n e f a r i o u s director

Camera

f i l m o g r a p h y

michael o’bernicia

Graduated from the Dov Simens’ 2 Day Film School in 1997 as a qualified Line Producer.

CO-PRODUCER-CO-DIRECTOR-PRODUCTION MANAGER – ROADKILL [1999]

A 35mm fifteen minute black comedy set in the Cambrian mountains, starring the late and much-missed Brian Hibbard, alongside Dorien Thomas, Helen Griffin and John Scott Martin.

The film was both critically and publicly acclaimed, when it screened at the Cardiff, Raindance, Leeds festivals and [unofficially] in an anarchist festival on the beach at Cannes in May 2000, following two UK television broadcasts on Sky Moviemax in the early spring of that year. It was also described by Lou Brealey in her review in Total Film as “hilarious” and “beautifully shot”.

CO-PRODUCER – THE GOOD COP [DEN GODE STROMER] [2004]

2004 saw the release of Lasse Spang Olsen’s Danish action comedy, THE GOOD COP, starring Scandinavian acting legend, Kim Bodnia, who had already agreed to play one of the leading roles in n e f a r i o u s, which ultimately led to maverick writer-director-producer being asked to co-produce the film, which his production and sales venture, Unspeakably Wicked Pictures [UWP], launched at the Cannes International Film Market.

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THE GOOD COP went straight to number one at the Danish box-office and grossed in excess of its $1.6m production budget during its first ten days on release, before generating substantial DVD and television sales.

It was also acquired by a major German distributor, sight-unseen, in the aftermath of the Cannes market, who paid a six figure sum for a Danish film, for only the third time in the German-speaking territories.

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PRODUCER-WRITER-EDITOR-DIRECTOR – n e f a r i o u s – director’s cut [2016]

The n e f a r i o u s director began writing the long-gestating screenplay for the film in the mid-summer of 1998, before undertaking several grueling re-writes over the next seven years, during which time the script attracted the interest of just about every heavyweight talent agency on both sides of the Atlantic.

By November 2004, an impressive and award-winning ensemble cast had been assembled, which included the wonderful Douglas Henshall, Rufus Sewell, Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, David Carradine, Kate Ashfield, Kim Bodnia and the Oscar-winning actor, Christopher Walken.

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Once it became apparent that no UK-based bank was willing to cash-flow the $9.5m budget, which had been secured by a private investor’s irrevocable Letter of Credit from a AAA-rated Swiss bank, the difficult decision was made to make the film for as little money as possible, which was achieved purely because of the commitment, talent and resourcefulness of the eventual cast and crew, as well as the blind faith of the producers that it would eventually generate easily enough returns to recoup whatever had to be spent during production.

n e f a r i o u s was eventually shot, guerrilla-style, the following winter, in North London, Amsterdam, Durham, Northumberland and Tyneside, under its erstwhile title, “WICKED”. The film was in the can after just seventeen production days on a little over £17,000, shooting from late winter to mid-spring in 2005.

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Inevitably, only Kim Bodnia remained of the original cast, alongside brilliant newcomers, Conor Woodman and Spek, as well as Dutch stars, Alwien Tulner, Tygo Gernandt, Kenan Raven, Willy van der Griendt and the late Antonie Kamerling; British actors Guy Porritt, Sharon Percy and Johnny Melville; and a host of non-actors in supporting roles.

Most of the 17K used to make the micro-budget film was loaned by the film’s executive producer, along with friends and family of the producers; with the rest of the costs being met by the last remaining credit card. This meant that everybody committed to the film knowing that they would pretty much be deferring their fees, until such time that the production loans were repaid.

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With no money available for post-production at the end of the shoot, it took another three years before it was completed, following unfruitful attempts to raise completion money on the strength of a rough-cut of the film, which was put together in just 23 days, in order to be screened at the Cannes Market in 2005, which was, alas, to no avail, since neither the final composition of the story, nor the final soundtrack, had yet been assembled, following twenty five minutes of the original script not being shot, due to never-ending budgetary constraints.

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Over the course of the next three years, the n e f a r i o u s director taught himself to edit picture and mix sound, in order to fix the problems with the film, which at times appeared almost insurmountable; whilst simultaneously building his own editing, production and post-production facilities. The film then sat on the shelf for the next eight years, whilst the director produced, directed and edited his second feature film, The Great British Mortgage Swindle.

The sheer determination required to conquer this steep learning curve has given rise to the forthcoming release of the Director’s Cut of n e f a r i o u s, which has already been described as an underground cult classic after dozens of test screenings.

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The remarkable story of the making of n e f a r i o u s is comprehensively documented in the director’s chronicles of the turbulently successful and ruthlessly unforgiving decade it took him to transpose his much-praised screenplay on to the big and small screens; which also stands as a testament to the amazingly resilient and committed work of a cast and crew which very rarely numbered more than 12 at any one time during production, often under the most extreme sets of circumstances and in extraordinary conditions.

The first installment of this compelling diary will be posted exclusively on this site. Please subscribe to receive all posts by email, including regular updates about the international release of the Director’s Cut of the film by AFP Distribution.