I found Keith after failing to find an IADF contributor during seven days searching the net for filmmakers in Hull, and further afield in Yorkshire. He replied on Thursday evening and 36 hours later we were sitting chatting in my car in the Beaconsfield Travelodge car park!
Rent or buy this film. Definitely.
He wrote it at the end of 2009, cast it following auditions in several locations around Yorkshire in 2010, shot it over 9 days (though he had hoped to do it in 5) and cut it in his own edit suite.
For a film that was shot and directed by the same person, handheld on a Canon 7D, mostly with available light, it’s very good. But then Keith’s an editor. That means he’s got the experience assembling sequences and knows the shots he’ll require to make the sequences in his film work.
Harold has a disease called ORD – the symptoms of which manifest only in men and include increasing stiffness throughout the body, loss of mental faculties and, over time, the appearance of irrational aggression.
The media uses the word ‘zombie’ as a shorthand way to refer to the disease and the behaviour of men who are infected. The film charts the growing friendship and dependency between Harold and his nursing carer Penny.
Keith ran open casting sessions at several locations to find his actors. Stan Rowe, whom Keith had worked with before, plays Harold Gimble and Scottish actress Sarah Spencer, as Penny Rudge, plays opposite him. Both performances are really strong.
He says a fair amount of improvisation was required in the film – resulting in a good deal of footage on the cutting room floor – but it pays off and complements the character observation.
The film’s shown at more than 20 festivals. At the outset, it very quickly began getting festival invites after some strong and positive feedback, and has gone on to win lots of awards.
Highlights for Keith were Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn International Film Festival and Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival (both 2011), where he met and dined with George A Romero (dir. Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, etc).
At the Austin Film Festival 2011, the film won Best Narrative Feature. Accepting the award, Keith found himself sitting in a room along with Johnny Depp, John Lasseter and Robert Rodriguez!
Keith and producer Richard Guy went to Cannes for four consecutive years to soak up the atmosphere and get a feel for the hot topics. It worked for them and were picked up by UK distributors, High Fliers.
He’s an interesting guy, is Keith (that’s my attempt at some Yorkshire patois). Check out some of his earlier work below, especially Keith’s dad Keith. How many of us could get our Dad to present a show like this? I get the impression his Dad’s the one who’s pushing for it, though!
By day Keith’s an editor. He works on corporates and some commercials. Oh, and his own films, too. The fact he’s an editor can be seen in his own films where there’s very little flab. You can find out more at Frisson Films and his personal siteKeith Wright.