The National Newspaper has written an article about John, Worrying Drake and the success of Where Do We Go From Here?
A ROMANTIC comedy produced on a shoestring budget by an independent Scottish company has scooped the top award at a prestigious Australian film festival.
Despite being the first full-length feature film made by Glasgow-based Worrying Drake Productions, Where Do We Go From Here? won Best Film at the Sydney Indie Film Festival along with two other awards.
It picked up eight nominations over seven categories and won Best Score and Best Female Support as well as Best Film.
The film has just had its European and US premieres and the company is hoping it will be chosen by Glasgow Film Festival for its UK premiere next year.
The film was supported by Tartan Features, a filmmaking network in Scotland designed to stimulate, encourage, support and develop the production of micro-budget feature films.
Worrying Drake, which was set up in 2012, raised the £10,000 budget for the film through crowd-funding after achieving a strong fan base through a series of award-winning short films.
WORRYING Drake was set up by Glaswegian John McPhail, who was working with the BBC but wanted to direct his own material.
When news came through that his first full-length effort had won Best Film in Sydney he was stunned.
“I couldn’t believe we had won for our first feature film – we were jumping about in my kitchen going crazy when we heard,” said McPhail. “I would have liked to have been there but we had so much fun in the kitchen I’m kind of glad the way it worked out.”
He added: “We were nominated for all these awards and I thought it was just to make up the numbers, but then the first one came through and that was for best score.
“That made me really happy as we started working on the score before we had even finished writing the film and we chose bands and tracks that really work with the story.”
Four tracks from Glasgow bands Medicine Men and There Will Be Fireworks and singer Christine Bovil were used, with the rest composed by Tyler Collins, also the leading man.
The second award was for 81-year-old Deirdre Murray, who plays a woman with dementia but in reality is as sharp as a tack and practised Tai Chi in her lunch breaks during shoots.
“By the end of the shoot six or seven people were out doing Tai Chi with her,” said McPhail. “She is great in the film; really sweet and appeals to the audience, who see their granny in her.”
THE film won the three awards just after its European and US premieres at the Comedy Cluj International Film Festival in Transylvania and the Orlando Film Festival respectively.
While Sydney was a trip too far and too expensive for the company, members of the cast and crew travelled to Luton for budget flights to Transylvania to see the screening of its European premiere. McPhail confessed he was a bag of nerves at the first screening.
“The Romanian guy in front of me laughed all the way through, which was very encouraging as I was sitting with the sweat running off me,” he admitted.
It was a relief to find the audience reaction was overwhelmingly positive.
“People couldn’t believe it was a Scottish film as they were expecting something gritty and depressing and this is light-hearted and fun,” he said.
“We had done well with our short films which are all romantic comedies so it made sense to continue in that vein. I am not that romantic but I want to make happy films – I want people to enjoy themselves and walk away feeling happy. I don’t want to go to the cinema to be depressed; I want to go to see a film to escape my problems.”
Buoyed by their success, the company want to go on making films and are hoping that Creative Scotland will take notice of them now they have proved what they can do.
“We have applied for funding before but not got anywhere,” said McPhail.
The fact that Worrying Drake has produced four short films and one full-length feature on minimum funds can hardly fail to impress.
Notes, their first short film, won Best Scottish Film Award at its first film festival, the Edinburgh Bootleg Film
A romantic comedy about two flatmates who never see each other yet leave each other post-its around their shared flat, it was filmed over a weekend after McPhail and producer Andrew Lanni pulled in favours from everywhere to gain equipment, locations and crew. Collins was cast in the leading role and also wrote the soundtrack for the film, which was shot in the Greenock flat where John was living.
While Notes was screening to acclaim at film festivals, Worrying Drake were already at work on their second short, V for Visa, a romcom about a singer marrying his band’s stalker in order to keep his visa, stay in the country and keep the band together. This was a slightly more ambitious project than Notes, with more locations, more characters and higher production values, but it also did well on the festival circuit, as did the company’s third short film, Doug & Steve’s Big Holy Adventure.
Just Say Hi was the fourth short film and it won two Virgin Media Shorts Awards – the Tivo Award and the Nikon People’s Choice Award.
The two awards netted £5,000 in Nikon equipment along with another £5,000 for spending on a production – more than the cost of all of the shorts combined.
Funding was still a problem but a crowd-funding campaign met its target of £10,000 for the feature film.
“It’s all been a whirlwind. We’ve not done this before so it is all a bit crazy, but it’s fun and we want to keep going,” said McPhail.
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