To Disappear Suddenly - a noir horror short film

by Margaret Milner Schmueck in Walsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom

To Disappear Suddenly - a noir horror short film

Total raised £460

£6,000 target 34 days left
7% 10 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 29th March 2024 at 5:06pm

We're making a black & white noir horror short film. We're raising money to pay our costs, finish the film and send it to film festivals.

by Margaret Milner Schmueck in Walsall, West Midlands, United Kingdom

When a young man disappears mysteriously, a sceptical, small-town investigator becomes obsessed with finding a rational explanation - and in doing so, risks meeting the same fate.

Our black & white noir horror short film has already been filmed, but we have the expenses still to cover. We did things this way due to a narrow window of opportunity for accessing our key location and some key cast and crew. Our stars aligned early, so now we are crowdfunding.

We have in addition post-production expenses ahead of us, and we would also like to have funds for submitting the completed film to film festivals so that our story can travel around the world.

Short story synopsis

When a student disappears mysteriously, last seen entering a Church, a sceptical small-town investigator becomes obsessed with finding a rational explanation for the case. Suspicious of the local priest and jaded by superstitious colleagues, the investigator spirals deeper into the mystery, putting himself at risk of meeting the same fate.

Seán McGrail - WRITER and DIRECTOR

1701362636_sean_mcgrail_-_low.jpgSeán the writer/director, comes from a documentary background where he has made films about cult musician/comic book artist Jeffrey Lewis and director Paddy Slattery, as well as working with award-winning documentary filmmaker Sean McAllister on projects including the BFI/BBC film 'A Northern Soul'. Seán has recently taken part in BFI Network's New Directors Series and Script Development Lab and is currently focusing on making films that explore alternative perspectives of life in the Midlands, especially his hometown of Walsall, the location for his most recent short fiction film, 'This Is My Town'.

Check out Seán's  film & TV credits on IMDB.

ACTOR Graham Fellows as O'BRIEN

1701363186_graham_fellows_-_low.jpgGraham Fellows is a Leicester-based actor, comedian, musician, writer and director. Born in Sheffield, Graham is known in music, comedy and acting under many guises - from Jilted John and John Shuttleworth to Brian Appleton and David Tordoff. His acting credits include Coronation Street, Morons from Outer Space Time Gentlemen Please, Heartbeat, Sooty, Ideal, Hattie and Count Arthur Strong. His writing/directing credits include It's Nice Up North (2006), Southern Softies (2009) and his recent documentary Father Earth (2022) (https://fatherearthmovie.com)

Check out Graham's film & TV credits on IMDB.

CREW - David Lee - CINEMATOGRAPHER

1701362971_david_lee_-_low.jpg David is an award winning cinematographer who grew up in Glasgow, with family from Hong Kong. He has a passion for painting since a young age, studied Photography, Film & Video (Contemporary Media Practice) at University of Westminster. David worked on films & high-end dramas with DPs David Raedker BSC (Black Mirror), Simon Dennis BSC ASC, Barry Ackroyd BSC & Alwin Kuchler BSC, under directors Ken Loach, John Madden & Dominic Savage. David has formed a kinetic voice in his work, a fusion from living in Western & Eastern cultures.

David's awards include:
-Best Cinematography winner for Films ’Almania’ & ‘Close to the Bone’.
-Best Cinematography nomination for ‘Lure Clothing’.
-BAFTA nomination for Film ‘Slap’.
-‘Skint’ & ‘The Wedding’ mini dramas both nominated for Broadcast Digital awards.
-‘Hings’ nominated for Royal Television Society award.
-Film ‘Red’ BAFTA new talent winner for editing.
-‘Armchair Detectives’ BAFTA winner for Best Entertainment, Tiger Aspect.
-Film 'Waste' - BSC (British Society of Cinematographers), nominated for ‘Emerging Cinematographer’.
-Alumnus of Berlinale Talent Campus

Check out David's film & TV credits on IMDB

ACTOR Luke McCarthy as JACK

1702464857_to_disappear_suddenly_day_3-190-low.jpgLuke is a Wolverhampton-born actor who has recently appeared in the BBC/Kudosseries SAS Rogues Heroes. A graduate of Rose Bruford College, his credits include: "Thomas" in Nora: A Doll's House and "Richard III" in Queen Margaret. Luke has many talents including being a qualified yachtsman and he also plays the guitar.

Check out Luke's film & TV credits on IMDB

ACTOR Katherine Lea as SHOREY 

1702464815_to_disappear_suddenly_day_3-202-low.jpgKatherine Lea is an actor from the West Midlands. She trained at ArtsEd. Recent screen credits include 'Learn To Loathe Yourself' (Introspective Productions), 'Sweetly It Turns' (Root Puller), and short film 'Beyond the Fuchsias'. TV credits include Doctors (BBC). She has a degree in English and Drama from the University of Exeter, and has performed professionally in the theatre since the age of 9.

Check out Katherine's  film & TV credits on IMDB

ACTOR Peter Tabornal as FR. IAN

1702465034_to_disappear_suddenly_day_1-11-low.jpgPeter is a Filipino Actor and International vocalist/songwriter from Leicester. A graduate of The Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, he has a background in Musical Theatre and performance. Recently finished his second contract as Vocalist for the Ultra Luxury cruise line, Silversea Cruises as part of the production cast of Silver Moon.

Check out Peter's Luke's film & TV credits on IMDB

CREW - Brian Gray - SOUND RECORDIST

1702465134_to_disappear_suddenly_day_2-128-low.jpgBrian born in Rotherham and living in Sheffield, is a sound recordist/mixer with over 25 years’ of experience. Brian has worked on over thirty feature films, fifty plus shorts and has done many Corporate and Television shoots including live TV work. Also a post-production sound designer and mixer and formally a recording studio owner, Brian has experience and insight into the whole audio workflow from script to screen.

Check out Brian's film & TV credits on IMDB

PRODUCER - Margaret Milner Schmueck

1701430582_margaretms_-_low.jpgMargaret is from Cork Ireland and has to date produced a number of award winning short live-action and animation films along with one feature film INBRED.  Margaret has enjoyed a recent hiatus in her producing career due to the adoption of a sibling pair that has kept her very busy for the past few years.  Margaret now has a small focused slate of projects in active development in her production company Split Second Films which she co-founded. She lives and works in semi-rural Northamptonshire in the East Midlands. 

Last year Margaret produced BFI funded short TICKER (2023) shot on film in the 1701430921_splitsecondbw.jpgWest Midlands starring Ian Gelder and Paul Copley, it was BFI funded and made the top three films in the recent 2023 Iris Prize Festival International Award in Best British and currently streams on Channel4. Additional funding was raised through the Crowdfunder platform.

Check out Margaret's  film & TV credits on IMDB or the production company Split Second Films which is handling production of TO DISAPPEAR SUDDENLY.

Project Background

The script for TO DISAPPEAR SUDDENLY was developed through the BFI Network scriptwriting development scheme with Script Editor Joe Willis (https://www.jwwriting.com)

How will the cash be spent?

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Directors Note

"To Disappear Suddenly is an offbeat mystery story set in the West Midlands, in which an unfortunate event brings four characters together to grapple with the uncertainties of life around them.

Growing up in Walsall, I was drawn to the mystery genre as a form of escapism, particularly the dark and glamorous world of American film noir and hardboiled fiction. But I've come to realise there are no fewer mysteries here than anywhere else, and Walsall - with an overlooked beauty and strangeness - is a great place to explore these types of stories.

The desire for mystery and escape from the mundane feels ever more prevalent at a time when true crime and conspiracy are everywhere, and the film speaks about a world where repetition, lack of opportunity, and disconnect lead to a desire for something out of the ordinary.

To achieve this, I wanted to go beyond typical pastiches of film noir and horror - incorporating some elements of the genre but in ways which felt organic to the story and true to people and places I know. I worked with DoP David Lee to translate these ideas into a visual style, and together we spent many enjoyable days and nights plotting how to create this feeling of something familiar but different and specific to its time and place.

I've been lucky to meet many new collaborators through the film. I developed the story through the BFI Network Script Lab with the great support of script editor Joe Willis. But getting it made was another matter, and it was only after I met Producer Margaret Milner Schmueck that the film became a reality through her support and determination. Working together for almost a year with no funding but a shared DIY ethos, we have got the film to this point so far - with Margaret always encouraging me to be bold and stay true to my vision. We shot the film in Walsall with a largely Midlands-based crew who contributed so much and an exciting cast, including Graham Fellows, whose work I have admired for many years, and a great group of Midlands actors - Katherine, Peter and Luke.

It's a very personal story written for and filmed in streets and locations I've lived and grown up in. I think there should be more opportunities and encouragement for filmmakers to make films like this in places like this, and I hope the film can serve as something of a blueprint for how to do this on a low budget, and together, we can get the film over the finish line and get this unusual Midlands story out into the world."

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