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Blood + Roses
2010, 78m, drama, horror, thriller
Martin (Kane John Scott) and his wife Jane (Marysia Kay) are taking some time off, trying to put the past behind them, trying to appreciate each other again. But when they get to their holiday cottage, they find that they're got little love left for each other. Jane attracts the attentions of another man, Seth (Benjamin Green), a vampire who sees something that he want in Jane. Jane wants it too, but be careful what you wish for...
After one night with Seth, Jane undergoes a painful transformation. A change that gives her more than she ever thought possible. A change that opens her eyes to
Produced by: Simon Aitken
Cast: Marysia Kay, Kane John Scott, Benjamin Green, Adam Bambrough, Pamela Flanagan
10 questions with Blood + Roses director, Simon Aitken at the half-way mark.
Saturday, June 11th, 2016
1Hi Simon! Thanks for being a part of our 2016 Spring Festival! First, what was the initial inspiration that made you want to make this film? Hi. Thanks for having me. Well, back in 2006 I was making a series of short films, called Monologue Triptych, and I felt I was ready to make a feature film. So I asked Ben Woodiwiss if he would be willing to write a script with me. I didn't have a story, but I knew of a location that I wanted to film in, Merryfield Manor in Liskeard, Cornwall. I had worked on another film that was shot there, and I felt that they didn't use the full potential of the place. Ben and me came up with a story, called The Refuge, but with each rewrite the budget got bigger and bigger. We stopped working on that script, started another one and abondoned that one. I was looking for ideas, when my friend Ashlin-Kumar Joshi gave me one. His idea was about a woman whose husband is dying and one night a vampire knocks on her door and tells her that he can cure her husband. I told Ben this idea and he went away wrote the script, originally called "There Will Be Blood". He took the idea and fleshed it out.
2I think monster films are very interesting. To me it's interesting why someone likes zombie films more than vampire films; or ghost films over werewolf films. So I'm curious what it is that attracts you to vampires? Twilight was coming out and I wanted to do proper Vampires. Not really. Twilight was being made at the same time as us, so I didn't even know they had Vampires that sparkle. I like Monster movies too. I think each monster is a stand in for something else. Zombies can stand in for our fear of disease, werewolves could be our fear of losing of control and vampires can stand in for addiction. It depends on how you use them in the story. And for me it's all about story. In Blood + Roses, Vampires was the best fit. Jane has been traumatised by an event in her life, and becoming a vampire gives her a new lease of life. Something to live for.
3I unfortunately didn't realize this until just recently, but Ben Woodiwiss (who also had a film on our site called Benny Loves Killing) wrote this film. How do you two know each other and what made you two want to work together? We known each other for 10 years now. We first worked togehter on a trilogy of short films called Monologue Triptych. Ben wrote them originally for a musician who wanted to become an actor. They were called the Gary Monologues. For some reason the musician didn't like it, so when I was looking for scripts, Ben offered them to me. Ben even wrote a third part for me, making them a trilogy of stories. It was when I filming these monologues that I asked if Ben would work with me on a feature script, and he said yes. Ben is a great colloborator, full of ideas and open to ideas of others, and very, very funny. It's always a joy working with Ben.
4What was the first scene in the script that you made you realize you had to direct this film? It was actually the last scene of the script that made me realize that I had to direct it. I remember reading it and I nearly fell out of my seat. It was such a perfect ending to the story, and I didn't even see it coming.
5I really loved the opening scene in this film. I totally didn't see that coming. What's your favorite scene in the film and what did it take to get it? I'm glad you loved the opening scene as originally it wasn't in the script. During the editing phase, I realised that we could use a new beginning to the story. So Ben and me came up with a new beginning for the story. I wanted to shine a bit more light on the character of Seth and his search for a partner. We filmed it about a year later.
The scene I enjoyed the most is the dinner scene near the end, when Jane sits down with Ted and Alice. I love the way that Ted and Alice don't realise what danger they are in. I think Marysia is very good in that scene. In the whole film, actually.
6Can you share a war story from the shoot? I remember as we were nearing the end of the shoot, that we had some very long days. There were only the main three actors (Marysia, Kane and Benjamin) on location for most of the shoot. The rest of the actors would travel down to Cornwall from London, do there scenes and go back the next day. We were joined by Adam and Pamela (Ted and Alice) for the last week. We had to get all of their scenes in that week. We did two days in a row that were very long. I remember on the second day we filmed all through the day and when we finished, I thought that was it. I started to relax, but then I had a whole evening to go of filming. That was a tough day, but we got through. I actually kept an online diary of the shoot, which details the events of each day, so there is more stories on my website - http://www.independentrunnings.com/BloodRosesEssay.html
7What's the indie film scene like in the UK? It's blossoming. There are a lot more independent films being made in this country now. Especially now the cost of equipment has come down. You don't have to break the bank to make the film. It's just getting the films seen is the problem. It's easier to get films self distributed in the states then over here.
8What's the film that made you want to become a filmmaker? I have always been a film fan since I was a kid, but to me films were made in Hollywood. It wasn't until I was a night security job that I could realise I coudl be a filmmaker too. I was watching a short film showcase on Channel 4, called the Shooting Gallery. I was watching a short film, the name of which escapes me, and I realised that I could do that too. After that I left my job, went on a filmmaking course, and started working on films. Since then I have devoted myself to filmmaking.
9I thought Marysia Kay did a great job as the lead. How did you two meet, what was it like working together, and what was it about her that made you give her the role? We met on that shoot in Merryfield Manor. The one that I felt didn't use it very well. We stayed in touch since that shoot. When I was auditioning for parts for Blood + Roses, I asked Marysia to sit in with me to do the auditions. I always have an actor with me when I hold auditions. It's so that the actors have someone they can act against. Marysia acted with everybody who turned up, but none of them were as good as she was, so I offered the role to her. She was a bit hesitate at first, as up to this point she only played supporting roles and never the lead, but in the end she said yes. It was good working with Marysia. She even suggested making the seduction scene a lot more sexy. She came to me with Benjamin with her suggestion and I liked the idea a lot. And as they were happy doing it, then I was happy to shoot it.
10What's next? I am currently working on my next feature, called Modern Love. It's an anthology film about dating and romance in contemporary London. It has been called a Rom-thology. I have been at now for 4 years and I am close to finishing. I only have 4 more stories to shoot, so I should be done by the end of the year. Also, Ben has written another script for me, that I hope to start making straight after finishing Modern Love.
About the Interviewer: Ben Hicks
Ben Hicks is a writer/director and co-founder of Fandependent Films. Ben is currently working on making Fandependent Films awesome and is finishing up his first feature film entitled Kids Go Free to Fun Fun Time which was selected for the 2017 IFP Narrative Lab.
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