In the annals of contemporary film poster art, the name Thomas Hodge is huge. Better known as ‘‘, Hodge is the poster artist behind such films as (2011) The Innkeepers (2011) The Heat (2013) (2014) The Other Side of The Door (2016) and They Live. He’s also the author of VHS: Video Cover Art (2015) the first book of its kind to comprehensively bring together the artwork on UK VHS covers from the ’80s to the ’90s.
Hodge has now turned his attentions to the director’s chair with Teddy Bears Picnic, a proof-of-concept short film selected to premiere at this year’s in London. The film will then be released online shortly after for everyone to see.
The artist describes the short as: “A year-long trip in terms of production but seven years of work in total. I opted to self-fund the film for possible development into a bigger feature. I’ve been hands-on throughout, donning many new creative hats to produce, direct, art-direct and edit for the first time. I spent months making props, building creepy woodlands and creating original costumes.”
Inspired by the 1907 melody of the same name, Teddy Bears Picnic re-envisions the childhood song as a nightmarish fable that twists the concept of childhood innocence.
From The Dude himself about Teddy Bears Picnic:
“I love horror as a genre for its pure unabashed creativity,” says Tom. “It gives you a wider scope to create unique characters and settings. What are nightmares if not essentially creative? I particularly loved the creativity of high concept horror in the ’70s and ’80s – from the films of Charles Band to the pulp horror novels of Guy N. Smith. So I wanted to take classic character-driven horror and develop it to suit contemporary tastes, with a strongly stylized visual approach.
I wanted to take that classic character driven horror concept and develop it for more contemporary tastes, with a strongly stylised visual approach, It was great being able to explore visual metaphors and themes in a new art form (film) that i truly love and have always aspired to work in.
I’m very grateful to have been able to work alongside a very talented group of people to help realise the world of TBP on the screen for the first time. There really are too many to mention here, unfortunately! But I was particularly honoured to have Abby Miller come over from the US. I loved her in ‘Justified’ playing the role of Ellen May. And my friend the truly unique and iconic actor Laurence Harvey. Plus an incredibly young 6 year old actress Lorelei Winterfrost. I had some apprehensive comments about working with child actors but I can honestly say she was more well behaved than the adults.
I also had the invaluable input of an amazing DP James Fox and the help/support from my co-producer Natalie Dorn, who also sacrificed a year for production. A musical score by Sophie Galpin (Pins-band) and sound design by Todd Freeman (Cell Count & Love Sick). Along with my co-writer Russell Norris. ‘
Teddy Bears Picnic was filmed entirely on location in the rural woodlands of the English Northampton countryside. The film is produced by Hodge, Natalie Dorn and Lauren Parker.
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