Principal Learning Officer Paul Butler and Senior Learning Officer Stewart Sparke funded the film on Kickstarter back in 2017 with a unique twist - backers could vote on six key elements of the movie including what form the monsters would take and how they killed their victims! The result is a unique and fun horror movie with buckets of gore and creepy monsters, which were brought to life with old-school practical effects, and the participation of the audience. After a successful run at genre film festivals last year, Book of Monsters picked up seven awards including Best Film and Best Special FX at the New York City Horror Film Festival.
The film, which follows a young girl who must fight off an invasion of monsters at her 18th birthday party, was filmed at Prime Studios in Leeds and was crewed by 16 students from the BA (Hons) and MA Filmmaking courses at Leeds Beckett University. The entirety of the support staff at the Northern Film School collaborated on the film including Senior Learning Officers Hamish Saks as Director of Photography, Sean Brown as Camera Operator, Danielle Millea as the 360-Degree Behind-The-Scenes Cinematographer and Julian Hibbert working on set construction.
Paul Butler said: “The students from the Northern Film School were incredibly professional and all extremely talented: it's a credit to the way they are taught. I would have anyone of them back on set with no hesitation.”
Joe Armstrong, a final year BA (Hons) Filmmaking student, who worked as Clapper Loader on the film, said:
“Working on Book of Monsters has provided me with considerable insight into the expectations and responsibilities that I will encounter after graduating film school. The shoot enriched my knowledge of the role by giving me hands-on experience in an intense, professional environment.”
“Taking part in the Book of Monsters shoot has shown me what to expect when working on larger productions after graduation, has given me lots of hands-on experience in professional situations with industry-standard equipment, and above all has reminded me about why I wanted to be a filmmaker in the first place... because making films is so much fun!”
Frankie Maiden, a second year BA (Hons) Filmmaking student, who worked in production design, added:
“I was able to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds. I’m used to very small-scale shoots, but being a part of a feature allowed me to see how larger-scale productions are organised. Meeting and working with people from the school not only made me feel like I was part of a community but also that I’m really making the most of my time here in Leeds.”
Book of Monsters will be released in the USA on 19 March, with the film receiving a Blu-ray and video on demand release alongside a number of cinema screenings across the USA. The film will be released in the UK in July this year.