An Interview With The Blackout Project

Preston, UK – the town may not be known as the centre of film making but this year a collaborative, independent feature film is being not only filmed in Preston, but it is based in Preston using creative and enthusiastic people from that area.  Called “The Blackout”, the film centres around 6 characters going about their everyday lives when there is a total power blackout…. a modern-day apocalypse almost…it sounds intriguing anyway! I caught up with the lovely Su Moffat, who is heading The Blackout Project, to find out more…image

Hi! My name is Su Moffat and I’m a freelance screenwriter based in Preston, Lancashire. I’m currently working on a feature film project here in Preston, The Blackout.

What was the inspiration behind the project?

The project is the brainchild of our Coordinating Director Alan Livesey. Alan has a great deal of experience in short film making, but was keen to move into feature films. Features, however, are notoriously huge beasts to wrangle and incredibly costly, so The Blackout Film Project is Alan’s way to approach this challenge. By building several production crews, each responsible for producing a short story within The Blackout, we are sharing the workload and producing our feature film in a fraction of the time, and for a fraction of the cost, of an ordinary independent feature film.

What is the goal of the project?

The goal of the project is to produce a multi-narrative (think Love Actually) feature film, from scratch, in 12 months. We’re relying on our crew and cast to contribute their time and we’re pulling resources from our wider community.

It is quite a costly and time-consuming challenge – how do you hope to achieve your goal?

Our writers and crew have given their time for free to get us to this point in pre-production. We’re raising funds to pay towards transport, locations and catering for our actors by holding monthly film screenings here in Preston (check out Facebook or Twitter for details BlackoutFilmProject, @FilmBlackout). This gives us a small monthly income without which we would have no budget at all.

Can you tell us a little bit about the film, The Blackout?

The story of The Blackout revolves around the first 12 hours of a complete power blackout; no electricity; no motorized transport; no telephones, and how the people of a small city will cope without the luxuries of modern living. The film concentrates on six individual stories and shows us how dependent we’ve become on technology and how little we’re prepared to live without them.

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Any particular reason why the film and project are based around Preston? Has the support you’ve received so far exceeded your expectation?

The film itself is located around Preston because this is where most of the crew live and where most of our resources are. We set out to show that this kind of film doesn’t need to be all ‘government conspiracy and military intervention’ – if The Blackout happened in real life, people in smaller areas will simply have to get on with it alone. And that’s where we think the more interesting stories lie. We’ve had an overwhelming response from our community towards this project. We’ve had offers of help from junior football teams, scout troops, dancers, catering companies… the list goes on… and it’s really humbling to hear so many people excited to get involved. We’ve had tremendous support from local bloggers, ‘Blog Preston’, coverage in the Lancashire Evening Post and radio coverage from BBC Radio Lancashire and Preston FM. It’s an amazing project to be involved in and I’m so pleased I got involved at the beginning!

When do you hope the film will be finished & released?

We’re shooting the film in sections over June and July, then the post-production editing will happen over the summer. We’ll then be holding a red-carpet preview screening in November in Preston before the film heads over to the film festival circuit.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Hmm, outfits and shoes… I’d love to throw some designer names around, but I’m a jeans and Uggs/Converse girl really. I do like Radley bags though and I once bought a pair of Kurt Geiger boots that I love but have never worn!

When you get a chance, what genre of films do you like to watch? Any favourites?

I don’t think I have a specific genre of film that I enjoy. As a writer I’m all about the story, but I’m learning to appreciate film from an aesthetic point of view now too. I don’t honestly think I could choose a favourite but we recently watched ‘Birdman’ – at our first fundraising evening – it’s fabulously bonkers, I love the dialogue and it’s beautiful to look at, so that’s probably one I’d recommend.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Despite living in Preston we regularly go shopping in Newcastle and my favourite department store up there is Fenwicks. They have an outstanding selection of everything, from shoes to food! It’s shopping heaven! I also like Hollister, even though it’s too dark to see anything, but it smells great!

What’s next on your clothes/shoes/bag wishlist?

I’m after a pair of white Converse for the summer and I’m expanding my skirts wardrobe – I really like that maxi length skirts are back in. I also need another cross-body bag from Radley – anything in blue – hint, hint!

Boots Or Shoes?

Boots September – April, shoes/bare feet May-August. Why? ‘Cos I always have done?!

For further information:
@FilmBlackout

 Thanks so much Su for taking time out to talk to us and I look forward to seeing the film once it’s released.  It’s quite exciting watching a film being made – the BBC filmed the opening scenes of their TV film Great Expectations around my village and surrounding marshes. It was great fun sitting on the sea wall watching the film being acted then watching it evolve months later as a finished film on TV.  Have any readers got any film stories they’d like to share? Do tell!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Su Moffat and The Blackout Project.

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2 thoughts on “An Interview With The Blackout Project”

  1. Years back I watched the filming of “On Golden Pond” at Squam Lake, NH. It was an awakening! That little scene where they pull the wooden speedboat up to the docks and Katherine Hepburn gets in took two full days to shoot..I was exhausted watching it. So while I still love the movies (my family owned theaters when movies ere shown in small houses) as an adult with ADD either making one, or watching a film being made, is, for me, akin to watching paint dry..sigh

    1. Probably was great to see Katherine Hepburn though! It is quite drawn out – I spent two long days watching two different scenes being acted out – but I’m glad I witnessed it. My youngest two sons weren’t as impressed with the filming and spent their time rolling down the seawall banks into the mud below! 🙂

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