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Manchester’s Grimm Up North festival director sees his debut Splintered get US release

By Karl Dyer

It’s hard enough to get a film financed, shot and distributed in the UK.

So it’s some achievement then for a small North West based production company to get a DVD release across the pond.

That is exactly what Grimm Up North’s directors Simeon Halligan and Rachel Richardson Jones have done though as their first feature film, Splintered, hit American stores last week.

Simeon took the time to explain to MM the initial struggle they faced as they set out to source the cash needed to produce Splintered.

“We needed hundreds of thousands of pounds if we were to realise this project professionally,” he said. “It took a year of hard graft and kissing frogs – or anyone with a big tax bill who might consider investing a bit of money!”

As five weeks of shooting began Simeon was ‘blissfully unaware’ that not all the budget was in place as Rachel slaved away behind the scenes to ensure the cast and crew got paid.

However, Splintered utilised all the perks of British filmmaking by shooting in the North West with a crop of home-grown talent including Hollyoaks’ Holly Weston, Waterloo Road’s Sadie Pickering and Stephen Martin Walters.

Roughly three and a half years since the initial financing, Splintered was released in cinemas across the UK as the recession hit but opened to positive reviews and ended up being the spark that led to the formation of Grimm Up North, Manchester’s very own horror and fantasy film festival.

A great achievement in itself but with a plot that falls in line with the American horror classic narrative of teenagers entering a dangerous environment to be stalked by deranged killer it seemed that Splintered was primed for the US market.

“The US is always a hard nut to crack and many smaller movies never get an American release at all,” Simeon explained.

“You have to remember they produce so much home grown material over there that they hardly need look elsewhere and, as we know, the yanks aren’t always that open to foreign films, even in English.”

Never the less, Splintered has finally got that American release and Simeon hopes that 18 months on from it’s UK cinema release his directorial debut could still land in other countries.

“Were very pleased that the film has finally been released in the US and there still are a whole bunch of other countries that haven’t yet had the movie,” he added. “Fingers crossed it does a few more territories over the next year or so.”

After making steps in the American market Simeon now hopes to expand the Grimm Up North brand by persevering with the annual festival and building on Grimm’s increasingly successful monthly screenings.

“As Grimm grows, we’ll be looking to produce more of our own movies which we can release through the Grimm brand. We’ve a number of titles in development including a contemporary vampire flick and a sci-fi horror movie. Watch this space…”

Find out all about Splintered at splinteredthemovie.co.uk and Grimm Up North at grimmfest.com

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