United Kingdom (MKE Premiere)
Running Time: 13 Minutes
Screening Time: Saturday, Sept 12th 8pm JURIED
Alan (Johnny Vegas) searches for answers in all the wrong places and this time he thinks he's found them...on the internet in the form of a highly trained deadly assassin. But he's about to learn the true price of entering the 'dark_net'.
Tom Marshall previously won Best Film in 2008 for bigboy_74, and he screened Happy Clapper at our 2011 festival.
'dark_net' is a completely ungoverned arm of the internet, a "gateway into the abyss, where anything can be bought and sold." When I first read about this 'dark side of the web', I was particularly drawn to the reports of contract killers offering there services to anyone with a bank card. It filled me full of questions and ideas and prompted me to think about how the fantasy would measure up to the reality. What fascinated me most was the idea that a man as 'geeky' and 'normal' as our central protagonist 'Alan' (Johnny Vegas) could get embroiled in a world so deadly.
The idea leant itself perfectly to indulge my passion for stylised, fast paced, action packed and ultra cinematic filmmaking, yet providing me with the opportunity to undercut it in a very comedic, tongue in cheek and British way! Its a film that wears its influences on it's sleeve. Edgar Wright, Nicolas Winding Refn, Luc Besson and Michael Bay (seriously!) have all had a big influence on me, and this film is very much a homage to all those great directors and their work.
The film was made on a shoestring budget using a lot of great local cast and crew from the north east. After a few years directing TV, this film was about making something I wanted to make just for the joy of it. About taking time to craft something that felt really authored and cinematic. However, this came with it's own challenges as we were trying to make something that felt big on a very small budget. But this was helped hugely by the fact we had the amazing locations we did, one of which was actually the inspiration for the skyline in Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'. As well as locations, our leading man also helped bring a certain amount of production value! But alongside the amazing Johnny Vegas, there is also some new talent on show, like Craig Lines (Barry) for instance, a man who we discovered in a local gym and who had never acted professionally in his life.
Above all, I want people who watch the film to laugh and be entertained. However, 'dark_net' is a passing comment on the dangers of a world where the first solution to a problem is Google and where having Facebook friends is more important than having real ones. 'dark_net' is a warning that sometimes buying a bunch of flowers is probably better than hiring a hitman.
Tom Marshall grew up in the Northeast town of Middlesbrough and began making short films with his friends in college. He went on to study TV & Film Production at Teesside University.
In 2007 Tom’s self funded short film ‘bigboy_74' won the BBC New Talent Award, the Think Sync Film Award, ‘Best Film’ & ‘Best Director’ at Milwaukee Short film Festival and later broadcast on BBC 3. It was made on a budget of £300.
In 2008 he was named a ‘Star of Tomorrow’ by Screen International magazine as well as being nominated for a 4Talent Award in the Best Director category.
Tom’s short film ‘Happy Clapper’ premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and is currently being developed into a feature film with funding from Northern Film and Media.
For his TV work Tom has directed 5 episodes of the highly acclaimed and highly controversial comedy 'London Irish' for channel 4 and Company Pictures.
The Independent called it “not only edgy, but most importantly, very, very funny”
He also directed the second series of 'Drifters’ for Bwark Productions and is currently directing 6 episodes of a brand new E4 comedy called 'Chewing Gum'.