Magazine article Screen International

Set Report: A Patch of Fog

Magazine article Screen International

Set Report: A Patch of Fog

Article excerpt

Michael Lennox's debut feature, A Patch Of Fog, is a darkly comic psychological thriller. Sarah Cooper visits the Belfast set

For Northern Irish film-maker Michael Lennox, the news his short film Boogaloo And Graham had made this year's Oscar shortlist came at the perfect moment: the night before he began shooting his debut feature A Patch Of Fog.

"It's funny getting a text message from the Oscars; I didn't quite believe it. It was a great boost going into the first day," says Lennox, a graduate of London's National Film and Television School whose previous short, Back Of Beyond, was nominated for a European Film Award in 2012.

Shooting has now wrapped on A Patch Of Fog, a darkly comic psychological thriller about a celebrated novelist and TV presenter (Game Of Thrones' Conleth Hill) who finds himself being blackmailed into becoming friends with a security guard (Stephen Graham) after his shoplifting habit is uncovered. The supporting cast includes Lara Pulver (Sherlock), Arsher Ali (Four Lions) and Northern Ireland's Ian McElhinney.

The film originated with Belfast-based writers John Cairns and Michael McCartney, who have been working together for nine years. They received their big break when they won Northern Ireland Screen's New Talent Focus scheme in 2012, a low-budget film-making initiative also backed by the BFI and Film4, aimed at Northern Ireland-based first-time feature writers, which sees one script going forward for production each year.

The two writers had already attracted the attention of producers Robert Jones, Wayne Marc Godfrey and David Gilbery of London and Los Angeles-based production and finance outfit The Fyzz Facility, which boarded the project, bringing in its own finance as well as funding from Goldcrest Post Production on top of NI Screen and the BFI's investment.

"We'd come second so many times, so to win was terrific," says Cairns of the 2012 prize. "Nothing happened for us seven or eight years ago because we weren't good enough. Then we started to write films we wanted to see and we just got better as writers." Cairns was delighted when Lennox signed on to direct. "The Northern Irish voice has the ability to be both deadly serious and deeply funny at the same time. That was what we loved about Back Of Beyond, and A Patch Of Fog has the same sort of musical key," he explains. …

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