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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield

Crowdfunding campaign launched for short NOSEPICKER, blending Roald Dahl and Julia Ducournau (NEWS)

Georgie is a withdrawn 8-year-old schoolboy in London with a nasty habit of picking his nose. Bullied by his classmates, unhelped by his frustrated parents and ineffectual authority figures, Georgie retreats into himself and his habit, with shocking, otherworldly results.

NOSEPICKER is a tale of the unexpected drawing influence from the likes of Roald Dahl’s short stories, Stephen King’s CARRIE, Larry Cohen’s IT'S ALIVE and THE STUFF, and both the 1958 and 1988 versions of THE BLOB, amongst many other works of fiction and indeed the human experiences of outsider isolation and pre-pubescent growing pains.

Whatever happened to those short sharp shocks that used to be in all kinds of teleplays and horror anthology TV shows, where an everyday situation would turn on a dime with nightmare logic into something altogether more hideous? Remember Roald Dahl’s TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED? Or the golden age of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and THE TWILIGHT ZONE?

A UK filmmaking team is trying to bring that kind of magic back to the screen with their mucusy short film NOSEPICKER, currently crewing up and crowdfunding on IndieGoGo for a summer 2022 shoot. “It’s Roald Dahl meets THE BLOB, with a bit of Larry Cohen, a bit of CARRIE, a lot of body-horror a la Cronenberg or Ducournau,” says writer-director Ian Mantgani. “But it starts in social-realist mode, with an intense study of school bullying, before its shift to phantasmagoria. Imagine an Alan Clarke movie turning into a Tom Savini one!”

Crowdfunding link:

With the kind of commitment to golden-age moviemaking that’s sure to delight genre fans, Nosepicker will be shooting on Kodak 16mm stock and will be using practical modelmaking effects for its gruesome climax. “The script had an absolutely mad combination of dramatic intensity and comic absurdity,” says producer Jack Pollington. “It had me squirming in uncomfortable cringe - in a good way! Ian’s a true cinephile, and his reference points, and his commitment to old-fashioned technique, show a lot of vision and integrity.”

With so many films crowdfunding now, what makes this one special? Apart from the fact that it’s a unique genre throwback with a crackerjack script, with a firm commitment to using photochemical film and practical FX, Mantgani and Pollington believe it offers something different in the UK film landscape. “We think UK genre filmmaking could do with a shot in the arm,” says Mantgani. “We want to make a serious horror film without falling into the trap of ‘elevated horror’ pretensions where a movie apologises about being genre, or acts above genre."

"We want to make a fun horror film, that delivers on a gut level, but doesn’t need to be cutesy or ironic. We want to make a film inspired by our favourite classics, but one that doesn’t go for easy markers of winking nostalgia.” Mantgani is also exasperated with the flavour and progress of efforts to make UK film more inclusive: “I’m of mixed South Asian and Irish heritage, but don’t want to make a dreary diversity picture - I want to make an entertaining movie, but one that’s intrinsically shot through with the perspective of being an outsider in the former colonisers’ country, and having a certain point of view about what that feels like. Without wearing it on its sleeve, I think NOSEPICKER contains that kind of anti-establishment sensibility.” Pollington agrees, and points to the specifics of NOSEPICKER's IndieGogo page: “Ian’s got a lot of great intellectual ideas about what this film represents, but he’s very practical about delivering for the audience and for the crowdfunder backers.

We’ve put together a fun campaign, including a dryly funny cryptkeeper-style campaign video which teases the premise and influences of Nosepicker quite concisely. We’ve also got some great rewards, including a collectable VHS tape - I’m looking forward to having one of those in my hands. The jackpot scenario? If someone donates £10,000, we’ll get them a 35mm print made!” The film is budgeted at £30,000, with the intention of raising £10,000 through crowdfunding, with the rest to come from private investment and some from the filmmakers’ savings.

The TEAM SO FAR... A Sundance London award-nominated multidisciplinary talent of mixed South Asian and Irish heritage, Ian Mantgani has made a number of self-financed genre shorts, including a one-minute stop-motion remake of KING KONG that has half a million views on YouTube, in addition to making a number of short and feature documentaries, as well as writing film criticism for the likes of Sight & Sound and founding the 35mm film curation group The Badlands Collective.

Nosepicker will mix Ian’s divergent knacks of making thoughtful, observational social portraits and wacky, playful, maximalist genre pieces, a bit like how former documentary filmmaker William Friedkin went onto make THE EXORCIST.

Jack Pollington is a Royal Television Society award-winning and BAFTA-longlisted independent producer who holds an MA in producing from the UK’s prestigious National Film and Television School and whose work has screened at numerous festivals. He has collaborated with Channel 4 Random Acts, Screen South, the BFI and Creative England iShorts on short films of various budgets and genres, including comic horror, and is highly experienced in making films that intelligently depict young people. His multi-award-winning 2019 horror-comedy short SLEEP TIGHT is available to watch on Vimeo.

Tara Kemp is a special effects / makeup artist in Film & Television, who holds fort at her own studio in Leicester. She has previously worked on major projects including DOCTOR WHO as part of the prosthetic team and holds a Masters Degree in prosthetic make-up from Pinewood Studios. She won the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) ‘Battle of the Brushes’ award for SFX in 2018.

Eve Finnie is a BAFTA-winning Production Designer for Film and TV. She has worked on a number of short live action and animation films over the last few years. She is also experienced in theatre and event design, illustration, fine art, graphic and UI/UX design.

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