Under ordinary circumstances, 6:45pm on a Wednesday night would seem like an odd time to visit a slightly grubby kebab shop in central Bournemouth. But the inhabitants of this store are not punters looking for a greasy food fix. They are the cast and crew of the brutal thriller K-Shop, which mixes thriller conventions with social commentary on Britain’s disturbing binge drinking culture.
The film, now in the post-production stage, tells the story of a foreign kebab shop owner – played by newcomer Ziad Abaza – shocked at the binge drinking culture in the UK. He soon takes matters into his own, murderous hands in gruesome Sweeney Todd style.
“It quickly escalated,” says writer-director Dan Pringle. “We initially wrote a short film about a p**shead who walks into a kebab shop and gets apprehended by the kebab shop owner, tied up in the basement and there’s this dynamic between these two people.
“It scaled up into a feature film because the premise was too good not to fully explore. There was just so much potential for what this guy could do once he had the opportunity to cut people up and put them in kebabs.”
Dan Pringle talks about the inspiration for K-Shop
K-Shop was shot entirely in Bournemouth during March, using a shopfront in Gervis Place for the majority of scenes. The studio behind the film, White Lantern, is based in The Triangle and has produced two previous features, alongside a handful of shorts. Their environmental documentary, Drying for Freedom, is still being screened in various countries all over the world. K-Shop is their biggest work to date and Dan has his eye on a limited theatrical release for the film.
“The idea for K-Shop was that it’s time to take ourselves to the next level and make something which is going to appeal to as big an audience as possible, so that’s why we came up with that concept,” says Dan. “Ultimately, we hope that this film will be the breakthrough that allows us to continue making commercial feature films that people want to see.”
White Lantern Film was founded in 2007 and has always been based in Bournemouth. They initially moved into a one desk office in the Enterprise Pavilion at the Bournemouth Institute, but they currently employ ten staff at their new home in The Triangle. As well as their feature film production role, they also have a corporate commercial arm that produces video content for businesses.
Regional filmmaking is something that the British Film Institute and Creative England are keen to support. Many of the grants offered by the organisation are geared towards increasing access to films that depict the diversity of the country outside of the capital.
Despite the challenges of making a low-budget film at a regional level, Dan says that the process of making K-Shop has been an “incredible journey” for him as he tries to launch his career.
“There have been times where I have felt completely out of my depth as first time feature film director and others where I’ve felt as if I’ve been directing movies all my life. Most of the trials and tribulations that have been thrown up along the way have come out of nowhere and it’s this random nature of low-budget filmmaking that really pushes you to your absolute limits as a person.”
As for the future, Dan says he aims to spread his wings outside of Dorset eventually. However, he does have an idea for a sci-fi film, described as “effectively Signs in a rural cottage”, that would keep him working on the south coast. His eventual plans, though, are a lot more exotic than ice cream cones and fish and chips: “I need to get closer to the desert, where I seem to have no shortage of ideas set.”
Dan and the team at White Lantern are currently putting together a first edit for K-Shop to show to prospective distributors. If a distributor expresses an interest in getting the film out into the world, they will finance the final stages of assembling the sound mix and visual effects to complete the film.
The film is currently expected to be released in the early part of 2015. Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the kebab shop…