Dogged Kickstarter – We talk to Director Richard Rowntree

Dogged is a dark tale of disturbing goings on in the British countryside. Stuck in a boring English village Sam and his girlfriend seek excitement in risky places (keep up, the clue is in the title) only to become the victim of a masked Peeping Tom. Things take a sinster twist when Sam discovers the masked man is part of a cult that involves senior members of the local community.

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Originally filmed as a short, Dogged‘s director, Richard Rowntree, is using Kickstarter to finance a full length version of Dogged so as we like a bit of DIY punk film making we tracked him down to his kennel and demanded to find out more about him and the Dogged project.

‘ I’m 35 years old and worked full time in film and tv for about 14 years, primarily as a member of the art department, but I also spent a number of years as an assistant to a director.

I have wanted to make films since I was five years old – I had the epiphany when I watched The Shining (way too young!).

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Richard Rowntree sets up a shot in Dogged

In 2014 I decided to make the jump to make my own short film which was an ambitious sci-fi movie starring Interview with the Vampire and Spider actress Sara Stockbridge. I enjoyed the experience so much, and the film was so well received, that I realised I had to pursue my dream to direct a feature film.

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One of the mysterious dog masked men

Over the last two years I’ve made six shorts as part of the learning curve, the last of which was Dogged. The film finished in the top five of the BBC search for the best undiscovered horror directors last year and has generally been very well received. It was shot on a budget of just £300 and in one day, it was a long day though!.

Buoyed by the reactions I got, I decided to write a feature script off the back of that, and now I’m trying to fund it via Kickstarter  with the help of the horror community who want to see something original.

Horror is my favourite genre and  as a kid I spent hours watching things I really shouldn’t have! The love of horror continues to this day, but on the whole I’ve kind of become desensitised to a lot of the output. For me all films should be about characterisation and story, and so many of them just rely on cheap shock tactics and little intrigue. That’s why I want to make this film so passionately, it’s about people and predicaments rather than just blowing people away with sound effects and gore. It has an underlying tone of malevolence to it and plays on the unreasonable paranoia’s we share collectively as a society.

My main influences, aesthetically are Kubrick and Fincher, but I’m also a huge fan of Hitchcock, Carpenter and Cronenberg. I definitely have my own visual style though and I hope that comes across in my work. I just love storytelling and I think that horror fans are a lot more discerning than most, so it’s more of a challenge to achieve the desired results!’

We liked Dogged as a short here at the Hothouse and would love to see it expanded into a full length feature, so if you have a few Pounds, Euro or Dollars to spare click on the Kickstarter link now.

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