Film Festival Activity

After a hectic, but entertaining ten months, we have been thrilled to find Drone Strike so popular on the short film circuit. Our twelfth festival laurel has now arrived from Henley Fringe Festival where Drone Strike will screen in late July.

Looking back, one of the greatest achievements for Drone Strike in 2014 was winning the Best Short award, as voted by the jury at the Beverly Hills Film Festival. To be first in any manner is a fantastic feeling, but to be recognised by a jury made up of distinguished Hollywood professionals was an accolade that felt very special.

The trophy for the Jury Award Best Short at Beverly Hills Film Festival

Another unexpected delight came from an invitation to screen the film to a private audience as part of a promotional event the San Diego Film festival organised ahead of their festival in September. San Diego is a large military city in the US and the lengthy 25 minute Q & A session after the film proved to be challenging and very enjoyable with an enthusiastic audience.

Director Chris Richmond at the San Diego VIP screening Q&A with Tonya Mantooth

We are still in festival mode, and are finding ourselves being invited to many more great festivals and events. Since our last update Drone Strike has also screened at the Omaha Film Festival 2014, the Cleveland International Film Festival and Cinema Jove in Valencia. Coming up in July, we represent England in the One Country One Film International Film Festival in France on the 25th of July, and screen at the aforementioned Henley Fringe & Film Festival on July 27th.

We look forward to updating you again very soon.

Festival Update

The last two months have been great for ‘Drone Strike’, it screened at the Miami Short Film Festival in November, it won the Accolade Award of Merit and we screened at the Bahamas International Film Festival in early December.

It has been an interesting journey of discovery taking our first project onto the festival circuit. The film has been well received wherever it goes and it has been an honour to have screened alongside some truly wonderful films. You soon realise the competition for screening slots is fierce. There is a vast amount of amazing films out there coming from all round the world, covering every subject matter you can think of in a variety of different styles. The quality can compare to films produced by big studios but unfortunately most of them will never be distributed. Film Festivals, usually run by a dedicated bunch of enthusiasts, provide a much needed spotlight on the great work being produced by so many talented filmmakers and we are very grateful for their existence.
‘Drone Strike’ will be next screening at the NewFilmmakers LA on Saturday 11th January: AT&T CENTER in Downtown Los Angeles at 6pm.
And at the London Short Film Festival on Saturday 18th January: Global Conflicts programme at the ICA at 4pm.
We hope to see you there!

CNN Interview on Drone Strike

CNN recently approached Drone Strike director Chris Richmond for an interview on the film’s portrayal of drone warfare. It was included in their analysis piece on the wider impacts of drone strikes – pilots’ mental health issues, the reports of hundreds of civilian casualties and unpredictable and ongoing repercussions in targeted regions.

Chris went to the CNN studios in Soho to be interviewed down the line by Becky Anderson, who was in the Middle East at the time. The piece as a whole is a compelling examination of the untold side of drone warfare, and the inclusion of Drone Strike footage works well. The piece can be found on the CNN website.

UK Cast & Crew Screening

Drone Strike had it’s UK private screening for the cast and crew involved in the production of the film, on Tuesday September 3rd in the Moving Picture Company’s Screening Room in Central London.

With the fantastic response of over 160 people in attendance, three showings of the film were held throughout the evening, each followed by a Q & A session with Director Chris Richmond and Producer Mike Sedgwick. The first screening of the night was open to invited members of the press from various newspapers, news channels and publications across London. After this airing Chris and Mike were also joined by Mark Bazeley (Will Brydon) and Andrew Lee Potts (Sergeant Craig), for an informative session on the background of the film and the work involved on bringing it to life on screen. Check out the Media section of our website for press comments and full reviews.

The feedback and support the film received during the night, and the subsequent days after, is testament to the large number of people who dedicated time, effort, hard work and funding to ensure the film was a great success. Over the past two years an extensive team of people have been involved throughout the different stages of this project and we were delighted to see so many were able to reconvene for the screening.

In Morocco, the location setting for our Afghanistan scenes, a second private screening will be held during the next few weeks for the Drone Strike cast and crew there. Pictures and news will follow after the showing!

Following on from the private screening, Drone Strike arrived in Beverly Hills last week where it has been submitted for consideration for the 86th Academy Awards in February 2014! And the next stop is the Miami Short Film Festival from the 8th – 15th November. The film will be screened on Saturday November 9th in the ‘Wandering Knight’ category.

The World Premiere

Drone Strike has had the greatest possible start to its festival circuit with winning the Grand Jury Prize for Best Short at the Rhode Island International Film Festival on August 12th.

Chris with the prize

Having its world premiere at the festival’s Opening Night in front of 800 people was already a great honor, but the film went on to beat off stiff competition from 210 other international short films, to claim the Festival’s biggest prize – the festival nomination for Academy Award consideration at the 86th Academy Awards in 2014, which will be held in February next year!

The Rhode Island International Film Festival is one of just 75 festivals around the world which are official qualifiers for The Oscars so this as an unexpected and very exciting achievement.

The Vets building, where Drone Strike had its world premiere

At this event, the festival  “spotlight’s the very best of our short film submissions, serving to provide a taste of the breadth of subject matter, inspiration, and talent that is prevalent in the festival”.

Drone Strike credits

Director Chris Richmond flew out to Rhode Island to attend the premiere and was delighted with the support, praise and enthusiasm that he received from both audience members and fellow filmmakers alike. We send a very special thanks to Cat Sumislaski who made the 3-hour trip from Maine for the film’s premiere!

The success of ‘Drone Strike’ at the Rhode Island International Film Festival is an acknowledgement of all the hard work, dedication and effort that so many people across two continents have put into making this film over the past two years.

George T Marshall, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Intl Film Festival, commented on the film’s success “‘Drone Strike’ is impressive, smart and spot-on as it relates a story ripped out of the headlines, never losing touch with that common humanity that links us all. A brilliant tour de force by director, Chris Richmond and a film that is sure to spark conversation and debate.”

Now that the festival season has begun we will keep you up to date on Drone Strike’s progression, in this new stage of the film’s life, and we look forward to the excitement of many more screenings, both locally and on the international stage.

Drone Strike supporters: Alan Heap

We have the pleasure to introduce you to Drone Strike’s Associate Producer!

Alan is the CEO of Purple Monster, whose aim is to be the most creative engagement partner an organisation can work with. Scout Films’s parent company Atticus Finch has had the pleasure of working with him many times over the years and, like everyone who knows him, we love him. Of course when he tried to insist that he play both Will and Catherine Brydon we had to draw the line – but we did it nicely, you know?

If you’re looking for skilled, creative, ambitious cultural change programmes for your staff team, give Purple Monster a call.

Drone Strike supporters: Colm Roche

Colm is a very talented graphic designer, who runs a London-based agency called Imagist. He’s a supporter of Drone Strike and we want to say ‘thank you’ by dedicating this post to him.

He’s very smart, with a strong customer focus. Contrary to popular belief, he is not related to Sir Boyle Roche, the 1st Baronet, Irish politician and wit. He recently moved south of the river, and his office is now rather conveniently close to the Hide Bar, whose mixologists on occasion make him a sublime Martini.

Drone Strike supporters: Caroline Sedgwick

Caroline is our only Brussels-based contributor so far – but it’s a foot in the door… She loves living abroad and using her foreign languages, but in the end had to move from Madrid to Brussels because it was ‘too sunny… not enough rain’. She wanted to contribute because she loves the idea of the film, and is expecting great things from it. We salute you Caroline – we will not disappoint you!

ADR & Foley

Over the past few weeks we’ve been working hard on Drone Strike’s audio. Soundscaping has a profound effect on the story – it enriches the visuals and transforms 2D into something a bit closer to 3D. As well as the audio we recorded on location, two other key ingredients for the soundscape are ADR and foley.

ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) means re-recording actors’ lines in a studio, to improve the quality or allow for dialog changes. Hollywood movies do it all the time, but independent films generally do it only when absolutely necessary, for budget reasons.

To be fair, we were asking quite a lot of our Moroccan actors to deliver their lines in Pashto, when none of them can speak the language at all… So to make sure all the Afghan dialogue is intelligible and as convincing as possible, we had to replace a couple of the lines at Silk Sound. Getting the tone of the delivery right, as well as synched to the onscreen mouth movements is quite an art…!

A huge thank you to our friends at Silk Sound for their help with the ADR, and in particular to  sound engineer Will Morton for his skills on the day.

The foley session was a completely new experience for director Chris Richmond, who spent an intense half day at 5a Studios, as the team recreated a whole host of real life sounds like footsteps, doors and chewing food etc, that the audio equipment didn’t get during the shoot.

Although it is one of the more subtle film elements, used properly it makes a scene more realistic and believable, by placing the viewer ‘in the room’ with the characters.

Foley engineer Andy Boyle and foley artist Gareth Jones did an amazing job, thanks guys!

Drone Strike supporters: Adam Flude

Our contributors have made a massive difference to Drone Strike, and we love every single one of them. But some people’s contributions are so valuable that they deserve their own blog post…!

One of Drone Strike’s greatest supporters is Adam Flude. He believes, as we do, that Drone Strike is a story that needs to be told, and hopes it will raise awareness of current military policies.

He takes an active role in various campaigns against the War on Terror, which Britain is ever more deeply involved in through piloting drones from RAF Waddington. You can follow and support his activities through this website: and also on Twitter @UKFPI.

Adam is also a businessman, he owns a wonderful rug shop in Chischester – ‘Adam’s Rugs’. However, he is soon closing down to focus on campaigning. So if you’re furniture shopping, check out his website, there is a sale with up to 70% off for the next couple of weeks!