NewsUCA Farnham

How to make an £8000 martial arts film

A group of our students have clubbed together to make a crowd-funded martial arts film which they shot for just £8000. Directed by Charlie Dennis, produced by Ismail Guluev, and written by Sebastian Ennis, Deep Pan Fury tells the story of Katashi, a young Japanese street fighter who moves to a small English town to help his grandfather run his struggling pizza shop.

The filmmakers began by looking for a fight choreographer, someone who would be able to make the fight scenes seem genuine and believable – and not break the bank. “We needed a martial artist who knew his stuff, who knew a variety of martial arts to steer us in the right direction in terms of getting a stunt crew, other martial artists, and advising on what’s realistic, and what we will and won’t be able to achieve,” said the director, Charlie.

On set with Deep Pan Fury

After watching a number of martial arts movies and contacting the credited choreographers, the team were finally put in touch with Jean-Paul Ly, a young, up-and-coming action director who’d moved to the UK the previous year. Originally from France, he’d been practicing martial arts for 25 years, since he was a boy. Having been in the UK for only a year, the action director Jean-Paul has already been attached to films like Lucy, which starred Scarlet Johannsen, and the series 24. With an action director in tow, the filmmakers set about gathering their cast – looking for actors with not only the ability to deliver a line, but also a punch and kick. After holding auditions, aided by Jean-Paul, Charlie and Ismail cast Andrew Kojim, whose previous credits include Fast & Furious 6, in the lead role of Katashi.

With their cast and crew in place, the team then began scouting for suitable locations at which to shoot their film. Their limited budget meant that careful diplomacy was required to land the perfect locations. “It’s a case of going about it the right way,” said Charlie. “Getting to the right people, being enthusiastic, telling them about the project. People will help you out if you’ve got the right approach.” The goodwill approach worked, with the team landing locations across Farnham, Guildford and Aldershot, including Munch Stop pizzeria.

With all the pieces in place, the film went into production and was premiered alongside other graduate films at a special screening in May. It will now go on to the film festive circuit before being released online at a later date.