Wickermania! Exploring the legacy of the cult 70s horror film – by Olivia Parrish

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My name is Olivia, and I have recently finished my first year in an English and Film degree. For my Collaborative Research Internship, I worked on the ‘Untold Histories of The Wicker Man’ project in the Department of Film and Creative Writing. One of the professors in the department, Dr Chris Nunn, is the producer on an upcoming documentary called Wickermania!, which explores the legacy of the cult 70s horror film through two of the sons of its director Robin Hardy. Five students from the College of Arts and Law were taken on as interns to assist the post-production, social media advertising and legal sides of the project. After meeting as a team on the CRI Launch Day, our first major achievement was gathering at FCW’s screening room, The Carroll, for a test screening of Wickermania!. We saw the first three acts of the film, with the fourth still a work in progress, and afterwards we discussed our opinion on the current cut. Chris and Ella, one of the film’s editors, listened to our feedback and suggestions about several aspects of the film, from its tone across the acts to its use of graphics and animations.

After the screening, we took increased responsibility in our individual roles on the project. In my case, this was to research film festivals across Europe and North America that Wickermania! could potentially be submitted to once it is completed. I was advised to focus on award-qualifying festivals (i.e. festivals where winning a prize makes the film eligible for an Academy Award, a BAFTA or a Canadian Screen Award), and I also kept an eye out for specialist festivals that focused on horror films or documentary features. With the assistance of festival research websites such as Film Freeway, I compiled details about various festivals into a master document on Word, to allow easy reference for the rest of the team. The important details about a festival included when the submission deadlines are, how much it costs to enter a film and if they would accept a film that is classed as ´work in progress.´Some of the details that I had to find, for example a festival´s stance on the use of copyrighted material, was not readily available on Film Freeway or the festival’s website. Instead, I called or emailed the organisers to find out these missing pieces of information, and once my document was complete, I sent it to Chris for the filmmakers´ use.

Even though the CRI period is over, the production of Wickermania! continues. Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, which owes its success largely to the efforts of the social media-oriented interns, the fourth act can be completed with a trip to Malta, where Robin Hardy gave his final film lecture. I have enjoyed having a glimpse into the elements of documentary production, and assisting the project in my own minor way, and I hope that Wickermania! continues to progress well and reaches film festivals soon.

Olivia Parrish, BA English and Film

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