Also, as this fest has a live screening planned in October for the winners, you can bet your butt that we’d love to get a chance to be invited to screen COMFORT HIM in front of a live festival audience – which would technically be the Swedish premiere. So fingers cross we win.

There’s more news coming… so watch this space.

SVEN GUNNAR premiere- coming very soon

For all those people who’ve been following the Blog long enough to know what SVEN GUNNAR is, I”ve got some great news for you. Well two things actually.

  1. SHORT FILM youtube premiere – As the film festival run is almost complete. Darwin is releasing the short film on YouTube. Click on the link below to book a place for the premiere. It will also be released on Instagram and Facebook.
Click above to set a reminder for the premiere of SVEN GUNNAR

2. Feature film – secondly, there now exists a SVEN GUNNAR feature film script. At long last, after hinting at working on the plot for a while, and being blocked on it, I have a feature length script.

It wasn’t easy. For one, I had to write it around my day job. For another, I still had a massive gaping plot hole. But needs must, and I had to get this done now or risk pushing other planned projects behind. I almost gave up a few times, due to exhaustion, sickness, and work pressures. But it was important to see if I could get it done in 30 days and replot the end of the 2nd act and start of the 3rd act to make it work, to hit my self-imposed deadline of doing the script in 30 days. And I had to get it done now to clear the decks for other things.

I failed the 30 days part. Had to take a day off due to sickness, and then completed it on the 31st day. But it’s done now.

And it definitely feels like its grown beyond the original short proof-of-concept.

SVEN GUNNAR movie poster
SVEN GUNNAR movie poster with laurels

Future of SVEN GUNNAR?

Who knows. For now, I have to get well, then move onto other things, and revisit it when I have some clarity on what works and what doesn’t work from a structural perspective. But also, now I can wait and see what people think of the vomit draft, to see how much appetite there is to take this script further and to find out what people love about it and what doesn’t work / needs fixing. And to have a few discussions about when, if and how we’re making it.

SVEN GUNNAR feature Title page

The script is currently treading a fine line between Slasher film and Action Thriller genres. It wasn’t planned, but it’s how these things can sometimes change course in the writing – especially when your characters start getting inventive when put under pressure. It’s also completely beyond the original no budget roots of the original short above. It will require a reasonable budget to proceed as currently written. But I think the script definitely delivers plenty of thrills and spills, as well as an entertaining body count.

The other thing is that I have a good choice of 13 potential names for the feature. I was never really much of a fan of the name SVEN GUNNAR to tell the truth. It’s different. But it doesn’t really hint at the content / tone and genre of the piece. But we’ve got some corkers, with one potential strong contender / early favourite to consider for the future.

However, I may yet scale it back a bit, take it more into horror territory in the next draft. But for now, I’m happy that another goal has been achieved for this year. And that people can finally see the short above, and we can find out if despite its flaws, is there an appetite for a feature?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. Click on the link above and enjoy the short!

#svengunnar #svengunnarmovie #shortfilm #horrorfilm #featurefilm #slasher #serialkillermovie

Trailer for LOVELY TO MEET YOU is released

Last night, the trailer for LOVELY TO MEET YOU went live. This was the short film that I co-wrote and co-produced with Darwin, and we shot it in Barcelona last December.

Michael wants a plaything for the night. But may have misjudged the motivations of the best looking girl at the bar. 

Watch the trailer for LOVELY TO MEET YOU

LOVELY TO MEET YOU is a dark, cautionary tale about one night stands, and why you should be careful about what you drink and who to talk to; especially in a city where holiday romances might not last and a heart can be bought very cheaply…

Darwin and Rinat hold the poster
Darwin and Rinat hold the promotional poster for LOVELY TO MEET YOU

The film was scheduled to have its cast and crew premiere screening in Barcelona in April. Currently this is cancelled, awaiting rescheduling, due to the coronavirus / quarantine / travel situation in Spain.

Production info:

Directed by Darwin Reina
Written by Darwin Reina & Lee Bailes


Produced by:

Featuring music by Flora Cheng and Aaryan Shah

Sound Design by Luca De Sensi and cinematography from Fabian Yezid Rojas Villamizar and Lee Bailes.

If you want to read about the making of the film, here’s a link to the Shoot Diary: LOVELY TO MEET YOU

#LovelyToMeetYouFilm #LovelyToMeetYouMovie #shortfilm #horrormovie

MR CLEAN – cast and crew screening

Screening poster
Premiere screening event poster

We finally had our Swedish cast and crew screening premiere for MR CLEAN and SVEN GUNNAR! After a very long wait indeed to find such a venue, we finally got to have our premiere at the Zita Folkets Bio, here in Stockholm.

I had already managed to go to the venue and test the DCP for MR CLEAN a few days earlier, So that was done. And I’d taken an order of posters, so my one main mission of the day was just to get those posters signed by the cast and crew that were in attendance. Weirdly I just wanted the screening to be over before it began. I don’t know why. I’m guessing that It has been so long since we made these films and been hunting for a venue to hold this screening, that It was just a thing that I was helping put on for others. I’d even considered not attending myself, which is crazy. Selfish I guess. But gatherings are stressful to me generally. Was it pre-show nerves?

However, I am so glad that I did attend. And it was so nice to see all that came and to spend a night celebrating what we achieved with the cast and crew of both films that could be there. But it was hard work, trying to say hit to everyone (apologies if I was all over the place) and conduct interviews and make sure I collared everyone to sign a poster and also arrange the screenings themselves. Never mind, then trying to introduce the films in the best way – especially to those who were not involved in the making of them and also those who don’t know what to expect. Thanks to Johnny and Hasse for also doing their bit to explain the films.

It was amazing to spend time with all of these amazing individuals together, to reminisce and discuss the future; as well as to share that with our friends, outside of the filmmaking world. I genuinely wished the entire teams for both films could have been together, but sadly that wasn’t the case. But there was a great showing nonetheless. However, it was a hot, tiring event and I was really exhausted the next day. But everyone seemed to enjoy the event too. 🙂

The thing that I would have really liked to have gone better, was coordinating getting people into the screening. There were only a small number of seats. Luckily I think only 4 people didn’t get seats / to see the films. All they had to do was ask and we would have put the films on for a third time, but we did only screen both films twice, to full screenings, including a few standing throughout. It was just a bit messy when I got distracted and let a few too many try and get into the first screening, so they all had to wait for the next one.

It was nice that I think around 76 people were there – which is amazing for short film previews. But if there wasn’t any coronavirus concerns, it would have been interesting to see how many might have shown up otherwise.

And for those who were not in attendance, here’s what I tried to say about the films, before they were screened:

Thank you all for coming here tonight to see two short horror films made in Sweden. Both self-funded – with talented teams, working for free! MR CLEAN is first. SVEN GUNNAR is next – showing back-to-back.

MR CLEAN is my fun, weird, short, based on real news articles about people breaking into houses and cleaning them. A tribute to HP Lovecraft, designed to be shot, with no budget, a tiny team and limited resources.

SVEN GUNNAR is the real Midsommar Murders, shot in Hälsingland, a serial killer film with a twist. Just who is kidnapping girls and murdering them… and why?

Firstly, it’s ok to laugh! They’re meant to be fun.

  • For MR CLEANThanks to: 
    • Darwin – for making me do it – and not letting me quit. 
    • to Rinat – who did any crazy thing we asked!
    • to Terese – for doing the things I asked Darwin to do, 
    • Also to Sofie – the entire cast and crew – for trusting us. 
    • And to Suss, for letting me cover our house in fake blood. 🙂
    • The whole cast and crew and special friends helped me get theough it
    • Thanks to Johnny – my snuskit murdering cocktail drinking friend – and Darwin / maestro for seeing the film through, no matter what!
    • Thanks to Hasse for being the real life and soul of the shoot and a true horror fan
    • Thanks to Emma and Alicia for trusting that we weren’t really killing people… for real
    • Thanks to Sven and Mirja for welcoming us and looking after us – and showing us the real Hälsingland hospitality
    • And the entire cast and crew – you were so generous

Everyone made huge contributions! They were great teams and they’re now great friends.

These films will always be special. A lot of blood sweat and tears to finish them. Thanks to all that helped make them, to those who couldn’t make it and for those that came to see them tonight – thank you all! Enjoy!

Oh and thanks for my Rose 🌹! 

Big love ❤️

Please note: I don’t specifically mention other key people in the team, only because they weren’t present at the time. They were very much in my heart, and time was limited. But without them, we would not have pulled this off.

I really want to thank the staff at Zita for a great event. Thank you so much for allowing us to hold this event and allowing us to display our posters and fill the place with people. it was a great event and the films looked amazing on your screen. 🙂

Thanks to Rinat Iljin for filming the event. Thanks to Sami Arous and Moa Liverstam for all photos. Thanks to Darwin and Johnny and Dana for collectively helping to pull this off. And thanks again to all who came and to all who praised the films. 🙂