Machine Stopped Working - London Sci-Fi 48 Hour FIlm Competition

“In the beginning there was sci-fi,


 Lo, let it be said that the ‘Lord of Machines’ will have it return.


Although a great horror was cast across the land; the apostles Bloody Cuts reveled in darkness spanning many years (three whole years)…


And then there was light again, and the ‘Machines Stopped Working’…”


Eh hem….. AAAAAAAAnyway…….

This is what 48 hours with no sleep will do to a blogger… Why?

Some of the Bloody Cuts crew and I just took part in the SCI-FI-LONDON 48hr Film Challenge, that’s why and it was bleeding brilliant fun.

The challenge is to make a 5-minute (or less) sci-fi film utilizing 3 assets; a title, a prop and a line of dialogue in under 48 hours.

The SCI-FI-LONDON 48hr Film Challenge is the thing that inspired Ben Franklin, Jonny Franklin and I to create Bloody Cuts. We had such an amazing experience entering the competition back in 2011 we felt it was about time we did it again.

We really enjoyed the challenge of working on low budgets and tight time constraints, and the immediate satisfaction from working in such short form, but wondered how far we could push it… In 2011 we had a tank… in 2014 we had a 10 foot robot…

After running the BC Horror Challenge, seeing what fun the competitors were having and the inspiring films they delivered, Ben, Jonny and I had a real urge to give a competition a bash ourselves. So we did… and here’s the result:

‘Machines Stopped Working’ – Shot, edited, graded, VFX’ed, scored, uploaded and watched, all in 172,800.64 seconds (we made Joel count them):

We had already decided that we wanted to cover new ground, tread some action into our repertoire and we’d fortunately secured a kick-ass location to do just that.

So the first of many huge thanks goes to ‘Sibelco’ a Belgian mineral and metal extraction company, who graciously let us run around their sand quarry based in Leziate, Norfolk with a 10ft robot and a selection of automatic weapons over the weekend. Special personal thanks go to Simon Mace who set everything up for us and Tim Mendham for not only being an amazing site manager, for also driving the dolly car and not killing Tom Sawyer.

The second set of thanks go to our dear friends at Millennium FX for loaning us a host of equipment and makeup, including the aforementioned 10ft robot, but also the aliens and the not-so-alien, but totally AWESOME Kate Walshe, who as always delivered above, beyond and then into outer space (quite literally)…

We were also fortunate to make some new friends at Prop Store London, “the world’s leading vendor of original movie props and costumes”. Huge undying thanks to Stephen Lane and Tim Lawes for letting us loose in possibly one of the most exciting warehouses in the universe. With their grace we ran off with a van load of guns, costumes and a prop from the set of Prometheus (Oddly the second connection with that film in BC history).

Talking of friends, we were in great company with some familiar and fresh faces on this shoot with Tom Sawyer, Dominic Kinnaird and Richard Garaghty joining a cast of 5, which also included Paul Jibson and Kate Braithwaite.  I have few words to describe how patient, giving, talented and god-darn brilliant these cats were over the weekend, but here’s two, followed by some more.  ABSOLUTELY STUNNED at how these very talented actors can turn around such great performances given the time constraints and rather amorphous nature of this style of filmmaking… We’re in bits with Gratitude.

The Crew, O the Crew… ‘Machines Stopped Working’ is the third film that Ben Franklin and I have co-directed and yet again we’ve been hugely spoilt by the talent and commitment of each and every member of the crew… If there is such a thing as “Ultimate Love” it goes to the following people:

  • Jonny Franklin – Director Of Photography
  • Joel Morgan – Writer
  • Patrick Jonsson – Composer
  • Rory Harper – 1st AD
  • James Hills- 1st AC
  • Chris Goodman – Art Director
  • Kate Walshe – Producer / SFX Supervisor
  • Charlotte Barrett – Costume
  • Christabel Franklin – Makeup
  • Laura Grey – Makeup Assistant.
  • Melissa Franklin – Production Assistant.
  • Laurentiu Maria – Lighting
  • Ryan Thompson, DAN Symons – VFX Artists
  • Harvey Walton – Sound Recordist
  • Mark Mountford – DIT
  • Roy Franklin, Paul Barrett – Electricians
  • Sharon Barrett, Caroline Franklin – Hospitality
  • Catherine Harvey, Lucy Lee – Runners
  • Emilia Barrett – BTS Stills

A hug of respect goes to Jonny Franklin for being just quite frankly (get it) a bloomin’ genius with photons and glass, making 48 hours of mine and Ben’s eccentric rambling look like a considered and artistic composition of thoughts… Not to forget his Chewbacca, James hills, who dutifully informs me the following equipment was used:

  • Arri Alexa XT shooting 2K internal Prores on 4:3 sensor with 2x squeeze
  • Lomo Anamorphic lenses (round front) mostly 50mm and 35mm
  • Arri WCU-4 remote focus
  • Cinema Electronics Cinetape
  • Aspect Ratio 1:2.40  Anamorphic 2x squeeze
  • We worked solely with Adobe and Red Giant products in Post Production…

Thank you all once again for your generosity and insanity to jump on board for probably the most intense shoot that Ben and I have attempted.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, then my most sincere apologies, I’m probably still hallucinating.

A little side serving of love goes to Ryan Thompson, whom we managed to convince to come and play with us for this comp… Ryan is the director of the 1st place winner of the ‘Bloody Cuts Horror Film Challenge’, we were so impressed with ‘Play Time’ that we asked Ryan to join the team for this film, and he absolutely Smashed it with his VFX skills throughout the long night… Even after the hallucinogenic effect of sleep deprivation created some form of group-shared/Ryan-led laughing fit (we made him stand out side until the phantoms went away)…

And one final and less-least note of appreciation goes to the mind-bendingly talented Patrick Jonsson who worked remotely overnight on the score… we were blown away with the results… Thanks good sir :)

So yeah, as this shows there were a lot of folks involved in our submission for the 2014 SCI-FI-LONDON 48hr Film Challenge, a lot of love of the craft that is filmmaking, a lot of commitment, a lot of loyalty and a whole load of fun, which in the end is the most important facet of such an endeavor.  We all hope that the judges get an opportunity to see ‘Machine Stopped Working’, but if they don’t we know that we’re all winners here as the weekend just gone was an absolute BLAST, A ROBOTIC LASER BLAST…

But the story doesn’t stop there…

More of our beloved Bloody Cuts crew has been out there this weekend just gone making SCI-FI madness…  A team led by an important part of the fabric of Bloody Cuts known as the one and only Ben Kent and the eternally affable Rob Jowers have been creating their own slice of sleep deprived filmic brilliance.

Longer Night – “I think it tastes like blood…”

Posted by
April 15th, 2014

Using the nefarious international horror filmmaker teleporter hidden away in the bowels of BC Towers, Mr. Stitches was able to summon David Sandberg to attend a grilling interview with Bloody Cuts’ co-producer Anthony Melton.

David Sandberg - Best Director - BC HORROR CHALLENGE

AM: Hi David, congratulations on winning the Best Director award for the Bloody Cuts Film Challenge (BCHC) with your awesome short ‘Lights Out’, and thanks for agreeing to this short interview. Let’s get straight into it…

What’s your jive? How did you get into filmmaking?

DS: I can’t remember a single day in my life when I didn’t want to make films. My childhood was spent making films with my dad’s camcorder. In 2006 I was about to make a short horror film but things fell through. Instead I made an animated comedy since I could do everything myself. My animation work got me some attention here in Sweden and since then I’ve been a freelance animator making shorts on the side.

AM: What drew you to the BCHC and how did it differ from the many other similar film competitions running all year round? Have you entered competitions like this before?

DS: I was familiar with Bloody Cuts having seen your excellent shorts online and when I read about the contest on I felt it was perfect timing since I wanted to make more genre stuff. I’m not really familiar with other competitions to be honest. I’ve taken part in the Scandinavian 48 hour film challenge before, although those submissions were not horror.

AM: What made you want to produce a horror film? Have you done much in the genre prior to the BCHC?

DS: I have always been a horror fan (despite the fact that I think 99% of horror films are terrible). Mostly though I’ve been doing animation and documentary work. It was quite recently that I decided that I want to focus more on what I really want to do, genre films.

AM: How important to filmmakers do you feel competitions like the BCHC are?

DS: I don’t really have any previous experiences but anything that gets you off your butt and actually make stuff is good.

AM: Onto the film, how did you develop the concept and script and how much preparation and pre-production did you do?

DS: I only had my wife and my apartment so I was kind of limited in what kind of story I could tell. I just tried to make the most suspenseful film I could with the limited means I had. I didn’t write a script, I had it all in my head and since there was no crew I didn’t really have to communicate my idea to other people than my wife.

AM: Please tell us a little about production, what was your crew size, how many days did you shoot for, what equipment and cameras did you use.

DS: The crew was me and my wife. We shot it in an evening and then I took about a day to edit and do the visual stuff and then a day to do the sound.

All the sound was added in post. I think sound is probably more important than the image in a horror film so I wanted full control.

I shot it on the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in 2.5K raw with just one lens, the Tokina 11-16 2.8.

Sound was recorded with a Rode NTG1 hooked up to a Zoom H4N.

Lights were a Chinese knock off redhead, a 375w photoflood bulb in the bedside light and some ordinary household tungsten bulbs.

AM: Lotta Losten is great in ‘Lights Out’, how did you work together? Had you worked on previous projects together?

DS: She’s my wife and muse so we often do projects together. She acts and does voiceovers in things I do for hire and we also write and collaborate on our own projects together.

AM: We’ve seen the breakdown of your VFX shot – what software did you use and how long did this shot take? Did you have all of this planned prior to the shoot?

DS: The painting work is Photoshop and the slight movement is actually Blender. I made a really simple mesh, projected the texture on it and animated the vertices basically.

AM: And I have to mention it… ‘Lights Out’ has gone viral! WOW!!! over 2 million views to date… you must be exceedingly proud? What’s the reaction been like? Have you been inundated with emails since things blew up?

DS: It’s crazy! I was hoping that the film would at least be in the top 50 in the competition, and I was extremely happy to receive the ‘Best Director’ award. But I didn’t expect it to go any further than that. My goal has been to keep making horror shorts and hopefully get one of them noticed, but I didn’t expect it already from this film! And yes, there have been quite a lot of emails.

AM: What’s next? Following the success of your horror short, do you plan to cut some more slices of horror?

Absolutely! I’ve been waiting for a couple of weeks to hear from the Swedish Film Institute about a grant for a short horror film I’ve written. My plan was, if that short was successful, to try and develop it into a feature. Now I’m getting contacted by all kinds of people curious about what I have in the pipeline and what I want to do. We’ll see what happens, as long as I get to keep making genre films I’ll be happy.

To read more about David and see some of his other work, check out his personal website here.

You can watch the film on Vimeo or pop on over to the official Bloody Cuts Horror Challenge website, where you can consume it’s terrifying goodness  alongside all the other winners including the Judges top 3 choices for 2013/14.


Posted by
March 19th, 2014

BC Horror Challenge

The generous folks over at judged the best grading award for the BC Horror Challenge and in our continuing series of The Judges’ Perspective we thought we’d share with you some of their thoughts (originally posted here)

“We had a good time with the 2nd round of judging since we could do direct comparisons between our scoring styles.

Judging the Winner

Robbie’s batch of short films (randomly generated) had the most consistently highest scoring short films – with Dan and myself giving our highest scores to that batch of films. And it was from Robbie’s batch the our first, second and third placed shorts were selected.

In the end, our winner was clear. Sorta.

Two points separated First and Second place. Our #2 selection was scored very highly by Dan and Robbie – but not so much by me. So I went back and re-watched it, then checked my final scoring. I was happy with my judging – giving the #2 film solid 2′s across all the technical categories. Basically, I like the grade but felt they didn’t commit to the Look strongly enough to change my score and add additional points in the Bonus categories to push them over the top.

Winner: Play Time

The highest scoring short film was Play Time. Each of us agreed that while individually we all had our personal favorites from a grading stand-point, this film managed to consistently impress each of us enough that it crawled its way above the other submissions and took the top prize… Best Grade and a FSI CM171 display.

Congratulations to the filmmakers of Play Time. Team Mixing Light feels you did a great job producing a classic looking horror film that also echoed the BloodyCuts style of horror. We didn’t start out to select a film based on that criteria but we weren’t surprised that it was that style of film which won our craft category.”

Once again a huge thanks to all of our sponsors, contributors, judges and entrants, plus a special thanks to MixingLight for their awesome contribution to the Best Grading award… The Full Mixing Light article can be found here.

And for a complete breakdown of the winners and award winners, use your bat wings and fly on over to the official Who’s There / BC Horror Challenge website here.

Posted by
March 16th, 2014

Only ’10 Days to Go’ to submit your films to the “Bloody Cuts: Who’s There Short Horror Film Challenge”, and to mark this final stretch we thought we’d show you a little insight into what it took us to put together our example entry ‘Dare’.

We’ve already seen some great entries to “Who’s There” and hope to see many more in the closing week. Keep believing in horror, and it’ll believe in you!!!

As always, huge, huge thanks go out to everyone who has supported us in helping ‘Dare’ make its way onto a multitude of screens. Special thanks go to Harvey Walton for directing this short documentary as well as  getting stuck into the editing along with Ben Franklin.


Posted by
December 20th, 2013

Halloween is fast approaching, but before it pounces at you from the bushes, I thought I’d preemptively slash you up with some more excellent Bloody Cuts news.

Shortly after Don’t Move played at the prestigious Texas Frightmare Convention (TFC) this year, we were contacted by the organisers of the Housecore™ Horror Film Festival who made the most excellent offer to screen Don’t Move at yet another prestigious Texan horror event.

Corey Mitchel, One of the head honcho’s over at HHFF  had seen Don’t Move at the TFC and thought it’d be a good match for the event. So thankfully he, with the blessing of his cohort Phil Anselmo (Phil Anselmo of ‘Pantera’ and ‘Down’ fame), dropped us an email to ask if we’d be interested… I went off into a dark room to think about it and engage in an epic internal struggle for all of about… 3.1787 milliseconds… and after finally finding the light switch and escaping the cupboard, I rushed back to my computer to email Corey back.

“BY THE LOVE OF SATAN’S TOES, YES. we’d be honored for you to screen Don’t Move at your awesome event.”

Whilst everyone here at Bloody Cuts are always stoked to have any of our films played to a live audience, this was a particularly high point for me as the Housecore™ Horror Film Festival brings together two of my favorite things and mashes them up into an awesomely gruesome weekend of entertainment and audio/visual debauchery. (I’ve made that sound like a PC WORLD AGM on Smack… It’s so much better than that description, so please read on).

The first of those two things is of course “THE HORROR GENRE”, and the second one is a particular breed of music… “METAL “… Grrrrr….

…believe it or not, I’m a huge fan of the style (Even if a rather charming lady at the Colchester film festival did say I looked like a kids TV presenter last weekend).

Anyway, enough about me… What is the Housecore™ Horror Film Festival:

“HHFF will proudly showcase the new and the old, the bloody and the quiet, the creepy and the funny. Horror films of all shapes, formats, and budgets. It doesn’t matter how much was spent on it, just that it is creative, imaginative, and scary as fuck.

Add to that three nights of the most intense, heaviest music on the planet brought to you by The Kid himself, Philip H. Anselmo. Expect to hear from Philip and many of his world-famous friends.

Finally, HHFF will present a lifestyle experience. From a haunted corridor co-designed by Anselmo, one of the founders of the internationally famous House of Shock, to dozens of celebrity authors, to special guest appearances by acclaimed horror filmmakers and stars, to a Gorelesque routine, to zombie make-overs, and so much more.”

This years festival is absolutely packed with corkers, containing 125 feature films, documentaries, short films, mid-length films, music videos, trailers, and more!! It’s going to absolutely rock the *uck out…

One of the classic horror highlights is a showing of ‘Suspiria’ with a LIVE score by ‘GOBLIN’… Immense.

The schedule landed with me a few days ago… and as if just playing somewhere at the HCFF want enough October Joy check out which “little film” we’re playing along side…

DEMONS… MY GOD DEMONS… That’s insanely cool… Lamberto Bava’s 80′s classic is bonkers fun… If you haven’t seen it and are not going to be at HHFF, what’s wrong with you..? get it on this Halloween… you’ll be appalled by the gore, entertained by the daring motorcycle stunts and evilly energised by the top notch sound track (featuring artists such as Saxon, Rick Springfield and Go West…).

If you’re in or around AUSTIN, TEXAS this weekend then fly on over to the booking site, pick up some tickets and fly on down to what promises to be a fantastic weekend of flesh chomping horror and ear drum melting metal.

Find all of the dastardly details of the Housecore™ Horror Film Festival here and find the full breakdown of screenings, shows and events here.

Finally, huge thanks to Corey Mitchel and Phil Anselmo…


Posted by
October 22nd, 2013

Hey Folks,

Apologies for the significant radio silence of late and being a little quiet on the blogging front too.

Firstly our radio is broken, so no noises there, and secondly Bloody Cuts have been beavering away at the badgers, who’ve been badgering away at the AWESOME competition that we’ll be launching on Halloween. Keep you eyes, ears and faces peeled for that one, it’s gonna be hot.

Talking of peeling faces:

Don’t Move was lucky enough to be selected for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival (TADFF) this year, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Bloody Cuts and I were a little bit over the moon. so much so that we sacrificed at least sixty seven rubber goats in celebration.

Talking of celebration… I was contacted by Fernando Fernandez from FERNTV a few days ago regarding our successful selection at TADFF and he was kind enough to ask me to do an interview. So I did, and he’s just posted it up on his website FERNTV – A Website for celebrating the arts and people who are making a difference (Errr… did he get the right person?)

Here’s the interview with @FERNTV and me about @BloodyCutsFilms and how you’re only as good as your crew (The people who are definitely making a huge difference in my life)…

Anthony Melton vs. FERNTV

Right I’m off to go and prepare the next batch of rubber goats… as there’s more awesome news right round the corner…

Posted by
October 21st, 2013

Bloody Cuts - Short Film Competition

Something wicked is coming…. Something wicked-awesome!

We’re proud to announce that we’re launching our first ever Short Film Competition, hoping to unearth something truly terrifying from the mad darkness where horror filmmakers lurk.

All will be revealed on Halloween – October 31st 2013 – at 6pm (GMT), when the competition officially opens to the world.

We’re offering what we believe to be one of the biggest offerings ever for a filmmaking challenge, with over $10,000 of prizes, and the chance for entrants to have their work watched by some genuinely phenomenal – and iconic – industry experts.

To celebrate the launch of our first major competition, we’ll will also be unleashing a special Halloween surprise into the world at the same time – a new 3 minute horror short entitled “Dare”. Trick or treat? We’ll let you decide.

Love filmmaking? Love horror?! Then mark down October 31st as a day of fear, terror, monsters and AWESOME.

October 31st 2013. It’s the beginning of something truly wicked…

Posted by
October 17th, 2013



You’ll be 1 of 100 lucky individuals to own the complete series to date, on exclusive BluRay and DVD…

A HUGE thanks to all that have purchased and supported Bloody Cuts, all profits will go straight back into the series… Look out for some cool news on Halloween…

Believe in horror.


Posted by
September 20th, 2013

There’s an awesome 6 page article on us Digital Filmmaker Magazine, available today from all good newsagents. (we got our copy from WHSmiths). Please go grab a copy, it’s a great mag for all filmmakers.

Bloody Cuts - Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Bloody Cuts - Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Bloody Cuts - Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Bloody Cuts - Digital Filmmaker Magazine

Posted by
August 16th, 2013

Posted by
August 8th, 2013
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