A little while back, we had a visit from Tom Sands and his film / acting crew at the Studios. They were shooting for a film called The Holly Kane Experiment (see the trailer here!). It’s going to be released very soon so we thought we’d try our luck and attempt to catch Tom to have a chat. We were fortunate enough to speak to him and be able to tell you all a little bit more about what him and his crew have been up to!
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve worked on recently at the Copperdollar Studios?
We shot a few scenes at Copperdollar Studios for The Holly Kane Experiment – a Brighton-set feature film about a female psychologist who creates a revolutionary method of changing deeply-held beliefs. When she gains funding for experimental trials, she ups the ante and experiments on herself… and all hell breaks loose. She finds herself caught in a government conspiracy, manipulated by a rich and powerful man, and descending into her fear of madness. Copperdollar was perfect for our needs – we constructed the interior of a police van which is surveilling Holly.
How did you hear about the studios?
We spent a few weeks walking around Brighton during pre-production and scouting locations. I really wanted to find unusual and underground locations for the film. I wanted to show off the real Brighton, the underbelly, instead of just the pier and the Regency architecture we see on TV. We stumbled upon the studios on one of our walks and loved the look of it. We shot the film in just three weeks at over 65 Brighton locations. As you can imagine, this was quite a stretch and the only way it was possible was because we met so many friendly Brighton locations and businesses who were willing to help us.
What do you like most about the Copperdollar Studios and what would you say makes it different from other studios you’ve used?
It’s a really friendly space and Kt was very accommodating to us. It has a really down-to-earth, creative vibe, which is exactly what we like. The location is also perfect!
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What gave you inspiration for this film?
I work with my dad, Mick, and he’s been working on the script for at least 10 years. He’s always been interested in self-help and the idea of auto-suggestion. I think we both feel that people place too much emphasis on their thoughts, when they have no idea what might have infected their unconscious. The film explores how we are all susceptible to psychological manipulation. Holly is psychologically coerced into a relationship but eventually she learns to trust something other than her mind and that’s what leads her out of her madness.
I’ve always loved thrillers from the old classics like The Ipcress File and Parallax View to newer offerings like The Game or Identity. Trying to honour those genre traditions whilst adding our own dark psychological theme was very fun!
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
That’s a difficult question. In film, you have to get used to deferred gratification. We shot The Holly Kane Experiment in 2015 and it’s only getting its UK release now, in 2018. It’s such a long process that by the time you find an audience for the film, you’ve probably moved on. In my case, I’ve finished three more films in the interim. I love the intensity of shooting on a low budget, but I’m not sure I can keep that up as it’s so draining. I think I’m starting to love editing more and more as sitting in a dark room and working normal hours now seems very attractive!