Movie screen dreams coming true for Bromley director of new release Community
PUBLISHED: 16:22 14 March 2013 | UPDATED: 16:22 14 March 2013
Think of the movie industry and you might conjure images of vast sets and multi-million pound budgets.
The glitz and glamour is epitomised by the Cannes Film Festival but few of us know about the graft put in by budding film-makers far away from stars walking the red carpets.
Director Jason Ford, of Bromley, released his second feature film, Community, on Monday and is one of thousands of creatives who fought for his dream in what he calls the “marketplace”.
“Cannes is like a circus,” he said. “Anyone who wants to make a film has to go.
“First and foremost it’s a film festival but, beneath that, literally, is 100,000 films being sold. It hits you between the eyes to see what the business is.
“You see your film has already been made 20 times over. I didn’t know whether to be inspired or just feel deflated.”
Despite the lack of funds, Community has since been picked up by US giant distribution company Lionsgate, which crucially will enable it to be seen by a mass audience.
The Essex-born film-maker caught the directing bug while helping friends enrolled at film school and soon penned what was to become his first short in 1997, Simple Minds.
After Sky bought his directorial debut, Jason and business partner Terry Bird’s company New Town Films moved on to its first feature film, which was a frustrating, though successful, process.
“We started to get money for our next film, New Town Original, but what happens is you get people on board and they want to change the script,” said Jason.
“We just wanted to make the film and move on, so we put £15,000 in each and managed to get a 10-screen release, national press and some good reviews.”
From delivering movie reels to cinemas himself, Jason had the experience under his belt to start his next project.
Things were on the up when in 2008 the financial crisis scuppered his plans.
“We had gone back to Cannes and had a really positive reaction, then the game changed because of the banks and that’s the constant problem with this industry.
“Community has been a reactionary project because we had everything right and then lost all control because of the finance crisis.”
Having grown up around estates, Jason drew on his own past and an eerie drive through a north-east London estate at 2am to create his latest release.
The psychological thriller tells the story of two documentary makers who enter an estate ravaged by drugs, where murderous kids run riot.
Jason said: “I was driving home late one night and found myself lost on an estate. It sent shivers up me so much that it formed the nucleus of Community.
“Lots of people can relate to these kinds of estates.”
With money at a minimum, Jason waived his fee and many of the crew worked purely for experience.
Now, with his company considered a success by many in the industry, he looks set to spend more time behind the camera than in front of it.
Community was released on DVD on Monday and is available exclusively to Asda, Amazon and iTunes.
n For more information, visit newtownfilms.co.uk.