Hello! I'm Mark Brennan the writer and director of Squall - thank you for taking the time to check out our Greenlit campaign.
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Squall is a short film about a chance meeting between two strangers at rock bottom in their lives, who go on to spend one drunken evening together, putting their respective broken worlds to rights. It's a drama that explores the power of human connection, finding it when and where you least expect, and how that connection can have the power to - even in a small way - alter the course of a path you felt could never change.
We've all experienced tough times in our lives, when circumstances and situations seem to conspire against us in what can so often seem to be a rigged game of chance. One thing in life that never ceases to surprise me, is how often relief and respite from your darkest moments can be found in the company of complete strangers. There's something about being seen through new eyes, ones that are unaware of the circling clouds above you and, for a short time, allow you to forget (or at least pretend to forget) those clouds are there - and sometimes even take a peek at what might be beyond them.
Ben and Margaret are two characters who have such a connection.
To be clear, this is neither a love story, nor a romance. It's about two lost souls who for a short time recognise in each other a pain that they have each been suffering in their own way, and through each other, see the possibility of a time when they're not so lost after all.
The style and tone of the film will be reminiscent of the work of Sofia Coppola, Richard Linklater and Barbet Schroeder's Barfly written by Charles Bukowski.
It's a story I am very passionate to tell, one that will require me to step out of my comfort zone as a director, not only because of the nature of the material, but because it's been some time since I've had the opportunity to direct a film that I've written. My last time out was 2014, filming a short romantic comedy called Tea For Two, starring British television gems John Challis and Amanda Barrie - and I could not have realised then the journey that this comedy would take me on.
The experience of visiting a number of film festivals where the film screened (and was lucky enough to pick up awards for screenwriting), inspired myself and a group of others to create a short film festival in our hometown - Exit 6 Film Festival - of which I am the director. Since its launch in 2016, we have built it to be one of FilmFreeway's Top 100 Best Reviewed Film Festivals, with this year promising to be our biggest and best yet. It's something I am endlessly passionate about, so took a break from my own filmmaking in order to establish it, always intending to return to making my own work - which is exactly what I'm aiming to do now.
Over the last 3 years I have watched hundreds of short films, in all genres, made all over the world. In doing so, I have absorbed and learned a great deal about what I feel makes a short film work, and have written a script containing the kind of story I would like to see - which in all honesty is all any of us can do. I am constantly inspired by all the films submitted to us and the filmmakers behind them, for finding the time and the resources to bring their projects to life, and as such am proud to be part of this community.
An incredible cast is lined up that will be unveiled in due course, and I’m very excited at the prospect of working with actors of the talent and calibre needed to tell this story. I am also very lucky to know some wonderfully talented people and film professionals who have already offered their time and efforts, but there are still some things that only money can buy, which is why I am running this campaign.
The story of Squall plays out across one night in multiple locations. While I hope to secure some of these as cheaply as possible, some will require a film crew descending on them for a significant amount of time. The fact that the film is indeed set during one night, by definition means night shoots! This means asking a lot more than usual of the cast and crew who will be travelling for filming, with some needing accommodation for the 3-night shoot, the expenses for whom I must cover at the very least.
Then there is all the kit and consumables needed for a film shoot, as well as setting aside some funds for festival submissions. I have already and will continue to put whatever funding I can personally into the production budget, but I cannot do the film justice without outside help - without your help - and in return for that help there will be a range of perks on offer for anyone who would be willing to be involved. These include personalised digital postcards featuring the original artwork created for the film, branded shot and whiskey glasses, set visits, festival tickets, Skype sessions for film festival consultations and script edits, plus I'll even write a short script for you based on your idea.
While short films are, quite rightly, seen as a medium for filmmakers to work on their craft and are mainly of benefit to the directors, Squall is something I don't solely mean to make for myself. I have been Ben. I have been Margaret. I intend Squall to be the film I needed some years ago, and at the same time, one that offers a glimmer of hope to anyone going through their own difficult period.
That may read like a lofty ambition, but it's what has inspired everything you have seen and read about this project up to now. I hope as many as people possible can be part of that.
Backing the campaign is just one way you can help bring Squall to the screen. The truth is that any attention that can be brought to the campaign can be just as valuable. Sharing on social media tagging our Twitter
pages, via email, word of mouth, anything that makes as many people as possible see what we're trying to do, and achieve, together.
If you've made it all the way through this story and still reading now, thank you. I hope you've seen/read/felt something that inspires you to help this campaign as much as Ben and Margaret inspired me to create it.
See you on the other side!