29 Jan Film director Adam Stephen Kelly tells us “I love the creative process” in interview
By Matthew Martino
Adam Stephen Kelly is a film director who rose to acclaim with his hard hitting directorial debut ‘Done In’, now holding a vast portfolio of film credits he is also the Vice President of Hereford Films, we had a candid chat with him.
Q.Tell our readers who is Adam Stephen Kelly?
I’m a writer, director and fledgling producer. My days are mostly spent trying to make movies, and my time off is mostly spent watching them!
Q. How long have you been involved in the film industry for?
I joined a production company in 2009 when I was 18, so I guess that’s when I first started. My first job was as a Creative Executive, working with a producer in the development stages of various projects, from tidying up scripts to creating documents for investors. I spent two years there and rose through the ranks pretty quickly, but it was ultimately a nightmare, and as far as I’m aware the company still hasn’t made any films. They had their fingers in way too many pies and were trying to stretch miles beyond their means. I left on my own accord when I saw that they weren’t going anywhere, which was a tough decision because leaving meant that I was effectively out of the industry, but spending two years under a safety blanket and going around in circles was not my idea of progression when all I wanted to do was make films. I was called crazy for leaving and labelled a hothead for all the arguments I used to start there, yet all these years later I’m making films and they’re not. Now that I’m older and more experienced, I see it every day; companies that are all talk and no action. That’s why I relish being at Hereford Films and working with producer Jonathan Sothcott because he has a proven track record in the business and doesn’t mess about.
Q. Your debut ‘Done In’ earned you a vast amount of industry acclaim, what challenges did you face on your very first production?
Making a film is always a challenge, whether it’s a short or a feature, but with Done In I’d say the biggest challenge we faced was getting it financed. Asking people for money is never an easy task, and crowdfunding is a pretty intense and stressful process. I wrote the script in August 2012 and had producer SJ Evans on board just 24 hours later. We went full steam ahead from the very beginning, but it wasn’t until 18 months later that we were actually on set making it. It took two crowdfunding campaigns to get the money we needed, and I believe great personal expense from SJ as well, so it certainly wasn’t easy but we got there in the end, and I will always remain incredibly grateful to each and every person who contributed to those campaigns. The actual production side of it, however, ran very smoothly. I had an excellent crew and lead actor in Guy Henry, and it was just a blast. To this day, it’s the film I’m most proud of.
Q. As a director do you like directing your own work or working on a commissioned script?
I haven’t yet directed a script that hasn’t had my stamp on it. With Kill Kane, the script had already gone through two writers, but it was one of my terms for signing on to the project that I could do my own rewrite. As a writer, I think I’m just that way inclined; if I see potential I’ll do whatever it takes to dig in and try and extract what I can out of that potential as quickly as possible. But we’ll see. On the other side of the coin, I’ve just written a horror film for a studio in LA, so it will be an interesting experience to see another director put my material on the screen.
Q. How’s the going for you at the moment at Hereford Films? What’s your average working week like?
Things are going great. 2016 was incredibly busy for us in terms of developing projects. We didn’t make any films as we focused all our time and energy into preparing a truly jam-packed slate for 2017 and experimenting with new kinds of films that perhaps you wouldn’t expect from us. A typical working week involves sending and receiving what feels like thousands of emails, as well as reading scripts and treatments, and working with writers to guide and nurture their work, which I really enjoy. I love the creative process.
Q. What’s on the cards for 2017?
We’re going to be announcing a slew of new and interesting projects in due course, but right now we’re in pre-production on my next directorial effort, Tormented, which I also wrote. It’s a supernatural horror film set in the US and stars Louisa Connolly-Burnham, who’s a terrific actress. I’m also writing We Still Die the Old Way, the final part of the We Still Kill the Old Way trilogy, and will probably soon be working on refining the script for the horror sequel that I’ve written for the company in the States, which is very exciting. On top of all that, we’ve got Bonded by Blood 2 and We Still Steal the Old Way finally coming out in the spring, so it’s a very busy time indeed. I also plan on getting more involved in another one of my passions: professional wrestling. I’ve been a fan since childhood and it’s always been a dream of mine to somehow get involved. I did a little thing towards the end of last year that saw me get involved in a match and it was a lot of fun, so that’s something I’m really looking forward to giving my time and dedication to. I’m working with a great company here in the southeast called KAPOW Pro Wrestling, and we’re cooking up some really, really cool stuff for 2017.