SAE Oxford student crowdfunding £7,000 for espionage thriller

06 Feb 2019

Callum John, a Digital Film Production student at SAE Oxford has launched a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise £7,000 to cover the production costs of his short film that is based on a 1950s interrogation.

In the first 24 hours since the campaign was launched, the project had already raised £240. The campaign will run for 40 days altogether.

Designation: Limbo is a 20 minute espionage thriller based in Oxfordshire, England, 1952 and will amalgamate the emotion and tone of the film noir, alongside the tension and style of the modern period thriller genre.

Christopher Oxley, an average academic, sits in an interrogation, trying to prove himself innocent to the stoic British Intelligence Officer, Agent Sullivan, in spite of all the evidence pointing to him as a traitor of the state.

The plot revolves around three main characters, and centers around the interrogation scene. The audience takes the position of the interrogator, working out what happened through a series of flashbacks which form the answers to the interrogator’s questions. From a frantic chase through a steam train station to an exchange at a glamourous jazz club, there looks set to be no shortage of intriguing action.

Callum says the project will not only serve as his dissertation project, he also wants to take it on the festival circuit. It will also be the opening instalment to a planned anthology series set during the Cold War, a historical period that Callum feels particularly passionate about.

He said:

“I’m a big fan of history. This is a time period that I am quite excited by. For me, I like looking at stories from different perspectives.”

He acknowledges the added difficulties that accompany taking on a period drama as a project. Even though the project is not based on historical events, he is all too aware that historical accuracy is still important - both aesthetically, as well as in terms of how you direct the actors.

From sourcing vintage costumes, to employing Leanne Wallace as make-up artist, whose makeup and hair history knowledge allow her to pick up anachronism in period TV and films, it seems like Callum John is doing everything within his remit to make sure this production is as professional as possible.  

The actors involved have a wealth of experience which will enhance the quality of this production even further.

Christopher Weeks (starring as Christopher Oxley) trained at the Oxford School of Drama. Since graduating in 2017, he has originated the role of Johnny Gustafson in the UK Tour of 'Cilla the Musical', played Guy Haines in 'Strangers on a Train' at Frinton Summer Theatre, played Edward Wells in 'The Martian Invasion of Earth' for Big Finish Productions, and Will in 'For the Time Being' for BBC Radio 4, among others.

Ben Readings (starring as Agent Frost) is an IT engineer by day and an actor by night, who has been performing since 2012, and has been on stage and involved in local film projects since then. Ben has had notable roles as Robert Toogood in ‘The Hunt’, Dmitri in ‘Seeing Grace’ and others in Deadly Game IV, Dinosaur Britain as well as lots of extra work.

As part of his efforts to raise the £7,000 needed to shoot and produce the film, Callum is also looking for business investment. The project is a local film that stars Oxford residents, alongside many iconic Oxfordshire landmarks. It is a great opportunity for local businesses to contribute to a film that celebrates this historic city of dreaming spires.

There are a number of awards available that correspond to different donation sums, which are detailed on the Crowdfund page.

To find out more about Designation: Limbo or to donate to the Crowdfunder, click here.

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