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One of the great things to unearth at Frightfest each year is a selection of documentaries on the genre. This year, Justin McConnell (who previously brought us the heartfelt body swap horror Lifechanger) brings us a documentary covering five years in his life and career as a filmmaker. Sounds like essential viewing for anyone in, or aspiring to be in, the film industry.


An emotional and introspective journey following five years in the life and career of an independent filmmaker, supported by dozens of interviews, posing one question: how does an indie filmmaker survive in the current film business? 

Utilizing interviews with over 100 subjects in all levels of the industry, framed together by an easily digestible story arc following the career trajectory of the film's director and subject, Justin McConnell, CLAPBOARD JUNGLE aims to be a survival guide for the modern independent filmmaker. 

Featuring interviews with genre legends such as Guillermo Del Toro, Michael Biehn, Barbara Crampton, George A. Romero, Charles Band, Paul Schrader, Gigi Saul Guerrero and Dean Cundey, just to name a few, but also dozens of producers, writers, directors, actors, agents, managers, sales and distribution execs, marketing, legal, and more. 

Ultimately. CLAPBOARD JUNGLE aims to be part entertaining and informative documentary, and part vast educational resource to help guide an entire generation of filmmakers as they move forward in their careers.

There is also a spin-off series from the film that is currently in post production. Comprising eight episodes, this educational series puts the personal story of the film in the backseat for a frank, 'just-the-facts' approach aiming to be a 'film-school-in-a-box' taught by some of the most accomplished in the business.

Justin McConnell says of the project:

The primary motivation behind this film is a simple one: I want to create a resource that I wish existed when I was earlier in my career. Or for any stage of my career. Essentially a database of knowledge right at my fingertips, straight from the mouths of the people who lived it, and learned from every mistake and victory. A project where the main feature is like the first 'hit' of a metaphorical drug, while the extended content is the addiction.

I'm aware of the pitfalls taking on a project like this can raise, however. If there's any advice that I've taken to heart during my time in the industry, it is this: never make a film about film, and never make a film about yourself. It seems I may have broken both of those rules with this project, but I think in a way that will be interesting and fresh.

The reason for turning the camera on myself is entirely a practical one: I have complete unfettered access to my subject, since he's me. I have been producing this since early 2014 out of my own pocket, and this was the only cost effective way to create a story arc to structure the information around. Typical of the film business: take the most fiscally responsible route. Luckily, I had co-producer Darryl Shaw, editor/AP Kevin Burke, my team of producers, and my distribution partners to reign in anything that may be too self-serving during the cut.

Long story short, I aim to present as fair and balanced a film as possible, while delivering a deep well of knowledge to the viewer.

Clapboard Jungle Links: IMDB | Facebook | Twitter | Official Website

Clapboard Jungle will broadcast on the Horror Channel Screen - 1.00 PM - SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST. For tickets go to: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html


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About The Author
Daniel Benson
UK Editor / Webmaster
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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