Height of madness as low-budget film makes it big

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HAVING been responsible for plenty of blood and explosions on one of the most violent computer games ever – Grand Theft Auto IV – designer Kris Bird was ideally suited for his next move.

The 24-year-old is one half of a new Edinburgh-based movie-making team set to burst on to the scene with their first feature, The Dead Outside.

The film, produced by Kris and Kerry Anne Mullaney, will gets its premiere at the Film4 Frightfest in London next month.

Previous years have seen the UK premiere screenings of offerings such as Shaun of the Dead and Eli Roth's Hostel.

Kris said: "For a film of our size it's a major coup for it to have its premiere at the Odeon in the West End."

Kris is a veteran of the gaming industry, having worked as a freelance 3-D character artist since he was 16.

At just 17, his talents took him to America for two years before he moved to Edinburgh to work for Vis Entertainment, developing games for the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Gamecube consoles.

Latterly he worked for Rockstar Games on the infamously violent Grand Theft Auto IV – a useful job when making his transition to the world of horror films.

He said: "I switched to doing visual effects – explosions, fire, blood, that kind of stuff. That was really cool because they are skills that are transferable to film."

Made under the banner of Mothcatcher Films, the "micro budget" creation was shot in the Dumfries countryside over 15 days in March.

It is set on a secluded Scots farm in the aftermath of a pandemic that has left much of the world's population in the grip of a strange madness.

While the "infected" characters in the movie are disorientated and sometimes violent, they are still alive, so the Granton-based film-makers are keen to point out this is no zombie movie.

Director Kerry Anne, 32, an Edinburgh College of Art graduate, said: "Madness and the fear of madness are big themes of the film.

"It also revolves around paranoia and the fear of infection, and about how the people on this farm cope with this. Ours aren't like a breed – they're all still different characters."

The film marks the acting debut, at 16, of Sandra Louise Douglas as April and co-stars Alton Milne, who portrays Daniel, a desperate and bereaved 30-year-old clinging on to the hope of life in the outside world.

Until now, Kris and Kerry Anne have been making promotional music videos for bands such as the Cosmic Rough Riders and Drive By Argument.

But their passion to make their own feature-length film was so strong they were not prepared to wait for opportunity to knock.

Kris said: "We decided we should go straight in the deep end, otherwise it wasn't the sort of thing that was going to happen in the next five years if we went the traditional route.

"So we basically used the equipment and resources we had built up for corporate and music video work and used that. We also pulled an awful lot of favours and decided to produce it ourselves."

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