LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview With Oliver Frampton Director Of The Forgotten
By James Whittington, Friday 22nd August 2014

The forgottenStarring Shaun Dingwall and Clem Tibber, The Forgotten is showing today on Discovery Screen 1 at FrightFest.

This superb and eerie film contains a slow burning narrative that builds into a gripping pay off. We've been lucky enough to chat to the film's co-writer and director Oliver Frampton about this cracking film and his plans for the future.

HC: What inspired you to write The Forgotten?

OF: I co-wrote The Forgotten with James Hall. In a nutshell it’s like Fish Tank meets The Shining. Gritty, character-based social realism meets supernatural horror. So influences were on one hand Ken Loach and Andrea Arnold and on the other hand Hideo Nakata and Stanley Kubrick. James and I are both huge horror fans and have both been to FrightFest a number of times. We really wanted to make a slow build, classically structured, terrifying ghost story which foregrounded character (rather than just situation and event). Those are the kinds of stories we love. We had worked together on TV projects and one of those was The Bill (the old ITV show). We used to film in these abandoned estates in central London. Only we’d populate them with extras and cars and so on, so they felt alive. But these estates were acres of yawning grey, big blocks, long walkways, all empty. And then you’d see this one little light on in one of the blocks and you thought – what kind of family hangs on like that? Why are they here? So that’s what got us thinking.

HC: It’s your first movie as a director, what did you learn from the making of it?

OF: Dangerously, that I love it! And that I plan to do it all over again as soon as possible! I think the whole process from conceiving, to writing, to prepping to production and into post is a learning process. And you learn every time you repeat it. My professional background is editorial and in scripts, so that was perhaps the area where I was most comfortable. But The Forgotten is really a performance piece, it’s so character based, so what I enjoyed most (and what was the biggest challenge) was learning how to really craft an arc on-screen. I also learned it’s always colder outside that it looks. And to wear comfy trainers. I might be stealing that last answer from Spielberg. But if you’re gonna steal…

HC: How did you choose the young cast?

OF: We managed to entice a great casting director Daniel Edwards to work with us. Casting Tommy was the hardest. Daniel brought in groups of young lads – ten at a time - and he kind of work-shopped them in front of us to see if anyone had the touch of ‘Tommy’ about them. We did this three or four times. And we just couldn’t find the right lad. Then Daniel went further afield and managed to bring me a tape of Clem Tibber just talking. We knew it was him right away. As for the character Carmen, we saw loads of very exciting possible actors. But I remember Elarica Gallacher came in and said she’d rather read a different scene than we’d selected, one that she’d enjoyed more. And she just blew us away – her reading was just so truthful. You had goosebumps. When we put her and Clem together the chemistry was just what we were after.

HC: Shaun Dingwall and Clem Tibber as father and son, bring a real honesty to their roles, was this something they had to work on or did they “bond” quickly?

OF: Thank you. Shaun was brilliant with Clem. We all got on so well during the shoot, there was a very trusting atmosphere, which really helps. But Shaun would definitely help ‘direct’ Clem with his own performance. Give him things to react to. Throw him the energy to do something with. I think Clem’s such a great ‘reactor’ to the things that happen to him on-screen; never overblown, always grounded and emotionally truthful. But Shaun, aside from being outstanding himself, really helped bring out the best for the film as a whole.

HC: What sort of a budget did you have?

OF: Funny story, the film was actually kick started by money from mine and my (very understanding) wife’s wedding! We said on our invites – we’re making a film, please donate. So I won’t have anyone say this wasn’t a film made with love! That gave us the incentive to continue and when the script came together, we were able to budget properly and get other investors onboard. Obviously I can’t give specifics but we’re in the micro-budget bracket. And it was tight. You use the urban landscape and all its bleakness to great effect, how did you choose the locations? Again, ask an expert. We spoke to a locations manager I’d worked with in television called Jim Chambers. He gave us a list of potential estates. We looked around. What I loved about the flats in Durand Close, where we filmed, is that you enter them at first floor level and then go DOWN to the bedrooms. Story wise that was perfect for us because the bedrooms were the scary place. So this meant everytime you go down those stairs by lamplight, you’re thinking “oh god, what’s going to happen now”, like going down into hell.

HC: What was the shoot like?

OF: Wonderful, challenging, emotional, incredibly fast but overwhelmingly positive. We all genuinely bonded and seemed intent on achieving something special. Our shoot was a swift fifteen days – so we had to work at quite a pace. I had to have a very clear vision of the film in my head so I could communicate quickly and clearly with the whole team. And we could move fast because of the amazing crew Jennifer Handorf (Producer) assembled, and because our brilliant Director of Photography Eben Bolter shot almost entirely handheld, lighting predominantly with practical lights (i.e. lamps and props that you see on screen). Quite daring but it looks really great.

HC: The score is subtle and at times quite beautiful; did you have much say in the style?

OF: Yes, it’s beautiful isn’t it. I’m really pleased with what Paul Frith did with the score. The truth is that unless you’re John Carpenter and write your own synth tracks, like so many facets of making a film someone else pours their soul into it. So while Paul and I talked a lot, discussed the direction, agreed the cues, and knew the kind of sounds and timbre we were after – the music is his, it’s from his heart. I’m lucky enough to be a musical person, so we could communicate effectively about material he presented me. But Paul just brought it such warmth and mystery. When we were editing the film, the temp music I used was a bit all over the place. The emotional music was stuff like Max Richter (used in Perfect Sense) – sugary string pieces – while the scary stuff was much more abstract like Krzysztof Penderecki (The Shining). I think Paul found the beating heart in the middle.

HC: The film has a lot to say about the lost youth culture of today, was this intentional?

OF: In a word. Yes. The Forgotten – when you stand back – works as a big metaphor for the eternal question; is it possible to escape the fate that you’re born into? We really wanted to say something about London and about the ‘forgotten’ elements of society. And to do something that felt truthful yet redemptive. I’m really proud of the light-touch way we invite the audience to think about these issues, while obviously weaving it through something tense and entertaining. I think more than anything we wanted to make something emotional (moving) as well as scary.

HC: Are you nervous that the film is showing at FrightFest?

OF: I suppose in some ways I am. This was always designed to be a supernatural horror film; a touch of J-horror, a touch of urban nightmare but in The Forgotten that’s balanced with gritty urban drama. So it might feel a bit different. Having said that, the people we’ve tested the film with (including lots of horror fans) have responded incredibly positively. The way the FrightFest team programme the festival is fantastic as it always provides variety.

HC: So, what projects are you working on at the moment?

OF: James Hall (my co-writer) and I never stopped writing after The Forgotten, so we’ve got a number of follow-up feature scripts in development, and a fair amount of interest in getting the next project off the ground, including one that I’m particularly passionate about; which is supernatural horror film but about a homosexual relationship in a high category prison. An exploration of identity amidst terrifying ghostly happenings. And the idea of people literally being locked into a space that’s haunted is really appealing. And of course more television drama. I’ve been working on some big, really exciting projects, which will be hitting screens later in the year. The Great Fire will air on ITV in October. Keep your eyes peeled.

HC: Oliver Frampton, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
FrightFest-Halloween-2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

SHARE: READ MORE
And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted on Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
skylin3s-poster

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

SHARE: READ MORE
Hair scares, killer jeans, Santa slays and an invasion from above. Day 5 of FrightFest Digital Edition 2
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
slaxx-poster

We reach the final day of FrightFest but what awaits us will ensure that the event ends not with a bang but with an alien invasion!

It's always exciting when new creatives release work and The Stylist from Jill Gervargizian is no exception. Everyone dreams of being someone else... but for Claire that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Her job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people's worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe the client's life - she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and shocking secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to s...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
hosts-poster

Hosts is a dark, brooding and sinister movie from two very talented creatives, Adam Leader and Richard Oakes. Here they chat about this outstanding movie.

HC: Have you always been fans of this genre?

AL: Yes, the first film I ever watched was the original Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight years old. That turned me on to the horror genre, and since then I became absolutely horror obsessed. Every weekend, my dad would take me to the video store, and I'd choose the most messed up movie I could find for him to rent for me.

RO: Yes, coming from a family with a sister 7 years older than me, I was always fascinated by the films her and her friends used to watch. I walked in...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a hug...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, directors of Alien on Stage
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
alien-on-stage-poster

FrightFest always has a fine selection of documentaries showing, but none have touched hearts like Alien on Stage. This warm and loving look at an amateur stage production of the classic movie Alien has been placed in the running for the Horror Channel sponsored First Blood award so we chatted to directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer about this wonderful project.

HC: How long have you worked together and are you fans of the film, Alien?

We met working on a no budget British indie film in 2006 (I think) both working for free. Danielle was a camera trainee, I was the costume stylist. It was like going through a war together, it cemented our friendship and Danille...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Final Girls
THE FINAL GIRLS
Wednesday 12th May
9.00 PM
Battlestar Galactica
BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Monday 10th May
8.00 PM
Vendetta
VENDETTA
Tuesday 11th May
9.00 PM