Thursday, August 29, 2019

A Sort of Burial review and where I'm currently at...

A review of A Sort of Burial, which isn’t too bad, considering my misgivings about it. It has only been given a restricted festival run on the strength of my feelings about it. It was something different - a big learning curve on this movie. I think it’s important to share details of anything which doesn’t quite live up to expectations and use it as a fulcrum from which to attain higher goals. People only tend to see the successes – perceived or otherwise, but that, I guess, is largely because ‘people’ don’t tend to ‘air them in public’. I am grateful to anyone who watches the films I make, and especially to those who take further time to critique and review. 

Filmmaking is a lot of hard work and endeavour (for me at least!) and, with that, a lot can go wrong. I find it a massive challenge and not every aspect is entirely enjoyable. I alluded to a lot of the negative experiences and issues encountered on the ‘Burial’ in my recent blog posts and, unfortunately, these were still evident and, in some ways, exacerbated on Switch, which followed. So, I’m not surprised by the comments in Sam’s review about the technical side of things, which are fair and reasoned. In retrospect, those two movies were filmed too close together. The performances in both movies were fantastic, though – that should be stated emphatically. And I take full responsibility for ‘problems’ in other areas, even though I didn’t make it easy on myself by taking on and overseeing so much.

I’m always happy with the script, as I work tirelessly to shape, hone and check it before working it as a full-fledged movie. Fortunately, there is usually ample time an opportunity to do this. However, the technical execution of my movies has been a problem for several reasons. Hopefully, these have now been fully realised and will be addressed in future productions. Problems will always exist when filmmaking, it’s inherent and I know that. However, with an honest, objective understanding of pitfalls already experienced, previous shortcomings should now be properly mitigated.

Hokum is our next movie and it’s a big one which will rely heavily - not only on the script, but also the technical aspects. Expert technical execution will be seriously important as the movie will hinge on its look and feel a great deal. If people don’t like it because they simply don’t care for it, then that’s great and I’m entirely comfortable with that. It is not a movie which will appeal to everyone. My movies are very ‘eclectic.’ That said, if it’s disliked because of any technical failings, then it’ll be a massive shame and unforgiveable. Pressure is on.

The one thing I have enjoyed so far on Hokum is getting back to creating ‘art’, even though I’ve had to ‘undo’ my ‘style’ in order to create what is required effectively. I always enjoy the writing, which to me, is always the easiest part and I think we have a great script and a unique story.

I guess a lot hinges on this production, really. It’s a big gamble, but then that’s essentially the movie’s conceit – gambling on fortune; failing, being tormented by things both real and imaginary; life, death and re-birth. I hadn’t realised how prescient it all is, but yet again, the movie is about prescience as well.

And so, although I’m frustrated, I continue with fresh enthusiasm and high hopes. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Hokum - Press Release


Hokum, a new movie from Lee Charlish is currently in pre-production and scheduled for a late 2019 release.

The movie is an ambitious project which is being entirely self-funded by Lee, who will produce and direct his original screenplay. As with most other Lee Charlish projects, the setting and time is deliberately ambiguous, with great emphasis placed on creating ‘a world in which things seem out of place; awkward or decidedly unfamiliar’, leading to an oneiric and distinctly unsettling feel. This will be helped by the movie’s subject matter which involves the spiritual world, mysticism, tarot and demons; both real and imaginary.

The story has developed significantly and quickly since the early drafts, with new characters and situations organically presenting themselves; all in the confines of a non-existent budget. Lee says, “It has steadily evolved into something even bigger than the original premise which was larger than life already. Thankfully, despite having no discernible budget or funding, it has been written with an appreciation of what’s realistically achievable without compromising its unique style and premise.”  

There is a possibility of the movie being developed into a feature, as it has the scope, although as a short it is tight and packs a sufficient punch in its anticipated 18-minute run time. 


When you sell your soul for money, there’s always hell to pay.

Brief Synopsis:

Ash is tormented by demons and believes he must rid himself of the ‘blood money’, acquired through treachery and violence, to obtain redemption from the angered spirit world. Donnie, his violent and thuggish accomplice, is desperate to lay hands on the illicit cash and will stop at nothing to obtain it, even if he must sell his own soul.

Described as a - ‘Fantasy chiller with elements of the real, the ethereal and surreal’, it will start like a ‘haphazard howitzer and ratchet up to an unflinching end’. 

Lee says, “It’s a big project with lots to go at and there’s plenty which could go wrong. However, there’s been a real buzz and lots of engagement with local, exciting talent who have volunteered their services since seeing early promotional material or have answered casting calls.”  

This increased involvement and ‘help’ will address the failures of earlier efforts by lightening the load somewhat and creating less restrictive timescales. I’m thankful that everyone attached to the project has fully embraced the need to take our time and film over several, carefully planned days, including the actors. I’m also appreciative of the offers of help and that the cast and crew are working for free and/or for significantly reduced rates because of their excitement and dedication and to the project. 

Attached early on were Korky Films stalwarts Adrian Annis and Jim Low, who are described by Lee as the “superlative dream team”. “These guys are immense and really carry a scene. What’s important is that they completely get my style and the vibe I try to create and immerse themselves wholeheartedly into the mouth of madness! They are also both great fun without ego, which is important.”

Adrian Annis, a Cambridge/London based actor, has an impressive CV in both film (feature and shorts) and TV. He will play Shepherd, the Shaman. Full of intrigue, mysticism and danger, the enigmatic Shepherd is enlisted to offer counsel and a helping-hand to Donnie when he encounters a difficult situation.

Jim Low, a diminutive Scot known as ‘little big man’ by Lee, is a commanding presence on the screen, which is important as the movie’s ‘baddie’ - Donnie. Although there’s a few to choose from in this story, as most are blighted or afflicted in some way or another. Jim describes the script as, ‘Great, creepy and ultra-violent.’

Recruited via Facebook casting calls are Elaine Ward, from Birmingham but now residing in Warwickshire, who will assume the role of The Clairvoyant and Peter James from Leicester who will take the role of the ‘troubled’ Ash. Elaine has been in her own short film, Tea for Two which premiered at the Birmingham Film Festival in 2018. She has appeared in other short films and many stage productions. Peter started his acting journey with the Blaby Drama Group starring in a number of plays; before he went on to join Whetstone Drama Group. He has been actively involved with the Leicester based filmmaking group, Seven Five Productions, and has been in several productions. One of his own films was screened at The Short Cinema Film Festival. Elaine says of her part in Hokum: “I’m so excited to be playing The Clairvoyant and I can’t wait to get my teeth into creating her character. Mysterious, intriguing, otherworldly and slightly sinister, what’s not to love?”

Completing the cast are Alex Kapila from Stratford-Upon-Avon as Fortune, the drug-addled acolyte of Shepherd and Hannah Hargraves from Leamington Spa, as The Hostage. She appears at the start of the movie in a frenetic and explosive start and in later scenes with Ash.

Crew members attached include Damien Trent as the Director of Photography. A filmmaker in his own right, he has worked with Lee on the short films – Scarecrow, The Cold Caller, A Sort of Burial and Switch. He will be assisted by Mark Hancock on camera. Mark has completed his first experimental short this year and he too has been involved on previous Korky Films movies – The Cold Caller, A Sort of Burial and Switch. Ryan Clarke will be the movie’s sound recordist. All are Midlands based and all come from Coventry.

Chris Pemberton returns to score the movie. A role which Lee describes as being “pivotal to accent the whole movie.” Lee is a long-time admirer of Chris’s compositions after he has provided the music to each of Lee’s last four live-action films. Chris is an accomplished keyboard player who has toured and worked as a session player for many, well-known performers. 

Joining Korky Films’ crew will be Lewis Clements of Elsy Pictures who will assist Lee as First AD. Lewis lives in Solihull and is a graduate of the BA (Hons) Creative Arts degree at Oxford Brookes University. He has written several films and has also directed and even acted in local films. Benjamin Clarke, from Coventry, is currently a filmmaking student at Solent Southampton University, studying film and he will be a Production Assistant.

The movie will benefit from local Make-Up Artists. The MUAs will create a lot of the movie’s “nastiness” and will assist with the practical effects utilised throughout. 

To fulfil the movie’s ambitions, Lee’s vision will incorporate extensive production design elements and wardrobe to adorn the unique characters contained within the story. This will take time but will be a fun experience. It is likely that individual ‘sets’ will be purposefully built for each interior scene and ‘striked’ before another set (and scene) is built and filmed.

Lee says, “The visuals will be lavish and extensive, and in some cases, extreme, vibrant and yet grungy. It will be uncompromising and visceral. There are violent elements which will probably make audiences uncomfortable, but they are completely beholden to the story nonetheless and never gratuitous.”

“Whether we can successfully pull it off is yet to be seen, but I’m excited and confident with all attached so far. There will be a powerhouse effort to get his made and in a way which does the story and script justice.”

The movie will be ‘art heavy’ and incorporate lots of interesting artistic flourishes which will accent the quirky and unique feel. It will include an abundance of mystical symbolism and draws upon myths and folklore to weave a compelling narrative.

The official Hokum movie website is here - It is a work in progress and will be updated with new content as the movie develops.

Friday, August 16, 2019


Pre-production has officially begun...