We’re very happy to announce that the Night of the Horror Fest in Tienen, Belgium, has selected MR CLEAN. This is great news. Congrats to the team and thanks again for selecting our film, with such positive feedback on it. 🙂
The festival is on from the 9th to the 13th November, Barcelona, Spain.
It’s great that the script is doing well on its festival circuit. And thank you to L’HIFF for this great honour. Thanks again also to Karen Keslen’s fantastic art work and tireless work updating the posters.
Years ago, I used to review films. I was more of a critic than a filmmaker sadly. While writing film scripts in my spare time and failing to make my own projects happen, I used to write reviews for a few websites and publications. During that time, I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing a series of short horror film anthology DVDs, namely those as produced by the long running, classic fest – the H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival. And I can tell you that I loved the ambition of these indie no budget adaptations of classic Lovecraft stories. But I doubted, because they were mostly all done so very well, whether I could ever do the same.
For years, I would read and reread the stories, with a view to see if I could adapt an existing tale, but I never seemed to find the right inspiration to make it happen. And yet I very much wanted to – with the dream that perhaps that film might turn out to be good enough to make it into the festival, and so that I would also have an excuse to travel to the US and attend the event; and combine my travels with a bit of a H.P:Lovecraft tour too.
Eventually, the idea for MR CLEAN came about, from an image from a completely different mythos tale of mine, combined with some perplexing true-crime incidents that were the original inspiration for my very own take on such weird fiction. Something that is unfortunately not pure Lovecraftian, for more a ‘riff’ on weird fiction and other contributors to the Mythos. And throughout the creation of the film, that original desire was very much still there – to see if it might one day be good enough.
Now I am so very happy and geeked-out-grateful for MR CLEAN to be an official selection of the very same festival that I once set my sights on! Yes MR CLEAN is an official selection of the 25th H.P.Lovecraft Film Festival!
All festival selections are very much appreciated. Truly. And every award. But getting into this fest has definitely been confirmation of why sometimes it’s ok to dare to dream. Because you might just get what you want!
The only fly in the ointment is that the festival is now online, because of the pandemic. But we get it and wholeheartedly support that decision. It’s just a shame. I shall have to delay my trip to attend in person to another time. ‘Sob!‘
Here’s the details of the Facebook event. it will be online from 2nd to 4th October. And god willing and timezones allowing we will be there! And thanks again!
It was originally written back in 2003, for a dear friend; it was commissioned to help him bring an idea to life where he had difficulty, due to his own dyslexia, in realising the script himself. It was designed for stop-motion, and the idea was – if I remember rightly – that we would pick 7 war poems, each from a different poet / conflict and adapt them, and put them together in an anthology film, and stylistically try to homage the art of the time too. Sadly we didn’t get the project off the ground / produced. Pity. I love stop motion.
So then, my thoughts turned to playing with the narrative, and trying to see where I could take it….
A while after that, I reworked it some more and submitted it to film fests back in 2008 I think. Now, please appreciate that it deals with the horror of a mustard gas attack – something that no human should ever experience. So when it was submitted to a major horror festival, it was a semi-finalist, but ultimately didn’t win. It was “too depressing” – which was the deliberate intention, as War is no picnic. And the horrors that our valiant combatants faced, irrespective of the nationality, was unlike anything else and the World hoped that it would never be repeated. So that year, when the competition picked a comedy horror piece as the winner, stupidly, rather than submit it anywhere else – as I ran into massive debt, with the recession, so funds were extremely limited, and also, I was furious about such a decision, that horror should be upbeat and couldn’t be a downer – it sat in a virtual folder on my computer. Forgotten.
And I think, after that, I just forgot that script competitions were a thing, and assumed there was no point me submitting anything at all. I didn’t stop writing though. Not at all. But it’s a shame that I didn’t handle rejection in a better way and keep battling onwards.
However, over the last couple of years, my thoughts would often turn to Gas! Especially when the centenary tribute to the great war, in 2017 happened and all you saw throughout the media, were great touching tributes and a reappraising of the history behind the conflict and a more human touch to showing the thoughts and fears and sharing the memories of those who served – including the excellent film by Peter Jackson, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD, and then more recently, with its Oscars and BAFTA success, 1917. All so very moving.
Then, when Darwin and I began submitting films to festivals, I started to see others celebrating their success in screenwriting, having not only submitted the films they’d produced to festivals, but also their scripts. And I’m such a dumbass, that I was generally stunned at the idea that yes, you could submit both. Duh! People were still submitting scripts for potential future, festival glory and maybe, I could chance my arm too? Right? – How could I have deprogrammed myself so much, to convince myself that people shouldn’t hear about your writing? Why were produced films more valid? – they weren’t.
So recently, purely to help get over a bit of writer’s block, being burnt out from the day job, when writing too many scripts in such a short time period, I decided to ‘give it a little polish’ and that turned into a full rewrite. When I reread the end result, I thought, maybe this one could go out to a few festivals too… test the waters like…. because, I thought it was worth the risk….
Anyway, sorry for the long story. But I thought it might be worth explaining the context behind the script, both the original idea, why it was forgotten for so long, and then why it has been resurrected. And if it wins somewhere, maybe I’ll share it….
And why the focus on winning?
– I’d kind of like the validation from people who don’t know me, who don’t have to be nice to me, to honestly judge it and hopefully confirm that the years of toil and sweat over it, and the message at the heart of the story were worth it.