Brit Vampire Movie Plays For HIGH STAKES
British vampire feature High Stakes - now in post production aiming for an autumn release - was shot in Penarth and Cardiff in South Wales in the spring of this year, shooting on two cameras in six days. Schedule was tight and could not run over as the principle location was a chapel. The congregation needed it back on the seventh day for Sunday services.
"My company, Garland Stone, has been trying to get some British projects going for quite some time," says Cardiff-based producer Dewi Griffiths, who has worked on projects as diverse as Merchant Ivory films, The X Files and Julian Richards' Darklanmds. "It has been almost impossible to finance movies completely out of Britain. So last autumn, I went on a Wales Trade and Industry Delegation to Toronto-and funnily enough, I met a guy from Cardiff. Cardiff's a big town, you see!"
The guy was director Peter Ferris. He then brought on board Oscar-nominated executive producer Danny Chang (prod The Last Unicorn, dir Unusual Requests.) Ferris and Chang run acting schools in Wales and London from which the High Stakes cast was drawn. Griffiths lectures in production, so was able to crew from the University of Glamorgan and the International Film School of Wales. HODs were are all experienced pros including award-winning cinematographer Viv Mainwaring and Dick Phillip who was boom op on The Hills Have Eyes took charge of sound. Several crew had worked on the latest series of Doctor Who which filmed in the area.
"Peter said, ‘Right, we've got the actors, we've got the location, what shall we do?' " Griffiths recalls. "So we came up with the idea of good and bad vampires, and them hiding in plain sight. I took the idea and gave it to one of my regular screenwriters, Michael Doyle, and we came up with High Stakes."
The story of High Stakes is about a gambler who runs into trouble with gangsters who turn out to be vampires. He takes sanctuary in a local church and community center, where he finds a priest (Jason Excell) and a group of young people who seem strangely ambivalent about protecting him. A series of revelations about who is what turn the idea of sanctuary on its head, and create a story which injects real originality into the vampire genre.
"We designed it all to be shot within one building and very, very rapidly, because we only had the place for a week," Griffiths says. "That meant keeping it very much a page-turner, an entertaining and exciting vampire movie, playing around with conventions as much as possible but having to be massively efficient. We're spending a few thousand quid on this; we're making this movie for less than the price of a good second-hand car!"
A High Stakes trailer was show at Cannes and was well received. The completed movie should be ready in this autumn.
For more info go to the High Stakes website