‘The Beast of Bolam’ by Film students Rachel Thomas and Aaron Burns
BA (Hons) Film, TV & Theatre Production students Rachel Thomas and Aaron Burns are working on their FMP film The Beast of Bolam. Fundraising for the project has begun and has already received support from number of the local community through their gofundme and local news outlet The Chronicle.
The news article states: “The story is inspired by an alleged encounter that made headlines two decades ago when a group of fishermen visited Bolam Lake Country Park near Morpeth. The fishermen claimed that they saw what was described at the time as a “Geordie yeti” at the lake, with one of the men telling the Chronicle at the time: “It looked about 8ft tall, heavy built and what seemed to be its eyes glowed in the darkness. We ran, top speed, all the way back to the car.”
“There’s no real recorded imagery of the Beast, only witness accounts that often refer to it as a Man-Beast, like a yeti,” The Beast of Bolam Lake director Aaron Burns noted. “With that ambiguity, we had a fun task in seeing how we pictured the Beast for our film, ending up with an idea that blurs the lines between Man-Beast and Werewolf.”
In the article Aaron also commented on the importance of portraying community in the film: “We really wanted to emphasise community, something that’s incredibly important to us as Northerners. We want the audience to meet these characters and feel like everybody knows everybody, and like they’d all be willing to fight for one another, because that’s what the North East is to us: a hard-working community of people that would fight for each other and the places they come from.”
The film is set to be a horror and comedy “where Shaun of the Dead meets SCREAM. The film is set during a pub game night, in which a father struggles to connect with his daughter over an intense game of Werewolf. Little do they know: they’re the subjects of a real-life game of Werewolf themselves, the only prize being survival. Inspired by horror classics such as An American Werewolf in London (1981, dir. John Landis), Scream (1996, dir. Wes Craven), The Evil Dead (1981, dir. Sam Raimi), Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969-1978) and many more.”
Speaking to the Chronicle producer Rachel said: “It feels like a step closer to the real world of the film industry – getting to dedicate all of our time, effort and resources into it, in order to create the best film possible, The last film we worked on together, The Last to Leave the Party – which Aaron wrote, and I directed – is currently nominated for an award at Tees Valley International Film Festival in the LGBTQIA+ category, so I’m hoping to build on that and return to the festival with The Beast of Bolam Lake next year.”
Director Aaron also has high ambitions following graduation: “For me, it’s really about using this film and this production as the catalyst to start something bigger. With my family, I’m working to set up Morning Sir Productions, a Northern production company with a focus on not only pushing film in the North, but also accessibility within film in the North specifically.”
The project is a collaborative production working with fellow film and BA (Hons) Model Making with Visual FX students including Lauren Gillan, Jaden Byron, Jake Holden, Natasha Drymon Hazel Lingley, Hannah Trafford, and Connor Thompson.
You can donate to ‘The Beast of Bolam’ here. If you are interested in studying Film at degree level we have a fantastic degree programme in film production, we also have a faculty of screen based degrees including Costume, Model Making & VFX, Acting and Production Design.