British Independent Film Awards 2016: The Debut Screenwriters Long List

2:30 AM 10/19/2016

by Alex Ritman

A closer look at the 16 titles — and 19 individuals — competing for the five nomination spots in the new category for first-time feature writing talent.

Nick Wall/Pathé

The British Independent Film Awards – commonly known as the BIFAs – return to London this December.

To celebrate the addition of several new categories aimed at highlighting new and emerging names, The Hollywood Reporter has teamed with the organizers ahead of the official nominations next month to profile those who have made it onto the nominee longlists.

The new debut screenwriter category showcases a wealth of talent, with an eclectic array of offerings ranging from violent, kebab shop thrillers to post-apocalypic zombie nightmares all the way up to Meryl Streep- and Hugh Grant-starring blockbusters.

  • 'Adult Life Skills'

    Rachel Tunnard, writer/director

    Credit: Producers

    After working as an editor on film and TV, Tunnard – a BAFTA "Brit to Watch" – made the move to the director's seat for her 2015 BAFTA-nominated short Emotional Fusebox, which ended up becoming the pilot for her first feature. Adult Life Skills, a comedy about a young women refusing to move out of her mother's shed and starring Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, Attack the Block), debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the the Nora Ephron Prize.

    What was your biggest "I don't believe it" moment while making the film?

    There’s too many – the realization that all those people were there to help me make something that I had invented in my pajamas… that I was being allowed to make a film with lots of my friends and family in it… the sinking realization that not everyone’s hair goes frizzy in the rain, the point in the edit when I realized I wasn’t going to be totally embarrassed about the film at the end.

    What has been your career high so far?

    My dad, rehearsing for his role as the 'pub landlord who plays the recorder’, on his own on the Yorkshire Moors, practicing "Morning has Broken" in full Wicker Man type costume while we set up the shot. He said hikers were walking past him and giving him a look that said they thought he was into "weird dogging."

    What are you working on right now?

    A buddy breakup road-movie produced by Duck Soup for Film 4 and a couple of TV projects for Channel 4 and eOne.

  • 'Away'

    Roger Hadfield, writer

    Credit: Producers

    Two kindred spirits form an unlikely friendship in Roger Hadfield's first feature script — a story of love, loss and hope played out against the backdrop of the British seaside town of Blackpool — with an Oscar-nominated cast in Timothy Spall and Juno Temple. The film, directed by David Blair, had its world premiere at this year's Edinburgh International Film Festival where it was nominated for The Michael Powell Award. It was also in competition at Festival du Film Britannique de Dinard where it won the President du Jury Award.

    Why do you make movies?

    I write scripts, if they get made into movies… great. I never sit down thinking this is a movie, when I sit down to write it’s always because I have questions that I need answers to.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Can I pick two? Bruce Robinson, he’s so versatile — I’d love to read his draft of High Rise. And Guillermo Arriaga, reading his stuff always inspires me.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    When I first met Juno on set. Suddenly, Ria, this character I’d invented and been thinking about for four years, was living and breathing and it blew me away.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    I’d love to do a biopic of Adam and the Ants. I’ve written a script, so you never know.

  • 'The Chamber'

    Ben Parker, writer-director

    Credit: Producers

    Ben Parker followed up his first short Shifter, which played at Fantastic Fest, with this feature debut as writer and director starring Johannes Bah Kuhnke in his first role since his breakout performance in Force Majeure.

    StudioCanal picked up U.K. rights to The Chamber, a Welsh-made suspense thriller set in a submarine in North Korean waters.

    When an explosion causes the sub to overturn and take on water, the crew begins to understand that not all of them will escape and a fight for survival ensues.

    Why do you make movies?

    The women in my family are all amazing storytellers. I think my love of a good story must’ve been instilled in me by them and my love of movies from being spellbound by the cinema experience. I can’t remember a time I didn’t want to be part of that magic and that storytelling (it just took me a while to get there).

    Which filmmaker do you admire the most and why?

    Kubrick, Hitchcock, Peckinpah, Hawkes, The Coen Brothers. I wont be able to name them all, so a specific admiration would go to someone like Rian Johnson. Getting Brick made on a shoestring and going from that to Looper and now being able to command something as massive as Star Wars is something I can’t help but look at with admiration.

    In your career to date what's been your biggest "I can't believe it" moment?

    We needed a shot for one of my shorts that was supposed to be ‘snowscape’. The producers had moved heaven and earth but it just wasn’t going to happen. We decided it would have to be just ‘landscape’, but then, the night before shooting, snow fell in blankets. I was worried I might have used up my favors from the film Gods there but then I got the feature, and any time I see the film, on the big screen I really can’t believe it

    Do you have a passion project you're determined to work on?

    I’m passionate about the projects I’m working on now (a haunted house film and WWII story) but there’s a script I keep coming back to again and again that’s always been too big budget to ever consider (a fantasy about a Samurai in the mountains) which I really hope I can do… one day.

  • 'Florence Foster Jenkins'

    Nicholas Martin, writer

    Nick Wall/Pathé

    After an eclectic early career (croupier, laborer, bouncer, barman, deck hand and yacht captain), Nicholas Martin started writing for British TV in early '90s, winning a BAFTA for the series Between the Lines. A few years ago, he struck gold with the story of Florence Foster Jenkins, the American socialite whose dreams of becoming a great opera singer in the 1940s were let down only by her terrible voice. Pathe jumped aboard the hot project, with Stephen Frears directing and Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant joining the cast. Martin is next lined up to write the screenplay for The Duke, another real-life tale with Pathe, which centers on a 57-year-old bus driver who stole Goya's portrait of the Duke of Wellington from London's National Gallery.

    Why do you make movies?

    The audience! I make movies for the audience. People need a lift at the end of a tough week. Entertainment is important.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    IAL Diamond, Ernest Lehman, Robert Towne, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Bolt and Billy Wilder are all writers that I admire but if I had to single a writer out it would be David Seidler. His script for The King's Speech is testament to his talent — but his twenty year battle to get it made made is testament to his indefatigability.  

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    It doesn't get much better than being told that Meryl Streep has said, "yes."

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    The script I am currently writing is always my passion project.

  • 'The Ghoul'

    Gareth Tunley, writer-director

    Courtesy of Primal Pictures

    As an actor, Gareth Tunley — who started out as a live comedy performer — appeared in cult Channel 4 comedy Peep Show and the BBC's Pulling, as well as in Ben Wheatley's early titles Down Terrace and Kill List. The Ghoul, in which a detective goes undercover as a patient to investigate a psychotherapist linked to a strange double murder, marks his feature writing and directing debut.

    Why do you make movies?

    To explore my possibly unhealthy obsessions and to take revenge on the audience for my various hang ups!

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Surely no-one's written a script where every word counts better than George Gallo’s Midnight Run. "I got two words for you. Shut the f--- up." Now that is economy of writing.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    Performing a comedy show and it going so badly I had to buy the audience drinks. I wish I was making that up. It’s a long (but true) story.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    It involves criminal gangs, witchcraft, Catholic concepts of redemption, London’s East End, misty forests, folk music, Faraday cages and magical lock breaking! Just need a budget...

  • 'The Girl With All the Gifts'

    Mike Carey, writer

    Festival del film Locarno

    A noted comic and novel writer, Mike Carey has worked for both DC and Marvel, including critically-acclaimed runs on the Lucifer and X-Men series. The Girl with All the Gifts, which became a word-of-mouth bestseller before Carey wrote a screenplay from his own book, is set in a near future where much of humanity has been wiped out by a deadly disease that turns people into zombie-like "hungries."

    Was it a huge leap moving from comic books to screenplays?

    The switch from comic books was very hard, because a screenplay looks very like a comic script but functions very differently. I had to unlearn a lot of things before I could make a decent stab at it.

    After an amazing career in comic books, is filmmaking the next avenue for you or do you plan to juggle the two?

    Actually I'm juggling three careers at this point because prose writing is very much in the mix too. I hope I'll be able to continue to work in all three media. It's kind of an insulation against the ever-present danger of getting stuck in a rut and recycling the same story endlessly. Every medium is a unique toolbox, so if you're writing in lots of different media you're constantly having to change perspective. It's good for you, as a writer, to do that.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    I'm a huge fan of the Coen brothers, who seem to be able to work in any genre imaginable and always find something new to say after thirty years and more than twenty films. I love their ventures into surrealism, but I also love the stories they play straight. And they handle tonal shifts with incredible skill and delicacy. It's a rare gift to be able to modulate from comedy to tragedy without losing your audience along the way.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    Probably the moment when Camille [Gatin, producer] called me to say that Glenn Close was reading The Girl With All the Gifts. For the record, I still don't believe that, even though I've now seen the movie 14 times.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on (or another of your comics or novels you'd love to bring to screen)?

    I wrote a comic a long while ago called My Faith In Frankie. It was about a teenage girl who has her own personal god who looks out for her and performs small, bespoke miracles for her. It was the first time I'd written anything that you could call a comedy, or anything that you could call a romance, and it worked better than I could have hoped. I'd love to turn that into a movie.

  • 'The Greasy Strangler'

    Jim Hosking, writer-director, and Toby Harvard, writer

    Courtesy of Sundance Institute

    Jim Hosking – who started out directing for MTV in New York and London – teamed with Toby Harvard, a London-based "fetish screenwriter and fetish photographer," to write this uncomfortable comedy of love, gore, grease and murder. The film – Hosking's feature length directorial debut – bowed at Sundance, with it being lovingly described as "2016's most disgusting movie."

    Why do you make movies?

    Jim Hosking: I have been obsessed with films since I was a child. Watching a film takes me out of real life. Making films, I can create an alternative reality where I feel more comfortable and secure than I do in the real world. Also it’s fun to make films. Watching a film that you have made with an audience is, however, a disturbing, harrowing, haunting experience that brings you back into real life to the power of 1,000. So, it’s swings and roundabouts really.

    Toby Harvard: I kinda like movies, so sue me!

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Hosking: I get most excited by David Lynch’s scripts. I want to feel when I watch a film. And nobody makes me feel harder than David Lynch. I also have a soft spot for Wallace and Gromit...

    Harvard: Harold Pinter. An absolute maestro of bleakly comic suspense. His dialogue is spectacular. Nobody else comes close.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    Hosking: I couldn’t believe it when Michael St Michaels, my lead actor on The Greasy Strangler, opened his mouth to deliver his first line in the first take of the first scene on day one of my first movie, and his false teeth fell out.

    Harvard: The fact that a script existed about a madman covered in grease and contained a five-page scene where the only dialogue was variations on "bullshit artist" not only got made, but released and seen by people ... completely unbelievable.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    Hosking: Well, I find it hard to shake the idea that I should make a very serious, shattering, provocative adult film because I always thought that’s what "making film"' was all about. But at the moment I am trying to relinquish all preconceptions and just ride the buzz when I’m writing. I currently want to write a film with no dialogue starring an immobile man stuck in his bed in a remote house by a cliff. But that may change.

    Harvard: I have an idea about a lion I'm very excited about.

  • 'K-Shop'

    Dan Pringle, writer-director

    Credit: Producers

    Writer and director Dan Pringle relocated from London to the British seaside to set up White Lantern Films with producer Adam Merrified and make "thematically engaging independent feature films." K-Shop is their debut, a bloody black comedy in which a son takes over the family kebab shop and violently turns against the drunken customers who had been waging war on his father.

    Why do you make movies?

    Making films is a long drawn out, hard affair so I see little reason for investing so much time and resource if the net outcome fails to move or change an audience even in the most intricate of ways. As a result, I put my all into every moment of craft and conception in an effort to turn people’s worlds upside down. Life’s too short to waste two years entertaining someone for two hours only for them to forget it in two minutes!

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Good strong writers don’t get enough credit in this industry. I know Michael Arndt indirectly and I’m a big fan of how authentic his films are. As far as I’m concerned, Toy Story 3 is as near perfect a demonstration of emotional structure you’re ever likely to find.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    One that comes to mind is when Jessica Hynes got in touch out of the blue to request a K-Shop screener. I’m a massive Spaced fan so I emailed it through straight away and no less than two hours later she messaged back with the opening statement “F’ing brilliant”. We're now talking about potentially developing something together which is pretty cool.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    I’d love to be the one that finally (and successfully) brings the untouched Lovecraftian behemoth that is Chthulu to the screen. I’ve been haunted for some time by the idea of making a grandiosely foreboding creature movie in which the creature is never seen.

  • 'The Levelling'

    Hope Dickson Leach, writer-director

    Credit: Producers

    After assisting Todd Solondz on Palindromes and seeing her Columbia University thesis film selected for Sundance, Hope Dickson Leach came back to the U.K., making short works for Channel 4, Film London and the National Theater of Scotland. Her debut feature as both writer and director, The Levelling, bowed at the Toronto Film Festival and sees a young women return to the family farm after her brother's suicide. Leach recently won the inaugural IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award of £50,000 ($61,000) for her next film, presented in association with the BFI.

    Where did the story for The Levelling come from?

    I wanted to make a story about a family who didn’t communicate properly and what it would take to change that. Having made several short films about grief, I find the space immediately after someone dies is potent, and that’s the space I wanted to explore. After a crisis, what happens? How can you respond and possibly change your patterns so you don’t repeat the crisis again? This was the beginning of the family drama, and finding the right setting for the story was just as important.

    Which scriptwriter do you most admire?

    As a writer-director I tend to be drawn to the same, and Michael Haneke and Ingmar Bergman are probably the people I return to again and again to be in the presence of masters. Profound, real, cinematic, theatrical, it’s all there. They create not just unforgettable stories and characters, but explore what film can be — both in its effect on society and its reflection of society, but also in its relationship with transcendence and life beyond the screen.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    I got kissed by Cate Blanchett last week when I won the IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI! That was pretty extraordinary.

  • 'The Library Suicides'

    Fflur Dafydd, writer

    Credit: Producers

    Already an award-winning novelist and accomplished TV writer, Fflur Dafydd's film debut The Library Suicides (Y Llyfrgell in Welsh), based on her own book, won the best performance in a British feature award in Edinburgh. An offbeat thriller, the film follows two twins as they look to avenge the death of their mother at the National Library of Wales, where a night porter is unwittingly dragged into the saga. 

    Why do you make movies?

    I have always been enchanted by the enormity and power of film as a medium, and the emotional impact it has on people. Film is accessible — stories can be told in any language, in any way, and as a writer working bilingually, that’s an exciting prospect.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    As a young woman I fell in love with the script of Heathers. I still feel I haven’t seen anything quite like it – so offbeat, funny, dark and charming. So it would have to be Daniel Waters, for that one particular gem.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    Hearing that I finally had funding to make my first feature – and that I would achieve my lifelong ambition of making a film with the fabulous director Euros Lyn.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    I have always wanted to write a thriller linking Wales and the Welsh to the Sami People in Northern Norway. I hope to find a way to make it happen…

  • 'Mindhorn'

    Simon Farnaby, Julian Barratt, writers

    Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL

    Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby — known to legions in the U.K. as stars of the cult TV comedy show The Mighty Boosh — came together again to write Mindhorn, a farcical satire about a MI5 special operative who was captured in the late 1980s and had his eye replaced by a super-advanced optical lie detector, which meant he could literally "see the truth." The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival and boasts Ridley Scott and Steve Coogan among its exec producers, with Coogan, Kenneth Branagh and Simon Callow making brief cameos as themselves. Farnaby spoke to The Hollywood Reporter.

    Why do you make movies?

    You have a chance to amend reality. Real life has a way of providing very unsatisfactory narratives.

    Which filmmaker do you admire the most?

    Krzysztof Kieslowski. When I was a student I saw Three Colours Red in a cinema, and I felt like a different person when I came out. He was capable of incredible pathos and humor. I don't know what he would have made of Mindhorn.

    In your career to date, what's been your number one "I can't believe it" moment?

    When I saw the callsheet for Mindhorn and realized someone was actually going to let us make it.

    Do you have a passion project that you're determined to work on?

    Stuntman Clive: The Early Years

  • 'My Feral Heart'

    Duncan Paveling, writer

    Credit: Producers

    Beginning as a music assistant and working on the likes of Hilary and Jackie and Inspector Morse, Duncan Paveling ultimately joined David Frost's Magnet Pictures, helping develop a number of projects with the then-U.K. Film Council. Since leaving Magnet he's turned to screenwriting, and with the hugely well-received My Feral Heart tells the hard-hitting and warm-hearted story of a young man with Down's syndrome suddenly thrown into a daunting new environment. The film premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

    Why do you make movies?

    To be able to blend the telling of important stories with entertainment is what attracts and inspires me as a writer; to give a voice to those that may not usually be heard, whilst allowing people to experience and emphathize with the lives of others; perhaps even challenge perceptions and provide hope, or at least a momentarily escape.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Just one? This is tough, as there are so many influences over the years, from John Michael Hayes, David Mamet, Melissa Mathison, Paul Laverty, Jaco Van Dormael, Tom McCarthy, Tom Stoppard, Alan Bennett, Paddy Considine, Jonathan Nolan, Stephen King, Frank Cottrell Boyce, William Shakespeare, Paul Thomas Anderson, Richard Linklater, Terence Malick, Frank Darabont, Frank Capra, Guillermo Del Toro, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Haggis, Tony Gilroy, Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin, I could go on and on and on...

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    Without question the first day of shooting My Feral Heart. On the first day of filming in (a cold, in fact freezing) barn in the South East of England, I stood back, watching our amazing cast and crew at work, whilst Steven our lead actor shot his first few scenes. There was a definite moment that gave me an "I can't believe it!" at the point Steven first discovers the barn, it was just how I'd imagined it and full credit to our director of photography Susanne Salavati and our lighting/production design team too. People were literally walking around my head, in an almost Being John Malkovich moment.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a book I'd dearly love to adapt, a life-changing piece for me and one that I feel could be a real challenge but if able to capture its essence, could be something special, as it's a beautiful and honest story, with an incredibly universal appeal.

  • 'The Pass'

    John Donnelly, writer

    Credit: Producers

    Already an acclaimed playwright, John Donnelly took his story of a closeted gay soccer player from stage at London's Royal Court to screen. Lionsgate jumped aboard the The Pass, set across three hotel rooms over 12 years, which opened the London LGBT film festival, BFI Flare.

    Why do you make movies?

    Probably because of the romantic gesture of going to the cinema growing up. The ritual of cinema, the darkness, engrossing yourself in another world, all of that.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Right now I’d say Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, which captures the inarticulacy of deep feeling wonderfully. Robert Towne’s Chinatown screenplay is incredible - a complex story distilled to something very simple and primal and unsettling. Bruce Robinson’s screenplay for Withnail and I is a joy from start to finish. Never a bad line. I love Walter Campbell’s screenplay for Under the Skin. Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley’s screenplay for Free Fire is a blast. But ask me another day, I’d give you entirely different answers.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    The Pass opening the BFI Flare festival at the Leicester Square Odeon. Photographers, hangers on, the mix of friends and families and personalities using the occasion to be seen. The beautiful and absurd pageant of that. It was brash, loud, meaningless and wonderful. I loved it.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    Yeah, my next one – a science fiction feature I’m developing with Sally El Hosaini and Camilla Bray at Sixteen Films. I’m determined to work on that. Although the internet and my 3-year-old son frequently get in the way.

  • 'The Passing (Yr Ymadawiad)'

    Ed Talfan, writer

    Credit: Producers

    Already a producer and co-creator on the BBC drama series Hinterland, Ed Talfan's first feature screenplay won him the best writer gong at BAFTA's Welsh awards. The Passing sees two young lovers plunged into a lost world after crashing their car in the remote mountains of Wales and being dragged from a river by a mysterious figure. Talfan is currently working with producer David Aukin on a feature film Denmark, due to shoot next year.

    Why do you make movies?

    Films make me happy. They always have. Even the sad ones.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    I'd have to go with Woody Allen. In my early 20s I was unwell for a period and spent nine months camped on my parents' sofa watching everything he'd ever made. I think Annie Hall and Manhattan — films he co-wrote with Marshall Brickman — probably saved my life!

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    The first day of filming on The Passing. I'd spent so many years in development, I couldn't quite believe we'd finally made it to production! The biggest thrill was actually watching the first day's rushes. I watched them on my own late at night and I remember feeling very emotional — a mixture of excitement and relief! If I could bottle one moment, it would probably be that.

    Do you have a passion project that you are determined to work on?

    My eldest son has autism. When he was diagnosed it felt like the whole world had been turned on its head. The experience we went through as a family was painful but also kind of incredible. The more I talk to other families who have been through the same experience, the more I want to write about the whole process of diagnosis and how it tests and challenges families. And how it can sometimes be the making of them too.

  • 'A Patch of Fog'

    John Cairns and Michael McCartney, writers

    Courtesy of Toronto International Film Festival

    John Cairns and Michael McCartney first started working together at Belfast writers group Screenwriters.ink, collaborating on a number of feature film screenplays and TV shows. Their first project to be produced, A Patch of Fog – a thriller in which a creepy security guard blackmails a wealthy kleptomaniac – had its world premiere in Toronto. Their latest screenplay, Throwdown, is a thriller set in Sydney currently being produced by Morgan Bushe.

    Why do you make movies?

    We make movies primarily to entertain people. Maybe it’s an Irish thing, but we just love telling good yarns.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    David Webb Peoples (Unforgiven), John Brancato and Michael Ferris (The Game) and Louis Mellis and David Scinto (Sexy Beast) fill us with a delicious sense of writers envy. We're also huge fans of David Milch (Deadwood, NYPD Blue). His lecture, "The Idea of the Writer," was a game changer for us. It taught us more about screenwriting (and life!) than anything we had ever come across.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one “I can’t believe it” moment?

    We have suffered a lot of “I can’t believe it” moments along the way, mostly in the form of rejections. And like a lot of frustrated writers, we coped with these "but unfortunately" letters by wailing to the heavens and drowning our sorrows in beer. But we have also enjoyed a lot of “I can’t believe it” highs as well: getting our first screenplay optioned, signing with an agent and visiting the set of A Patch of Fog to watch Stephen Graham and Conleth Hill work their magic, to name but a few. But our No. 1 “I can’t believe it” moment is without a doubt when we sat in a darkened, full house cinema and watched A Patch of Fog for the first time on the big screen.      

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    We would love to get a great big, long-form TV show made. We are huge fans of The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Deadwood, Boardwalk Empire and Mad Men. These shows are breathtakingly brilliantly written. We are working on one of our own at the moment (Our Father, the tale of a psychopath who impersonates a priest and takes over a small Irish village). It’s a passion project that’s been on our desk for years. But as David Milch says, “visions come to prepared spirits,” so all we can do is try and stay prepared.

  • 'Tiger Raid'

    Mick Donnellan, Simon Dixon and Gareth Coulam Evans

    Credit: Producers

    Irish playwright and novelist Mick Donnellan teamed with Simon Dixon and Gareth Coulam Evans to co-write Tiger Raid from his own stage production, Radio Luxembourg, in which two cold blooded mercenaries form an unlikely bond while on a covert mission. Dixon also directed the film, starring Brian Gleeson (Assassin's Creed), Damien Molony (Kill Your Friends) and Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond, The Mummy), with Evans producing. Tiger Raid had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.

    Why do you make movies?

    Simon Dixon: We can't sing, and neither of us can play football. … In all seriousness, it’s a consuming passion, a love affair with a savage but wonderful mistress.

    Which scriptwriter do you admire the most and why?

    Mick Donnellan: Aaron Sorkin. Because rhythm, sound and tone of language are more prominent than the words in his writing, so once you’re finished enjoying how it sounds, there’s always another feast of meaning to look forward to.

    In your career to date, what’s been your number one "I can’t believe it" moment?

    Donnellan: Heading to Jordan for the shoot of Tiger Raid.

    Do you have a passion project that you’re determined to work on?

    Donnellan: I want to write, produce and shoot the movie of my first novel El Nino.

    Dixon and Gareth Coulam Evans: Our next film, Snow Blind, a psychological thriller set in China. We’re co-writing, Gareth will produce and Simon will direct. We’re working on it now to shoot next year.

    Three scriptwriters on one film is fairly unusual — how did it work on this way and what was your process?

    We adapted the film from an early draft of a stage play Mick was writing. The process was very open source; collaborative and brutal. None of us had written a screenplay before, so we had to back each other and take a leap together.

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