Gillian Smith attended BREAK, the first ever Drive-In premiere on 22nd July at Brent Cross, London. The film was rolled out nationwide in other drive-in venues, starting with Sheffield.
If there’s one thing Soho can do with its eyes shut (if only momentarily to avoid the blinding whiteout of a thousand paparazzi flash bulbs) is provide the appropriate razzle dazzle for a really spectacular film premiere. Been doing it for years.
Times being what they are of course, there has been a temporary lull in Leicester Square’s usual starry conveyor belt, along with a shifting of festivals such as Frightfest and the London Film Festival to the online space. Tent pole movies and blockbusters idle meanwhile in suspended animation, waiting to begin a lucrative run after their moment of glory on the red carpet.
But what of smaller feature films, in particular home-grown fare that would surely find an audience given the right outlet and a chance to pitch themselves with a bit of panache at an opening event?
One such is Break, an indie thriller written and directed by Michael Elkin, with a cast that includes Adam Deacon, Terri Dwyer, Sam Gittins, Jamie Foreman, David Yip and the late, great Rutger Hauer in his final screen role.
It was shot in London, Beijing and Sheffield so the production team were at least used to logistical challenges and when it looked like the launch was off, all it took was the sort of lateral thinking that got the film made in the first place.
As actor/producer Terri Dwyer told us, “I’m afraid there’s not enough space to describe the difficulties of independent film! We raised the money, we lost the money, we then spent another year raising it again. We had the usual challenges in production. We then worked on our first release and COVID struck. Planned our second release and our hosting company went into administration! You couldn’t write this stuff – there’s a film about making Break that’s for sure.”
Farewell Leicester Square then, and hello to the slightly less central but much more socially distanced charms of Brent Cross Shopping Centre and London’s first ever drive-in premiere on 22nd July.
Producer Dean Fisher explained on the night, “We had to find another way to make it work, so we thought let’s try and be outside the box as much as we can… and inside some cars maybe. And here we are. It’s unbelievable we’re actually at the premiere, seeing it up on the big screen doing justice to everyone’s hard work. We’re doing a nationwide drive-in release too, so it’ll have its own tour.”
Even as cinemas re-open it does seem as if drive-in movie going is gaining popularity, so it may well be that the Break bods have started a trend here. Certainly the cast had a great time.
Actor Anna Danshina was full of praise for the experience, sharing, “The premier was very stylish with the vintage cars, it felt really festive. And even though people wore masks and kept social distance, it was a lot of fun.”
Meanwhile for lead actor Sam Gittins “It was more of a party than a screening in the end but I think it was just a fantastic way to get the word out that the film is on its way to the masses, great initiative from the team to put it on.”
Watch out, West End, there’s a new kid on the (parking) lot.
Words by Gillian Smith. Photos by Freya Starr
BREAK is out on DVD on 31st August and available in Asda, Morrison, HMV & Amazon and digital download via iTunes, Sky Box Office and Virgin. For more information, please go to breakfilms.co.uk. Follow @BrEAK_Film on Twitter and/or @breakukfilm on Instagram & Facebook for more news
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