Phobos | Short Film

by Delfina Witkowska in Norwich, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 21st February 2020 we successfully raised £122 with 7 supporters in 28 days

An NUA graduate film: Phobos is a thriller, where detective must find victim, but what stands in his way is delusion, deception and death.

by Delfina Witkowska in Norwich, England, United Kingdom

WELCOME to 1 Phobos Way...

DC Bill Stevens, not two years ago failed to save the life of a young missing girl, this failure consumed him, defined him. Today he must question the husband of a missing woman, is history doomed to repeat itself?

All that can be said is that as soon as he enters the isolated house the missing woman is not the only one in danger, deception, delusion and death lies within. We are year 3 students from Norwich University of the arts, and this is a graduation film. Student short films often have a stigma attached, but if we can guarantee one thing, it's that this won't be like any you have seen before.


The main aim is to create a dark, creepy main tone of the film, and build enough attention by changing lenses frequently during the interaction between two characters.

The main tone of the film is going to be dark and black. The moodboard shows the creepy and dangerous feeling which the film will give to the audience. It also portrays how the protagonist will discover the truth by going into something more deeper and darker. The references are from True Detective (2014), Se7en (1995) and A Quiet Place (2018).

It will be important to put a lot of thought into the overall design as there are many elements within this film that help the narrative. A lot of inspiration comes from thrillers such as Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974), Se7en (1995) and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019). The scarecrow in this film plays an important role within the narrative. Although not seen for very long, the horror effect of the scarecrow and role it plays is very important, therefore the scarecrow has to really stand out and be memorable to the audience.


Toby Rendell-Dodd | Writer/Director, Producer & Editor

My name is Toby Rendell-Dodd, writer and director of Phobos. I knew this film would be a challenge because I wanted to make something that had audiences on the edge of their seats, something not enough student films are trying to do.

My aim is to deliver an experience but not a hollow one, while there are creepy, nail-biting moments, always ratcheting up the tension, the film looks deeply at the mind of two opposing forces the monster who has lost all humanity and the detective who must learn to conquer his fear to save a life. From the moment I picked up a camera, this film was always the way I was heading.

Ruiyang Zhang | Cinematographer

Hello, my name is Ruiyang Zhang. I am responsible for cinematography. I have always been keen on the idea of horror and thriller, and Phobos satisfies all my interests. Toby is definitely an ambitious director and his film requires a versatile location, an isolated wooden house, and strong acting skills, but as he knows clearly what he wants in his film, I am really confident about the team succeeding. 

As the cinematographer, I will work closely with the director on set. There is no doubt in my mind that we are going to overcome all the challenges together and achieve the best version of Phobos at the end.

Georgia Diane Pett | Production Designer

Hi, I'm Georgia and I'm the production designer on Phobos. I have worked on many films before but none of them have had the thriller/horror aspect like this one. The story is such a strong piece about facing your fears and doing the right thing no matter how scared you may be. 

With Toby's brilliant writing and artistic view of the script, bringing this film to life for the screen will be an interesting journey for all; especially in terms of designing an environment that creates a dark and intense situation for the DC Bill Stevens.

Delfina Witkowska | Sound Designer

I love a good mystery story as much as the next person, but this film stands out to me because of the unique use of storytelling, and because it is nothing like anything I've ever worked on before. I will use all I have learned up until now to create the sound of losing control and slipping off the path of sanity, to keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.

As a filmmaker, I see Phobos as an exploration of the human psyche meets the creative process. With the amazing team behind Toby, this film really will speak to you on a new level.

How YOU can bring this to reality

We can’t do it without your support! If you’ve gotten this far, and like what you hear, please consider donating or sharing.

We hope to, with your support, push the production value beyond our own boundaries. Any donation you give will be used for crucial aspects of production and distribution such as:

  • Casting professional actors to play Bill and Dawson
  • Booking locations for the shoot
  • Travel to and from shoots for the cast and crew
  • Props, costumes and design
  • Film festival entry fees

Should we pass our initial target of £1000, we hope to enter more film festivals, to put the film in front of more audiences and bring the mystery to the eyes of detective drama lovers.


This project offers rewards in return for your donation.

£15 or more

The Black Cat Case

A man arrested after 7 consecutive burglaries in one night. Left a drawing of a black cat in each home. A donation of £15 at this reward level gets you early access to the film as well as rewards from previous levels.

£5 or more

The Disgruntled Lover Case

A marriage ended, a wife not ready to not be a wife, for eight months she stalked her former husband day and night. The day of her arrest she was found with a knife, could have been much worse. A donation of £5 at this reward level gets you a shoutout on our social media page.

£10 or more

The Mayfair Family Case

A three-generation family-run stolen car parts business, all but the grandmother sentenced, she served as an informant of sorts. A donation of £10 at this reward level gets your name into the film's credits as a donor as well as rewards from the previous level.

£20 or more

The Red Petal Case

Knife crime is escalating in the city, but it was quite unusual to see it a flower show. Culprit caught, sentence pending, admiration all round for Bill. A donation of £20 at this reward level gets you a video shoutout from the director and crew on our Instagram story as well as rewards from previous levels.

£25 or more

The Hollow Oak Case

A man found dead in the woods, he lay amongst candles and a dead goat. Everything pointed toward suicide but not everything added up. Case closed. Bill thinks not. A donation of £25 at this reward level gets you PDF versions of the official film poster(s) as well as rewards from previous levels.

£50 or more

The “Method” Actor Case

A local small-time actor was cast in a play in which he played a crazed man. So for his “craft” began a string of assaults for weeks. He was stopped, sentenced and recast. A donation of £50 at this reward level gets you a PDF pack containing the screenplay and shooting storyboards for the film as well as rewards from previous levels.

£75 or more

The Unicorn Case: Unsolved

Less than a year ago, DC Stevens was assigned to on a case to find a missing young girl. She was found. Dead. The culprit never caught. A donation of £75 at this reward level gets you an exclusive copy of the film with an audio commentary from the director as well as rewards from previous levels.

£100 or more

The Finch Case: Ongoing

The murder of two young men at the hands of a recluse in the Finch woods. Still on the loose. A donation of £100 at this reward level gets you exclusive Behind the Scenes stills as well as rewards from previous levels.

£250 or more

Case at Phobos Way

Bill's whole career has been building up to this case, and it's unknowingly his hardest yet. A donation of £250 at this reward level gets you an EXECUTIVE PRODUCER credit on the film as well as rewards from previous levels.

Got an idea like this?

Our crowd has raised over £70 million for bright ideas and good causes.