Scottish Film-Maker Makes A Film His Way!

by Tom Doran

An Edinburgh filmmaker who sold his house to fund his first feature film has been rewarded by winning a prestigious award in New York's International Independent Film Festival Best Horror Feature.

Keith Bradley financed, produced and directed his horror movie Sacrificed on a small budget raised from the equity on his home in Edinburgh, and quickly secured First Prize in the face of world-wide competition.

In fact he funded three films one horror feature and two documentaries.

"Basically the whole thing is a cinematic experiment. Could I self finance, and shoot a low budget horror film with camcorders, and make it look like a bigger budgeted film? I think I have certainly achieved that goal.

Keith has been making films, drama, documentaries, animations, and recorded/produced music for twenty five years. "I am at the stage now where I need to be properly funded. My next script is a real cracker! I'm really excited about chasing a decent sized budget for this next production which might be described as a cross between Trainspotting and Goodfellas."

"Making Sacrificed was the most stressful task I have ever undertaken. The nightmares of self-financing a feature film, a high pressure two week shooting schedule, back-stabbing jealous types, and on-set sabotage almost took its toll. I was determined to work my guts out until I finished the film to my satisfaction, no matter what."

"If you want to make movies, you first have to be resilient to most forms of stress. What I learned from making it was not the actual filmmaking aspect, which is the easy part for me, but the behavioral side of peoples ego's and motivation. So if the filmmaking side dies a death I could always study human psychology!"

"I would wait forever for funding for this kind of project in Scotland", say's Keith. "I am a genre filmmaker and the British community seems interested only in making low key, soap-like productions. I had applied to Scottish Screen (the Scottish government-backed film institution which develops and helps finance Scottish-produced films) and was told they didn't fund 'schlock horror', which I wasn't impressed with. But I wasn't going to let that beat me. I go to the movies to be entertained and I'm not ashamed to make entertaining and thrilling films, so I sold the house and put the money where my mouth was."

The story of Sacrificed seems simple on the surface a group of young people spend the night in an old manse in the country and soon unleash devilish forces beyond their control.

"Francis Ford Coppola had an effect on my thinking. I watched a documentary on the making of Apocalypse Now, where he said, The film becomes a part of you, and not just a film. If you have a thousand dollars and don't care what really happens to it, when you throw it at you film boldly, you can make it have the effect of TEN thousand dollars! That was the comment that my brain couldn't shake.

Rather than submit his work to the death by a thousand cuts imposed by the legions of bureaucrats, script editors and producers who haunt the back rooms of the struggling British film industry, Keith decided to go it alone, using the newly available digital technology and powerful video editing, and sound production packages.

"You can go shoot a movie on your own in high broadcast quality with camcorders just like I did, but it doesn't really mean you'll make better movies. Shakespeare didn't have a word processor when we got word processors we didn't get Shakespeares. You've got to separate the two out there is creativity & technology the two are interrelated, but technology is not necessarily creative. The creative force exists on its own.

What I am interested in is the real art of storytelling, by employing the "cinematic" language, which seems long gone when it comes to current films made here in Scotland. Over the next few years I will be planning my escape from Scotland, and take my abilities across the pond to America, where they value commercially minded talent. Watch this space!"

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of Keith's film Sacrificed, please visit his website for details: