‘Horror’ down in Draycott’s woods…

You wouldn’t have thought that Draycott would be a likely setting for a horror movie, but that’s exactly what you will see when a new short-film Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees is released next week.
And we are all invited to the premiere – for free!

It all came about because Dan Cottingham, the film’s director, needed an atmospheric setting for his movie – which plays on creating a sense of high tension in the audience.
He approached the owners at Huntley Wood, the outdoor recreation centre by Draycott Cross on the Cheadle Road.

Beneath the Trees film crew

Filming gets underway at Huntley Woods

Dan continues:  “I initially sent out masses of emails to woodland owners across Staffordshire, and, despite a number of replies it was evident from the start that Huntley was the one. The owner Emma King was very polite and always enthusiastic.
After a very in-depth and chatty tour of the location I was immensely satisfied that Huntley Wood would be the perfect setting for the film idea in my mind.”

A picnic with a twist

Beneath the Trees Where Nobody Sees is based around the classic children’s nursery rhyme ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’.  It looks at the issues of childhood and naivety, as the daughter of a single parent wanders into the woods – with devastating consequences.

“I took inspiration from the TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” says Dan. “…starting with the desire to create a film in the style of the Buffy ‘Gentlemen’ episode – in which the characters’ voices are taken away, mimicking a fairy story”.
Along the way, some flesh-eating takes place…

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Filming took place in mid-November last year.

Going to the movies

Dan, who is in his final year at Staffordshire University’s Film School, is hoping to impress major movie-makers with his latest work.
To that end, there is a public screening on Thursday 23rd January at 6.30pm at The Ashley Building of Staffordshire University, which is at the Leek Road Campus in Stoke.
Seven short films, each around five to ten minutes long, are being shown at the event, which is open to the public.

Dan Cottingham

Dan Cottingham is hoping for a long career in movies

Dan is very happy with the way things turned out.  “All the staff at Huntley were very accommodating, and happy to help at all points in the production process.  Our young star Libby Braidwood, who plays the daughter (Rhiannon), was made to feel completely at home.
I would love to express my gratitude!”

Who knew Draycott’s woods could be so exciting?

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