The classic tale of Sweeney Todd is set to receive a slightly inebriated makeover in Bournemouth filmmaker Dan Pringle‘s twisted thriller K-Shop.
The film is being made by studio White Lantern Film, who have their offices in The Triangle. They have previously produced documentary Drying for Freedom and psychological noir Emulsion on the south coast.
Here are 10 things you should know about K-Shop – the dark heart of cinema in Bournemouth.
K-Shop has a truly twisted premise
K-Shop is a film that doesn’t shy away from darkness.
Described by writer-director Dan Pringle as “Sweeney Todd in a kebab shop”, it follows shop owner Salah (Ziad Abaza) as he is driven to vigilantism by the constant flow of drunken Brits who pour into his store. After the death of his father, he resorts to violence and begins to imbue his greasy produce with some rather unsavoury human ingredients.
The film is set to have plenty of gruesome moments as Salah transforms from a mild-mannered individual into a serial killer with unusual taste buds. A glimpse of Abaza’s bloodied face (above) in the film’s trailer truly paints a thousand words.
It’s a Bournemouth project
Although K-Shop is not specifically about Bournemouth, the town runs through every chromosome of the film’s DNA.
White Lantern Film is based in The Triangle and every moment of the film was shot in Bournemouth, with the central location a disused shopfront in Gervis Place. Pivotal moments occur across the town, with one particularly crucial scene taking place on Bournemouth’s beach.
Dan has said that shooting the film in Bournemouth gave it an “incredible energy” that would’ve been difficult to replicate anywhere else.
The cast is packed with British talent
From newcomer Ziad Abaza through to the supporting roles, K-Shop benefits from a cast that is stacked with the brightest acting talent in Britain.
“I’ve used it as a huge opportunity to try to learn from them, learn from what they’ve done right and haven’t done right,” said Ziad. “It has affected my approach to the craft to see how an experienced actor approaches their work. It’s been invaluable as well as fun.”
Scot Williams, best known for a series of homegrown thrillers, plays a pivotal role in the film, as does Ewen MacIntosh, who played Keith in The Office. Other roles are filled by Waterloo Road alumni Reece Noi and Kristin Atherton.
Atherton has been tweeting enthusiastically about K-Shop since she won her role in the film, praising the cast, crew and director.
Filming wrapped on @KShopmovie. What a 100% amazing, dedicated, inspiring, good-humoured cast and crew. Congratulations one and all!
— Kristin Atherton (@KristinAtherton) April 8, 2014
It has a real message
K-Shop is far from just another “torture porn” movie or a gore-soaked horror film. It’s a film about the terrible extent of British binge drinking and how that looks to someone who has grown up in another culture.
In order to paint a realistic, truthful picture of Britain’s obsession with drinking to excess, Dan visited nightclubs in Bournemouth whilst completely sober in order to observe what he has called the “utterly out of control” atmosphere of the town’s nightlife.
There’s an exciting first-time director at the helm
Dan Pringle, writer-director of K-Shop, is in the chair for the first time, bringing his original idea to the silver screen.
Dan told BUzz in June: “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.”
Dan Pringle gives his advice to filmmakers after K-Shop experience
It started life as a short film
Dan Pringle has said that K-Shop was originally conceived as a short film. Rather than the feature-length tale of murder and vigilantism that it is now, the film initially focused on the dynamic between Salah and one of his boozed-up victims, restrained in a basement.
“It quickly escalated,” said Dan. “We scaled it 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.”
It’s not full of gore
It’s all too easy for modern thriller movies to be lazy with story and chuck buckets of Kensington Gore at the audience instead. Many promising films have fallen into this trap, but it does not seem like K-Shop is going to be one of them.
With such a rich message to explore, K-Shop is unlikely to lean too heavily on the crutch of extreme violence, with Dan Pringle keen to make sure that it’s always his themes that come through strongly.
There’s a light-dark balance
Although there’s a real darkness to K-Shop, it is also blackly comic in its exploration of binge drinking culture in Britain. There are plenty of gags, with one memorable still image from the set depicting a clash between a golfer and, bizarrely, an Oompa Loompa.
The hybrid nature of the genre was really challenging for Ziad Abaza. He said: “It’s really unpredictable because the genre is so spliced. I know how I felt when I read the script and it was definitely something quite powerful and I’m hoping it will have a strong impact.”
The shoot was incredibly busy
With a limited window of only five weeks to shoot the movie, K-Shop presented a huge logistical challenge for Dan Pringle and his crew. However, being pressed for time wasn’t the only problem they faced…
There’s an inherent risk to shooting a film in a very plausible looking kebab shop over a Bank Holiday period. During the various busy night shoots for K-Shop during March and April, the cast and crew found themselves regularly disturbed by revellers banging on the door with a desire for doner.
Dan said: “Because the set was in the town centre, we’d get people coming up to the kebab shop, p**sed, trying to get in and interact with us in the same way we were trying to portray on camera. There was this incredible irony to what we were doing and I think that’s where Bournemouth played its part. Being based here leant itself so much to the way we approached shooting and the performances that ended up on screen.”
It’s got an eye on a Spring 2015 release
It has been a long journey for all involved in bringing K-Shop to the screen, but the road is nearing its end. The film has been in post-production since June and is getting close to the final product, with sound designers and colourists working alongside Dan to put the finishing touches on the feature.
White Lantern Film has already approached several potential distributors for the film and has received significant interest. The film will be complete by the end of this calendar year, with a view to getting it in front of audiences in April-May 2015.
“There will be ten or so distributors that we’ll end up having focused conversations with about UK release and then ultimately it will be about which one offers us the best deal,” said Dan.
You can keep up to date with the progress of K-Shop by following the film on Twitter.