Production on Native, a UK sci-fi feature starring Rupert Graves and Ellie Kendrick, wrapped on July 16.
Jen Handorf, of Dark Matter Ltd co-produces with Liverpool-based, feature debutants, Neil Atkinson and Jim Fitzsimmons of Glasshouse Films.
Daniel Fitzsimmons directs from the screenplay he co-wrote the script with Atkinson.
Native is the story of two humanoids from a telepathic society hunting down a sound signal from a distant planet - Earth. It soon becomes clear that they are on more than just a voyage of discovery - their mission is to colonise.
However, for one of them the isolation and breaking away from the telepathic collective means they go through a series of changes that makes them more emotional, self aware - more human.
Handorf, a veteran of six horror features, says: “I’ve never done a science fiction film. The idea of creating a world, where you create your own rules and that you don’t have to adhere to any cultural stereotypes was really interesting to me.”
Daniel Fitzsimmons adds: “My biggest concern, on the budget level we’re on, and telling the story successfully, was that the spaceship needs to feel real. It can’t feel like a backdrop.”
Set designer Jon Revell built some models based on ideas he’d discussed with the director. When talks extended to visual effects supervisor Colin Smith Fitzsimmons says: “[the] potential to create things in such a simple and beautiful template was really exciting.”
During pre-production the producers and director worked in collaboration with Dagenham (East London)’s Robert Clack School. As a result of their association with the school, Barking and Dagenham Council, allowed them access to shoot at Goresbrook Leisure Centre - a dormant building awaiting demolition - and outside locations in the area.
The sports hall naturally became the studio where they could build their ambitious spaceship set. In exchange the producers gave work experience to a number of Film and TV A-Level pupils from Robert Clack School.
Neil Atkinson says of the student programme, “It’s nice to have fresh energy. It’s nice to be asked questions. It’s nice to have people [on set] who clearly respect what you’re doing and want to learn from it.”
The cast also includes Leanne Best, Daniel Brocklebank, Chiara D’Anna, Joe Macaulay, and Pollyanna McIntosh.
Native is Glasshouse’s first feature, and the project is financed by a SEIS (Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme).
Daniel Fitzsimmons, repped by PBJ, has previously made shorts including PRO, David & Goliath, Don’t Stand Still and There Goes The Fear.