Well, I think it's safe to say that 2020 hasn't gone exactly as we planned it. That said, we were able to get some content produced during this year.
We started the year off with the final filming day (for principal photography, at least) of Deliver Us From Gee. Two scenes- one set in a restaurant, the other in a call-centre- were completed, with Samuel Rush, Linda Bailey, Kelvin Dale-Greaves, and Matthew Fisher joining us for the day. We had one last day of filming at the beginning of March for some pick-ups, but we were fortunately able to get all of the footage needed before circumstances changed...
On Valentine's Day, we released our sixth Strange Tale: Schrödinger. Written by Xander Grant and directed by our own Rhys Jones, this philosophical two-hander about the nature of love was sensitively played by Gavin Rand and Victoria George-Veale. We were also very pleased that Schrödinger was selected for the Lift-Off Global Network Sessions 2020.
At the end of February, Watcher Terrance Marshman-Edwards directed a stage production of comedy-thriller A Tomb With A View for Peculiar Productions, raising £2,370 for Simpson's Memory Box Appeal (SiMBA).
And then March 23rd came around and the whole of the UK was put into lockdown. Given the situation with COVID-19 and the advice given to minimize the spread of the disease (plus two core members of the Watchers being advised to shield until mid-August), it's made planning for future filming a little difficult. We were able to release Deliver Us From Gee on Saturday 11th April (Easter Saturday). We figured, given the subject matter, it would be appropriate... We were also delighted that Deliver Us From Gee was nominated in the No Budget Short Film category at the Wales International Film Festival.
However, we have not been idle during this time. We have been working on and finalising some new screenplays so that, when we are able to start filming safely again, we will have some new scripts to work on. Pre-production has also continued (where possible) on Locked and Dinner Date to ensure that these can get filmed as soon as we can. We also continued to produce our Film Show with special Lockdown Episodes.
But whilst we were not able to create many new Strange Tales for you this year, we had several of our previous short films recognised in various national (and international!) festivals. Brand New Beginnings and Epimetheus were both official selections for the BAFTA-qualifying Carmarthen Bay Film Festival, whilst Epimetheus was also selected for the Twisted Tales Festival and the Dead In Decatur International Film Festival (in Illinois)! Home was also selected for the Lift-Off Global Network Sessions and the Lift-Off Global Network First-Time Filmmaker Sessions (as it was Watcher Tez’s film directorial debut)
Watcher Matt was a finalist in the 13horror.com Film & Screenplay Contest for his screenplay Killing The Music (available as an eBook via Amazon), which was also a nominee for the Best Short Horror Screenplay award at the Grim North Screenplay Festival.
We rounded the year off with a wonderful co-production with our good friends and associates at Valiant Films and Dramatic Moose Productions with a new audio adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Adapted by Watchers Tez and Matt with Matthew Fisher of Dramatic Moose, and directed by Teddy Smith, we are very pleased to have been able to use several actors who have appeared in previous Watchers productions. A Christmas Carol was released in three parts between December 22nd-December 24th, with an omnibus edition also available.
We'd like to say a massive Thank You to everyone who has supported us through this very different and difficult year. Also, a huge Thank You to all key and essential workers who have put themselves in the line of fire to keep things running during the pandemic. What will 2021 bring? Who knows. Hopefully we'll be able to get back to some sense of normality and get this pent-up creative drive out into the world with some brand-new Strange Tales and some other exciting projects.
We hope you had a very Merry Christmas, wherever you are and however you spent it, and all the very best for a happy and healthy 2021.