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The Garston-born entrepreneur hails his inspiration as his childhood, saying: “When I was really young my parents would always try to encourage my imagination. Film was the medium that made the biggest impression on me.

I would see things like Fantasia or the elephant scene in Dumbo and be really into it! Almost hypnotised. As I got a little bit older my grandparents would always have westerns and war films on the television. I must have only been about six or seven and I would watch things like The Wild Bunch, Spartacus, Das Boot even Aliens!  

Everything about them made a huge impression on me. I didn’t know it then but that was the spark which started it all.   

When I reached my teens I watched films like American Histroy X, Scarface, Cuckoo’s Nest, Fight Club, The Godfather trilogy and those pieces of work (along with many others) just confirmed what my intuition and imagination was already telling me, I said to myself OK, whatever happens this is what you are going to do.”

Speaking about The Desolate One, Daniel said being recognised here in the UK and aboard has been quite an achievement. Just getting it made was a task in itself as it was shot upon and around Mount Snowdon in the middle of a winter blizzard – with virtually no money or backing, save my own.

He continued: “Most people doubted it could even be done, especially in terms of logistics, but I knew it could. I was prepared and a small amount of very talented people helped me enhance the film. To have it screened in many festivals worldwide and winning Best Short Film Award in Liverpool’s very own International Film Festival, Copenhagen’s annual CPH fest and receiving a platinum award at World Fest Houston in Texas at which the likes of the Coen brothers, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone and Steven Spielberg’s earliest works where all first recognised was a nice touch.  

Daniel believes his next project is all or nothing. The Neolith is very ambitious and atmospheric piece. It is a large scale, high end short film which I plan to shoot upon the Isle of Skye this coming October.  It is set in older times and is about a mysterious enigmatic figure who senses an outside force few can comprehend. It is cast with actors from Liverpool, Denmark and Northern Ireland and crewed with people from Liverpool and Scotland. 

Permission has been given by the Highland Commission to shoot in the specific locations requested upon Skye.  Half of the film will primarily be set around the Black Cuillin region. During autumn the light is pretty special along with vast brown grasslands and granite black rocks situated there. I have been to Skye many times planning how best to go about the film and I will soon return again.  It is looking very good so far. Those directly involved and others who are now circling the project can sense the huge potential in it. For me The Neolith is an all or nothing opportunity. That is why I am very focused on making it the best it can be.

Daniel says that on the surface, finance and short films can be a tricky combination depending on an individual’s agenda. Even at the most basic level, a good smartphone costs £1000. A good camera can cost £55,000 plus. 

For The Desolate One I did not ask for funding. I saved up a couple of thousand pounds and funded it myself because I knew that logic would come good when needing finance for The Neolith. 

The Neolith is a big step up from anything I have done before but that is the point. Its budget is £50,000, part of which we already have that will be investedWith regards to acquiring the rest of the finance, it’s about identifying the right people, crowds or organisations who I think will be a correct fit for the project. Discussions are already taking place.  

Claret and Blue has just embarked on a crowdfunding campaign for The NeolithI don’t really look at crowdfunding in the conventional sense.  For me it is more about the crowd itself. I have been to some great events in my time and was glad that I was there to witness what would happen. It was not necessarily about paying money towards something. It was about the experience of what I would see unveil before and around me.

I would always pay attention to the reaction from a crowd when it would be won over by something unique. The crowd would enhance what was happening. A crowd is very powerful. In a sense it is sort of cinematic. I feel like what I am doing is something that a potential crowd has not quite seen before especially in the world of short filmsI feel that when people see The Neolith it will make more than a standard impression. It will flow like a feature. The reaction to the 1-minute mood reel clip alone already has people engaged.  In terms of targets for investment I feel the best method for The Neolith is to split it three ways – between private investors / businesses, a recognised Film Institute and a successful crowdfunding campaign. This will broaden the film’s outreach in the best possible way for all connected to it and better the chances for different types of opportunities to arise.

Daniel would love the city to get involved again like it did with The Desolate One and back the project, its ideas and initiatives200 people turned up to watch The Desolate One at FACT, all cheering and shouting. There really was something to that for me… especially watching the film with them and talking about it. I’ve noticed what can happen here in Liverpool. When somebody decides to do something a little bit different and backs it up through action the city tends to really get behind them… provided that it’s good!

The Neolith will target the highest level in the short film world. I feel if more people here begin to see what I am doing and like it then they will have a big part to play. No matter what happens or where I have to go to do what needs to be done I will always bring it back to Liverpool. Already there are plans for several feature films, the first of which is already being discussed in terms of development, however everything is dependent on the success of The Neolith. Like I say, that is the all or nothing opportunity. I can’t wait to make it happen and show you all what I can do.” 

You can read more about the crowdfunding campaign behind The Neolith here:

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