There was a very clear objective with the production of SHANK – to make a film about teenagers by teenagers/young adults for as wide an audience as possible. To use the production and the no holds-barred youthful narrative of the story to provide an opportunity for young filmmakers and actors to “make” the film guided and tutored by producer Christian Martin.
Christian wrote the treatment for SHANK – with a central character of a gay gang member - after reading a newspaper article about a gang of local Bristolian youths headed up by a girl who went around terrorizing people and randomly attacking them. The gang were caught after leaving for dead a young 17 year old foreign language student who managed to crawl nearly a mile across an open field before being found by a passer-by and rushed to hospital.
Originally a French independent director was invited to co-direct with Christian and was flown to Bristol to look at locations and discuss the project. Dates couldn’t be worked out and Christian intended to direct the film himself.
However, not long after this Christian was shown a trailer for a home made ‘fanboy’ homage to the TV series 24 called “60” that Simon Pearce had shot and directed. The competency evident in the style, the camerawork and the editing immediately fitted with the look and approach that Christian wanted to take with SHANK.
Simon was contacted and came in to interview with his girlfriend in tow. He was just 21 and talked about how he’d been making films since he was 13. He listened and was excited by the direction that Christian wanted the film to go in and responsive to the project’s content and aspiration. His passion and raw skills impressed and he was offered the chance to work with Christian and to shoot the film. He jumped at the opportunity and the possibility to be schooled through the process of making a feature film.
Beyond the physical production the mentoring process continued with advice and introductions to industry professionals. In 2009 Christian took Simon to South Africa on a tour with Out In Africa where the pair spoke to film students and did radio and press interviews about SHANK.
The opportunity for Simon paid off and the success of SHANK laid the foundation and provided the experience for Simon to graduate onto solo directing in 2012 the feature film “Judas Ghost” written and produced from his own novel by New York Times Best Selling author Simon R Green.