Q&A – K-Shop director Dan Pringle on making films and taking risks

Dan Pringle directs British thriller K-Shop
Dan Pringle is the writer-director of British thriller K-Shop

 

In the spring of 2014, central Bournemouth became a film set. A disused shopfront became a kebab house that, unbeknownst to those passing by, was the home of Salah (Ziad Abaza) – a shop owner with drunken patrons in his head and murder on his mind. The film is K-Shop and, according to writer-director Dan Pringle, audiences are in for a wild ride.

Dan has already spoken to The Popcorn Muncher about his inspirations for the film and we paid a visit to him in the editing suite for a catch up. He told us all about the current state of the film and opened up on what is ending up on the cutting room floor and the importance of taking risks. He also gave some advice to budding filmmakers.

 

What stage is K-Shop at now?

It’s been in post-production since June. The assembly edit took a little bit longer than first expected. We’re now onto finessing the edit, so we’re probably on the second or third assembly. We’re not a million miles away from picture locking the film. I’d like to think that potentially we’ll have the film picture locked in a month’s time and then after that the plan is to get all of the other processes finished.

I think we’re probably looking like we’re moving towards having the film finished by the end of this calendar year. Then it’s about sitting down our interested distributors, getting the film in front of them and getting them to give us their thoughts on how much money they think they can make out of it and where they think they can release it.

We’ve got a couple [of distributors] who have already voiced an interest and there are a few that we’re specifically thinking about approaching because it’s a genre film that we know that they have a track record or pedigree in. There will be ten or so distributors that we’ll end up having focused conversations with about UK release and then ultimately it will be about which one offers us the best deal.

 

K-Shop’s Dan Pringle dishes out some advice to filmmakers

 

Are you still confident of getting the film into cinemas?

I’m still really confident K-Shop will get a limited theatrical release.

I think it’s a strong enough concept to get a few bums on seats and I’ve got no qualms about anything else. I know it will do well online and I know it will shift units on DVD because it’s the kind of film that you’ll see the cover and decide to give it a crack.

It’s all about how far we can push the theatrical release, which is all down to the distributor’s confidence and how much money they want to push into the marketing. We’re looking at a release in 2015, in and around the April-May time. I think that’s realistically when we could be looking at an initial release.

If we don’t hit that window for whatever reason, then we’re looking at the other side of the summer, after blockbuster season, which is creeping towards the Halloween area.

I’m confident that if we can get everything moving, we should be in a place to get K-Shop out there and entertaining audiences around Spring next year.

 

How close is K-Shop to your original vision?

It was a big film. K-Shop was a really big film initially. When we moved into production, we had 110 pages of script. That came as a result of our producer Adam saying “just write as much as you can, get all of your ideas down”. In hindsight, we shot too much. We shot a lot of additional stuff that we didn’t necessarily need.

It’s a much leaner film than it was on paper, that’s for sure. It has become a lot more concise than what it was originally. The story and structure is still there. The order has been juggled about a bit, again to help with the pace

The trailer for K-Shop features plenty of drunken revellers
The trailer for K-Shop features plenty of drunken revellers

 

Are you happy with the finished film?

Yeah, I am. I’m very proud of what everybody has achieved to get us to this point. It’s an incredible effort on a tiny little film, from a tiny little production company in Bournemouth to output something of this quality. It’s an incredible achievement. K-Shop is the result of a lot of hard work and I’ve had to sacrifice more than I ever thought I would.

It’s been bumpy, it’s been rocky, it’s been tiring, it’s been knackering, it’s been crazy, it’s been outrageous, it’s been hilarious, it’s been exhausting, it’s been exhilarating, it’s been scary, it’s been tricky. It’s been everything.

It’s going to put a lot of smiles on people’s faces. I know it’s going to encourage a lot of debate and even if it just leaves a lasting reminder in a few people’s minds that they maybe don’t want to get as battered on a weekend as they once would’ve, that would be enough for me.

 

How do you think K-Shop will play with the various different audiences?

You obviously spend a lot of time second guessing yourself and wondering if someone’s going to pick up on this or that. You have these questions coming up time after time, every single day.

I think, fundamentally, you’ve just got to make the film that you would be comfortable sitting and watching. There’s always going to be things you wish you had done differently and mistakes that you can see which nobody else can see that you wish you could go back and change.

| “You’ve just got to make the film that you would be comfortable sitting and watching.”

You’ve just got to keep plugging away and hope that some of what you find interesting or fun about it is picked up by other people. I guess if you’re looking for a general feeling, I think there are scenes that I know people are gonna watch and react in a traditional horror sense or a traditional torture porn sense and be disgusted and jump back and writhe and maybe not eat anything for an hour after the film.

You’ve exhilarated a few people. You’ve got a few hearts racing and that’s cool.

Fundamentally, the most important thing is that you leave something a bit more significant in people’s minds. I think it would be very hard to leave K-Shop thinking anything other than ‘our drinking culture is a bit of a mess’.

I think there will be a group of people who come away from K-Shophaving just been titillated and there will be a group who come out and say that our drinking culture is a bit of a mess. I hope that the latter will be a bigger group, but we’ll see.

 

How important was it for you to take risks with K-Shop?

I think you’ve got to make the film that you want to make. You’ve always got to acknowledge your audience and treat them with respect, but you have to make a film that you want to make and that you want to see. I think that is so important.

If you’re not making something that is true to what you want to watch, then you’ve got very little chance of making something that somebody else wants to watch.

 

 

From my perspective, I’ve never been interested in making films that are excessively violent or gory. I like films with a bit of thought and intrigue that try to expand on themes and have a human element to them. It was never really a question in my mind that we were going to make a film that was actually trying to say something, with significant thematic content at its heart.

I have commercial conversations every day, but I think we’ve got an okay balance and I think I have to stay true to that. Otherwise, I’ll lose sight of what I’m doing and I’ll lose passion and it’ll fall apart.

I’ve had discussions about making a straight, cheap horror out in the woods with a couple of actors and shooting something excessively gory that will sell because of the shock factor.

There’s a part of you that thinks it would be good to do that, but you find yourself asking how committed you’ll be to doing a good job. I can’t guarantee it’ll be any good if I’m not fully committed to it. You can’t say you’re never going to sell out, but you have to make what you’re interested in first and foremost.

It was always important to try and maintain my tone of voice and maintain that initial thematic backbone, with commercial aspects second.

K-Shop is currently set for release in April-May 2015. You can keep up to date with the film on this website or via the film’s official Twitter account.

One thought on “Q&A – K-Shop director Dan Pringle on making films and taking risks

  • 27/09/2014 at 14:23
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    Really like this post. It’s something that I’m interested in as an aspiring film maker. Great insight.

    Reply

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