Updated: Aug 11, 2020

August 2020

Bad Blood Films is a young independent production company from the U.K, co-founded by Mark Kenna, the Producer, and David Creed, Author and Director.

Bad Blood Films specialty is: Horror, Thrill, Fear, Suspense. Their first feature is “SACRILEGE” released earlier this year. The music is scored by Colin McGuinness and published by Music Partner.

We have asked Mark Kenna and David Creed a few questions to introduce Bad Blood Films.

Music Partner: Starting a brand-new entertainment company can be challenging. How did the idea of Bad Blood Films come about?

MARK KENNA: After leaving Dolby in 2009, I set up a sound post-production company working with many first time productions and was keen to go into film production. I met David after working on his short film, he had a great feature script, lots of ideas and was looking for a producer. We decided to set up a company to develop multiple projects and work on a new hybrid model for independent film here in the UK.

David Creed: I had written a script for a feature called "Facility 31" and was on the lookout for a Producer. I knew Mark from when he and his business partner Alex at Dreambase studios, fixed the sound on a short film I had written and Directed. He approached me when I put a post out on social media. We met and had a great chat. It became obvious that we were both thinking the same thing, which was creating a production company rather than just make a movie.

From there I made a list of dozens of company names and ultimately, we agreed on Bad Blood Films.

MP: The horror genre has its own audience, thrill and fast heart beating seekers. Lovers of the genre are also loyal customers. What motivated your interest in the horror movie genre?

DC: I have been a fan of horror and thriller movies for years, it is in my opinion, the only genre where the characters go through a whole range of emotions and where, as a filmmaker, you can have fun manipulating an audience to be scared and shocked, but in the comfort of a movie theater or their own home.

MK: Whilst I enjoy horror, it was David’s passion and knowledge for horror, coupled with a great fanbase in horror that really convinced me to start a genre company. There is so much scope within the genre to bring fresh ideas, new technologies and great business opportunities. Many of the great directors started in horror, it's a playground that allows creative thinking on limited budget. I like this challenge very much.

MP: Bad Blood has a “Studio approach” to filmmaking. What does it mean to you?

MK: That we carve our own ‘end-to-end’ solution for independent filmmaking. We develop, package, raise finance, bring the teams together and make our in-house projects. We have full control and we can build the company through partnerships as we move forwards. We’re always thinking mid to long-term and can work with the people and teams that we feel compliment our ethos here at Bad Blood Films.

DC: This means we make our films to the highest quality production values, using industry professionals and aim to have the finished movie present in national and international movie theaters.

MP: Your ambition is to shape the next decade of horror movies, beyond the storyline, is there any concept that will help you do so?

DC: Yes, by using as diverse a crew in all departments as possible to help tell those stories.

MK: Our way of thinking and approach to filmmaking will make our films stand out. Incorporating technologies, innovative ways of working, bringing together a diverse team we feel is a great approach.

MP: The genre has its heroes, John Carpenter, Wes Craven or Stephen King among many others. Which ones do you admire and how did they influence you?

DC: John Carpenter has always been a personal favorite of mine as well as Alfred Hitchcock, Wes Craven and George Romero, all of them changed the horror and thriller genre with their films. The way they used different angles to convey emotion and threat along with the ability to draw the audience in and actually care for the characters.

MK: While I admire the horror greats such as Stephen King and John Carpenter (I love the sound, so distinctive), I look up to the production companies such as A24 and Blumhouse who are shaping today's horror in both their approach to quality filmmaking and infrastructure to find, develop and promote new and upcoming talent.

MP: As a production company, you made your mission to support upcoming talents. Who did you work with on "Sacrilege"?

DC: Yes, we gave opportunities to members of the crew that hadn’t worked on a feature film before in departments like the Art department as well as our main cast where two of them had never been in a feature, let alone as one of the lead characters.

MK: As David mentioned, on our first feature film, we worked with many companies who made the transition to feature film from pre-production, throughout production and post-production. We love to seek new companies and partnerships, just as much as we do love working with new talent. Just taking our cast & crew on face value, trusting our gut that they are a good fit for our project and that we’re all on the same page. There are some wonderful people out there and we want to find as many of them as we can on as many projects as we can, collaborating and working together. A Bad Blood Films project is very much a collaboration and very much inclusive to everyone on the team. It’s like our own, every expanding family.

MP: Another ambition is to bring to market, high quality productions. What do you pay specific attention to?

DC: It starts with having the right crew. Experienced crew members can push the technology to its limits to get a look and aesthetic that would usually take big studio budget to achieve, with the ambition to record the video and audio to the same standard than studios do.

MK: We always prepare our projects as much as we can, leave little to chance. We believe communication is key in ensuring our vision is understood. We encourage our team to bring something additional to the table, above and beyond their normal roles and make them feel included and looked after. We love to push the technicalities, making our projects for the big screen. Sacrilege was a 4k project, graded in ACES and mixed in native Dolby Atmos. This isn’t common for lower-budget, genre movies, this is what we plan to change going forwards. Putting as much of the budget on-screen is paramount, pushing the boundaries for independent filmmaking.

MP: You have signed a distribution agreement for Sacrilege with Cineworld in the U.K, but then the global pandemic happened. As an independent filmmaking company, you want your film to be seen in theaters. Will Sacrilege be back, and can you already tell us where?

DC: Yes, we were fortunate that CineWorld played Sacrilege in over 40 of their cinemas before the lockdown, so we are now working with the very experienced genre label "DevilWorks" to get the movie in many territories worldwide, including another theatrical release, when it is safe to do so.

MK: We self-distributed and learned lots and are very grateful to Cineworld for the opportunity to release an independent film from a first-time production company. They were suitably impressed and we’re already in talks about further projects. Since signing with Devilworks, we’ve had lots of interest internationally and hope to make further announcements very soon.

MP: Financing independent projects is often difficult. What is Bad Blood discipline to remain within original budget?

MK: Developing the projects in-house, we can quickly make adjustments to the before starting production and maintaining communication throughout the project, we can overcome most problems as we push through production, post and distribution. Having a great team in place is paramount.

DC: Mark and I work together to budget every little thing in the script so there are no surprises.

Once we have that number, we evaluate whether we can produce within that budget or if we need to find areas of compromise to still get the best return for the film and our investors.

MP: Sacrilege is mixed in Dolby Atmos for an incredible immersive sound experience, what other cutting-edge technology are you working with?

MK: After working for Dolby for 12 years and being passionate about sound, our project had to reflect this, utilising Dolby Atmos’ immersive sound format to bring something unique to our projects. The mix was a native Atmos mix and really does add something extra to the presentation. We also used the first robot dolly on-set, ACES workflow and WeAudition, which is an online casting portal co-founded by a good friend of ours, Richard Cambridge. We’re also working with Sundog Toolkit, a cloud-based specialist company that helped us to create our DCP’s. We also created a Dolby Atmos Home Entertainment mix for non-theatrical release..

DC: Dolby Atmos is incredible, it really does the sound design justice. It’s also how we want to make our movies.

MP: Colin McGuinness has scored most of the soundtrack. While music is key to any production, it is particularly so with horror and thrillers. How did you work with Colin to get this fantastic soundtrack?

DC: I have known Colin for a few years now, he has scored all my previous short films. We have a great personal and working relationship, which is so important when you’re trying to get out of your head what it is you are after.

Colin has a knack for being able to understand and surprise me, which is invaluable. The initial direction I asked him to get a feeling for, was that whenever in the movie we are in an urban setting, I wanted a more digital modern feel to the music and whenever we were in the forest and rural settings I wanted an organic natural feel to the instruments.

Colin took my directions and then came back with a whole raft of different music for a bunch of scenes and it all fell into place from there. I’m extremely proud of Colin’s score, it really does complete the movie, and his epic opening track is one I really enjoy listen to.

MK: Colin and David have a great relationship which is always a great place to start. However, the process is much more than that, with special screenings for the HOD’s and we discuss the film, style and influences that David would like everyone to take into the current project. This is an important stage and also offers the crew an opportunity to socialise together through film. It’s a win win. Colin really was professional and not only delivered the soundtrack on time, but he worked with us throughout the post process, even during the Dolby masterings when we had to make last minute changes to both the trailer and feature, he was on the end of a phone, updating and sending over tweaked versions, it was a wonderful working relationship and 100% reliability, time investment and of course, wonderful creativity, what more could you want.

MP: You trusted Music Partner to handle your music needs, can you tell us more about it?

DC: We were looking for a company that understood our approach to making movies. We needed to know that by releasing the music we could trust that company to look after our interests as well as their own and Music Partner is very much that company.

MK: I’ve known Michel (Music Partner COO)for many years and we’re always looking around for partners in all aspects of what we’re doing, always thinking bigger. After an initial catch up with Michel, we realised quickly that they could look after the whole soundtrack delivery, licensing and legal for us. With tough deliverable deadlines, we believed Music Partner would be a fun and exciting venture on Sacrilege with the view to building a relationship, releasing Sacrilege onto multiple platforms and what’s unique is that they are not only passionate about music and the whole approach to film score, they also have a wonderful business outlook and within their model, they look to help with music selection and repurpose your soundtrack and share the publishing revenue with the production company. We’re looking forward to working with Music Partner on our next project, along with Colin from the ground up and believe that with their combined experience, passion and business, we will be in a great place when it comes to all our music and soundtrack requirements.

MP: You have a slate of projects in development, what is your next production?

DC: Yes, we sure do, it’s very exciting.

We have scripts written for four more films, and are currently pushing ahead with our supernatural ghost movie "The Rippers Ghost" which is one of our slate of 5 movies.

MK: Yes, we announced a slate of 10 projects at Cannes 2020 with a focus on 5, each with scripts and development packs. Whilst we are focusing on our supernatural short story, ‘The Rippers Ghost’ we are always looking for partners to push multiple projects forwards at once. The goal is to have 2-3 in-house BBF projects on the go, facilitating additional writer, director, producer teams in anyway we can.

MP: David, Mark, what are you afraid of?

DC: Hahaha, I am actually terrified of heights.

MK: I used to be afraid of lifts (after watching The Omen II as a young child) and dogs, having a paper-round as teenager. However, now my children have grown up and have dogs of their own (we have a Chihuahua and a pug) this is no longer the case. If I was to pick one thing, I guess it would be not living my life to the greatest potential. You only get one life, it’s important to make each day count, , face your fears and challenge yourself in every aspect of life.