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25th May, 2022

Film-maker's made-in-Stratford horror movie makes the big screen

Sarah Mason 21st Jan, 2022

A HOMEMADE horror film has made it to the big screen.

Director and writer James Mason filmed ‘To Catch a Fish’ at his parents’ Stratford home which has since premiered at Birmingham’s Millennium Point Imax theatre.

The 30-minute film is inspired by American cult series The Twilight Zone and is the first in an anthology series called The Unfortunate Tales.

It tells the story of Noel, a young, failing writer, coming to terms with the reality of his talent.

The film cost the 25-year-old just under £7,000 to make.

James saved from his job as an English teacher and media lead at Solihull’s St John Henry Newman Catholic College, to finance the film.

He said: “While my friends have been saving for mortgages, I have been saving for the film. Anything I had spare would go towards it.

“Although it has really left me dry, I was determined to be sole financier and by concentrating the spend on the crew I was able to employ a high-end production team.”

His parents also had crucial roles in the film – his father as The Gent and his mum with a voice-over part.

James added: “The budget was tight and so was the seven-day shoot itself. During one scene we had to stop halfway through and allow my mum to finish her dinner at the table.

“As the director, it felt a bit awkward telling the crew that my mum had to eat her bowl of pasta before I could say action again!”

Award-winning television and film scriptwriter Tim Prager, whose credits include Silent Witness and Dalziel and Pascoe, gave James the advice of his experience during the editing process.

He said: “Getting a film made is always something close to a miracle.

“What James Mason has done by scrimping and saving from his teacher’s salary, making each day stretch to 26 hours, finding a talented cast close to home and an excellent professional crew who believed in James and his project is nothing short of exceptional.

“James has chased his dream and caught it. His indefatigable dedication deserves to be celebrated as much as the film itself. Rarely, can you say with complete confidence that there will be more to come. With James Mason it’s a dead cert.”

James plans to start filming on the second Unfortunate Tale this summer.

To Catch A Fish will be available to view for free on YouTube in late January.

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