The screening of UNWELCOME at the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival was… fantastic. It was amazing to see the film we’d poured blood, sweat and tears into on a massive screen in front of a packed cinema, 1500 people so they told me.

Hand on heart I was nervous how the audience would react. This was our very first public screening — because of Covid restrictions, we hadn’t gone through the usual round of test screenings like you typically do on a movie (why they don’t do this for television, I’ll never understand — it’s an incredibly useful process).

When the first goblin appeared… There was a big cheer from the audience. After that the cheers and clapping came thick and fast. This was an audience of creature feature fans who got the references, who enjoyed how we were tinkering with genre expectations. Without giving too much away, there is a dramatic scene involving a shotgun near the end, the climax before the ulimate climax… and the cheers and applause were huge. I always knew that was a crowd pleasing moment, but it was great to be in a roomful of strangers and feel it, hear it. I get goose bumps thinking back to it.

Luckily Zsófia Tálas, our quick thinking editor, recorded it on her iPhone. So here it is. Not exactly high fidelity… but it paints a picture.

UPDATE May 2024

I’m currently working on a new horror movie called THE DOOR, with Mark Stay (who wrote UNWELCOME) and Rowan Coleman, an ultra talented novelist based in Scarborough who is making her first foray into writing for the screen. This film is tailor made for a festival like Sitges or Frightfest… I feel like I have a strong instinct how to put together a film that will push all the buttons for that type of audience, now. And this is that film.

That said, I also feel like the movie could break out and find a much wider audience beyond the hard core of horror fans — although if you count up all those fans across the entire planet, it adds up to a pretty big audience!  ;-)