European exposure for innovative Yorkshire feature film

Posted on 27 October 2014

A feature film produced as a result of a unique academic-industry partnership is flying the flag for UK independent film-makers with screenings at international film festivals in Europe.

The Knife That Killed Me, which was made entirely using green screen technology, will screen at the Nantes British Film Festival (11-19 December). This follows its highly successful European debut at the Alice Nella Citta, a youth-orientated side bar competition held during the Rome Film Festival this month, where the film received a standing ovation.

The film, which will be distributed by Universal Pictures UK on DVD and Video-On-Demand later this year, is part of a ground-breaking partnership between the University of York and commercial film producers Green Screen Productions, specialists in computer generated imagery (CGI).

The Knife That Killed Me was shot entirely at Green Screen Productions' studios near York with post-production work taking place at Heslington Studios, the commercial arm of the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television.

The partnership involved recent York graduates working alongside well-established industry professionals on the film. It grew out of an earlier collaboration between the University and some of Green Screen’s principals - Kit Monkman, Alan Latham and Thomas Mattinson - on the 2006 film The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, featuring Joely Richardson and Tom Berenger. 

This unique relationship was arranged by John Mateer, Senior Lecturer in York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television.  He said: “After the success of The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey we all wanted to find a way to expand the collaborative model and work on a bigger, more ambitious project.  The Knife That Killed Me fit the bill perfectly.”

The Knife That Killed Me is a journey through the memories of teenager Paul Varderman, played by actor Jack McMullen, (Waterloo Road, Brookside, Seamonsters) as he reflects on the events leading to the fatal moment his life is cut short. The film has a distinctive visual style to illustrate the story by using green screen and Visual Effect (VFX) filmmaking technology in an unconventional manner.

The film is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Anthony McGowan, adapted and directed by Marcus Romer and Kit Monkman.

Alan Latham, Producer and Managing Director of Green Screen Productions Ltd, said: “We are excited by the exposure The Knife that Killed Me is receiving at film festivals in Europe. The screenings are proving an effective way of showcasing UK creative talent to an international audience as well as securing distribution, with the film clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of the unique academic-industry partnership between Green Screen Productions and Heslington Studios.”

Earlier this year, the film was launched with a multiplatform premiere, screened simultaneously at the National Media Museum in Bradford, the Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester, and at Frank’s Cafe - in an auditorium built of straw on the seventh floor of a multi-storey car park in London. The premiere event followed a successful Kickstarter campaign which raised over £20,000.

Green Screen Productions and Heslington Studios have developed a strong relationship during the production of the film and are now working together on new projects.

John Mateer, who served as both an Executive Producer and the Visual Effects Producer for the film said: “The Knife That Killed Me is a unique undertaking. Although general industry collaborations in other disciplines are not uncommon at universities, they are rare in film and television. This kind of new business model lowers the cost of entry and the overall capital requirements of a production, as well as helping to generate the next cohort of film professionals. All of the visual effects work was undertaken by recent graduates of our MA in Postproduction with Visual Effects, which is remarkable given that nearly every shot involves computer-generated imagery.”

Watch a video of The Knife That Killed Me production team on the red carpet in Rome at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBeAc9xguBc&feature=youtu.be

A trailer for The Knife That Killed Me film can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu689ONneAI

See the film on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2087982/