Digbeth Delights

Digbeth is the oldest part of Birmingham and almost certainly the most bizarre. This video stroll is an attempt to commune with the district’s hidden heritage – Deadly Serious style.
Made by Andy Howlett and introducing James Conway in a very important role.

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Dear Child

A celebration of the miracle of life, made using recycled footage taken from the Internet Movie Archive (archive.org), and music from the insanely prolific Kevin MacCleod (incompetech.com). Written, narrated and edited by Andy Howlett.

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We’re still here… promise.

August 2013

The past couple of months have been uncharacteristically eventful here at Deadly Serious Productions HQ: we’ve released TWO new films, one being the latest from the Martin/Sayers team – “The Penetration of Slough”, and the other being Andy’s stab at the genre of “recycled film” – “Dear Child”. We’ve also had a couple of lengthy shoots for our perpetual “work in progress” about the terminally unemployed graduate. This film has been in production for far too long now so we’re really going to knuckle down and try and have it with you by 2017 at the absolute latest.

Also keeping us busy was the preparation for the first Magic Cinema short film night, which happened on the 30th of July at the wonderful Ort Café in Balsall Heath, Birmingham. The night was devised and hosted by our very own Andy and it featured the first public screenings of the two aforementioned films along with a host of DIY gems from the likes of Owen Davey, Rob Parrish and Third Productions. The night was a success and it looks set to become a semi-regular thing. If you live in the West Midlands (or even if you don’t) be sure to come along some time – if you like Deadly Serious Productions and what we stand for then The Magic Cinema is for you.

We also visited London’s Exploding Cinema (spiritual forefathers of The Magic Cinema) and they were kind enough to show our film “Slough” (not “The Penetration of…”). The event was situated in the fantastic setting of The Cinema Museum in Elephant and Castle. Someone who was present had this to say about “Slough”:

“Andy Howlett’s Slough tells us the quick story of a depressed young man walking around (what I assume is) the town of Slough. In what feels like a nod to Harmony Korine’s Gummo we open to our lead sitting in a tub full of impressively gross looking brown bathwater – a genuinely nauseating image. The short is impressively shot, especially the images of water vapour slowly rising from a canal at sunrise. There’s also a great musical punchline when a papier mache body is hurled over a bridge in an imagined suicide. In an interview after the film Howlett was asked what the budget was for the film. He says that he had to buy some instant coffee to colour the bathwater brown and the ingredients for the papier mache and that’s about it. It’s a casual statement that felt like a distillation of the Exploding Cinema mentality.”

Thank you David C James. For the full write up click here.

We’ll end with the news that our favourite minimalist filmmaker Owen Davey has recently started a fantastic new project called “Video Strolls”, which is now open for submissions. Owen has kindly accepted our “John Major Trail” to be featured on the site and we look forward to seeing how this project develops. If you’ve made your own video stroll then submit it here. If you’d like to know what a video stroll is then head over to the site and have a look.

Over half way through the year and we’ve already updated our site twice!

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The Penetration of Slough

If one were to believe the tourist brochures (and American movies) Britain is a land bucolic tranquility, Stonehenge and quaint villages that have changed little over the centuries. This film looks at a different side to the UK – a land of grim urban decay, banal suburbs, dark Satanic mills (now closed and about to be turned into a 24 hour Tesco) and a nagging feeling that, well, everything’s just a bit crap. And where better to begin than in Slough….

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Happy New Year

April 2013

And so our first post of 2013 arrives… four months into the year. Just to prove that we still exist here are some photos from our latest shoot:

We’d like to thank Stu for once again offering his invaluable assistance and equipment, and for his inexplicable willingness to put his professional reputation on the line just to help us make our disgusting little film. Thanks Stu.

Goodness me it’s been a year since we started this site! Looking back at our first post we are forced to come to the conclusion that we’ve made almost no progress whatsoever. Here’s to another year of procrastination, meagre output and utter obscurity!

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Trailer for “This is why Everyone Hates You”

For the benefit of those who need a little encouragement before they commit half an hour of their life to watching a sprawling, zero-budget, experimental film made by people they’ve never heard of.

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The London Underground Film Festival

December 2012

Our films weren’t accepted into the London Underground Film Festival but instead of wallowing in self-pity we printed out a load of these and went along anyway:

Our flyer

Exploding Cinema, a London based DIY film collective saw this photo on facebook and said this:

“The new generation of film-makers is not protesting exclusion from Future Shorts, nor even from the London Filmmakers’ Co-op, they’re protesting exclusion from The London Underground Film Festival! 

My question for young film-makers is why do you want to gate-crash these fuddy-duddy parties anyway? Institutions don’t care about you, they’re too busy struggling for their own survival. Go forth and create your own scene!”

We decided to gate-crash the fuddy-duddy party anyway and we saw some great stuff including Savage Witchesa motion picture exploration by David Fawcett and Clara Pais” (of the brilliant One+One Filmmakers Journal), the “celluloid wonders and haunted memories” of Australian filmmaker Tony Lawrence, who combines found footage and original music to create a “dreamlike exploration of memory and film”, and finally an academic discussion about porn, the best part of which was the introductory video which contained a clip of a man being masturbated by a large ape.

When no one was looking we decorated the place with our flyers, adding to the “Piss Factory” art exhibition which consisted largely of post-it-notes featuring such slogans as “twat me”, “punch bowel”, and “I can’t smell you”, along with other things including a picture of Winnie the Pooh saying, “I want to eat your period.”

After completing our guerilla protest we got the hell out of there for fear of angry reprisal from the fuddy-duddys. This fear proved to be unfounded when we got home and found this on the London Underground Film Festival facebook page:

“In honour of Paul Sayers’ and Andy Howlett’s kamikaze advertising campaign / protest this afternoon, we will be holding an impromptu screening of the Deadly Serious Productions film “Zeus” at 4pm today, right before Vigilante Vigilante!”

Of course we weren’t around to witness this monumental moment in underground cinema history but just knowing that it happened was profoundly gratifying.

We didn’t limit our protest to the walls of the festival either. We took to the streets of London and brought beauty to where previously there was naught but sleaze and depravity:

While we were decorating the streets of London we didn’t yet know about the ZEUS screening so we decided to visit the London Film Museum just to ensure that one way or another our place in cinematic history would be secured:

We secure our place in cinema history

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Slough (noun)
1. A muddy or marshy area; a swamp
2. A situation characterised by lack of progress or activity
3. A condition of degradation, despair, or helplessness

Made by Andy Howlett and Paul Sayers
With invaluable technical support from Stuart Mills
Music by Kevin McCleod (incompetech.com)

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120 Days in The Slough of Despond

October 2012

Oh dear this really is unacceptable. We’d like to say that from now on we’ll be updating the site three times every month rather than one time every three months, but like Nick Clegg, we shouldn’t make promises we aren’t absolutely certain we can keep.

Our most exciting announcement is that almost a year after recording it (Jesus we really need to get our shit together), our audiobook of The Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom is finally available for all you revolting people to gorge yourselves on. We’d like to say a big thank you to Tom Smith and Juicy Webs for hosting it for us. Before you listen to it we should warn you that it’s a reprehensible abomination of mankind, with multiple, graphic descriptions of things like rape, bestiality, torture, paedophilia, necrophilia, klismaphilia (sexual arousal from enemas), urophilia (piss), coprophilia (shit), emetophilia (vomit), and any other -philia that you can imagine. It also contains several scenarios involving a “bull’s dismembered prick”, and perhaps most gruesome of all… some truly appalling French pronunciation. If this sounds like your cup of tea then click here.

Also we’ve begun in earnest the shooting of our film about the mental degradation of an unemployed graduate. We actually had professional equipment and lighting and everything courtesy of Stuart Mills who is actually like… an actual cameraman… who knows what he’s doing. His expertise and knowledge were invaluable and we hope to be working with him again in the future (if we haven’t scared him off already). The working title of the film is Slough of Despond and we’re putting together a short teaser to whet your appetites. It will be less than three months before you see it.

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The John Major Sandwich and more

July 2012

Woops we haven’t updated in over two months. To everyone who’s been desperately visiting this page day after day, hoping against hope that we will have added new stuff, we apologise. We’re just horribly disorganised that’s all. In an ideal world we’d be a tight-knit, hyper-organised collective of radical artists, dedicating every waking (and sleeping) hour to creating consciousness-expanding audio-visual wonders, and maximising our global presence in order to bring about a mass awakening of humanity. But this isn’t an ideal world. And we’re basically just a bunch of bums. So you’ll just have to be patient with us.

Our one major (pun intended) development is a new page dedicated to former Prime Minister John Major, featuring the Back to Basics films and a new film called “The John Major Trail” which was written and conceived by Dominic Martin. We hope that this marks the beginning of a new level of creative input from Mr. Martin, as he certainly has a lot to offer.

We also have a new film called “Grow” which was made for the IdeasTap brief with the theme of “Grow”. We were hoping to announce this film in a shower of glory having won the brief, but for some inconceivable reason we didn’t win. That doesn’t mean that you don’t have to watch it. It’s rather more minimalist than anything we’ve done before and it features Nick Smith doing his thing.

We’ve begun shooting the film about the misery, alienation, and despair of being an unemployed graduate but progress is likely to be slow because we don’t all live in the same city. The poem film is coming along nicely and should be with you before too long. Oh and we’ve made no progress whatsoever with getting the 120 Days of Sodom audiobook online so all you sadists out there will just have to wait.


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