Connie, a comedy horror short film starring Catrin Stewart (Doctor Who, Stella) will have its WORLD PREMIERE at Horror Channel FrightFest 2016 on Saturday 27th August as part of the Short Film Showcase One at 1.10pm at The Vue Cinema, Shepherds Bush, London W12.
Selected as one of just twenty-six short films to be screened across the five-day festival, which is now in its seventeenth year, Connie is written and directed by Cat Davies (KEEN-wah) and produced by Davies and genre favourite James Moran (Severance, Cockneys Vs Zombies, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Spooks, Tower Block, Primeval). Connie is a playful homage to films like Child’s Play, Dead of Night, Magic, Puppet Master, Dead Silence and The Great Gabbo.
It is the story of Dolly Diggs, a would-be comedian who suffers from crippling stage fright. To overcome her fear, she plans to become a ventriloquist and thinks she’s found just the puppet to help – Connie. After buying Connie on a super speedy internet auction, she realises Connie is no ordinary puppet. Connie is bold, brassy, sassy and a sequinned killer under two feet tall. She is a living doll.
Both roles are skilfully played by the sensational Catrin Stewart, who had to play both characters simultaneously. Stewart said: “The fact that it was going to be a challenge is what drew me to Connie, playing two characters at the same time, and I’ve never worked with a puppet before, or been in a film of this genre. I really liked the script, thought it was funny and well-written and natural to act.”
The film also features a special guest appearance by critic, broadcaster and author Kim Newman, a horror guru and favourite of FrightFest.
On writing the script, Davies commented: “I love doll and dummy films, but there was a distinct lack of female puppets and ventriloquists, with so few exceptions to the rule. I wanted to create a strong female-centric story, playing on the codes and conventions of these films, but adding an extra dimension with the elements of competitive female friendships, catty bitch fighting over stage time and men, and the sense of motherly guidance imparted from Connie to Dolly. Connie isn’t just a master manipulator, she’s the tough mother who gives with one hand and takes with another.
Most of all, I wanted to turn this subgenre on its head and makes the audience laugh. As a former stand-up, I know the pressures well and wanted to give a voice to those who suffer from crippling self-doubt and stage fright. The comedic elements of the film are influenced by my childhood favourites Woody Allen, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers and Jackie Mason.”
Connie is the very first film from Moranic Productions, the new joint venture from the filmmaking pair, with a slate of projects in development. Moran said: “I’m delighted to have edited and co-produced this fantastic short written & directed by Cat. It’s funny, sad, surreal, and demented, a bit like life, if life included evil puppets. Connie is our beautiful, mutant baby, and we couldn’t be more proud to unleash her on you.”
Davies said: “FrightFest is like Christmas for me. I’ve discovered so many great shorts and films there and I can’t wait for Frightfesters to discover Connie. It’s a film that I hope gives pause for thought about identity, female friendship, self-discovery and puppets… Filthy, felt-mouthed, foul-mouthed puppets.”
Horror Channel FrightFest – Short Film Showcase One, Saturday 27th August, Discovery Screen One, 1.10pm, at The Vue Cinema, Shepherds Bush, London W12
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