LONELY HEARTS (2013)
Lonely serial killer Henrik may have found a kindred spirit. But the course of true crime never did run smooth...
Produced & Directed By Leon Chambers
Written by Simon Lord
Starring Nigel Pilkington, Morag Cross
Lonely Hearts was written by Simon Lord and stars Nigel Pilkington and Morag Cross. It was shot in May 2012 and completed a year later. It was screened to a full house at MPC screening room in Wardour Street, Soho, London in May 2013.
It has since screened at a number of festivals including Cleveland International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, London Short Film Festival and the East End Film Festival. It was nominated for Best Short, Best Music and Best British Horror at the British Horror Film, Best Artistic Direction at the Sacramento Horror Film Festival and won Best Short Film at the Chicago United Film Festival (2013)
Shot on the Arri Alexa, on location in the Weald of Kent and on sets build in both my house and garden. It was made with a small crew over a long weekend. Edited on Final Cut Pro. The grade was carried out at Smoke & Mirrors by Duncan Russell, who graded my previous three films. The sound was edited on Pro-tools and mixed in Dolby Digital at Pinewood Studios by Academy Award winner Richard Pryke (Slumdog Millionaire) who also mixed both Stolen Youth and The Long Lonely Walk.
Lonely Hearts was one of the scripts Simon Lord has sent me, when we first started talking about working together. I had wanted to make it back then, but another filmmaker had already optioned it. However after a couple of years of Simon and I working together on Above the Clouds, the other filmmaker hadn’t made the film and the option relapsed.
I hadn't intended to make another short film after Office Romance 2.0, as I was keen that my next film would be a feature film. Things were progressing well with the writing of Above the Clouds, but there was still some work to be done. So when Lonely Hearts became available, I thought it would be an ideal project to not only serve my creative need, but more importantly would give me a film written by Simon and directed by me, for my showreel. This could only help in the push to get Above the Clouds made.
Also I was yet to make a horror film; all be it a comedy horror. And having always been a fan of Hitchcock, I realized this would be my chance to pay homage to him. I could see many parallels between Norman Bates and Henrik. Having made Office Romance 2.0 for a tiny budget I knew that I could do the same again and in fact I originally intended to make it for as near to nothing as possible. To add to this I was going to shoot it without a crew using a Canon DSLR. And I had planned a shooting style that would aid this. I decided that all the shots would be locked-off (the camera would not move) and that the focus for each shot would be fixed. This would mean that we were composing little tableaus in a fixed frame. And it would allow some of the graphic nature of the film to take place off camera, leaving more to the audiences imagination. A technique Mr Hitchcock would be proud off.
But once Tim Sidell again agreed to be my DoP on this film, things started to develop. And although we still kept the budget down, we were now shooting on the Arri Alexa, using Tim’s expensive prime lenses. The shooting style was kept and the camera was fixed for each shot (except one.) Although we did free things up and lost the idea of keeping the focus fixed.
Although we had shot on the Arri Alexa (as many features do these days,) had built a tank for the underwater filming, made a severed hand (thanks to some helpful videos on You Tube,) built a number of micro sets, been given access to a lake for a day (for nothing,) had the film professionally graded (for nothing,) had a song composed and recorded (in fact two versions,) had the soundtrack mixed in Dolby Digital at Pinewood Studios (for a tiny amount) and a DCP master made (the format now used for screening films in cinemas) – Lonely Hearts is actually the lowest budget short I have made. It is truly amazing what you can achieve with the support of a very generous group of people.