Lancashire Stuntman stars in Zombie Apocalypse Film

With 17 years of experience under his belt, stuntman, producer, actor and writer, Mark Strange has travelled the world and worked with some of the biggest names in the films industry.

He appeared at the Great Northern Creative Festival to talk about his new role in a zombie apocalypse war film.

Redcon-1 is a collaboration between some huge names from across the pond including Carlos Gallardo, frequent collaborator of director Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Eastwood, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic book

From a young age, Strange was interested in all the big action movies, like RamboRocky and Predator.  Mark Strange was very focused on being like his idols and emphasised the need for “a childhood hero or a goal to work towards”.

Mr Strange has worked across the globe in all markets from the UK scene to even spending three months in Hong Kong where he fulfilled a major dream by working with industry legend Jackie Chan on The Medallion and Twin Effect, which was directed by Star Wars Rogue One actor, Donnie Yen.

Mark Strange looks back fondly on his time with Jackie Chan and he even said“The Jackie Chan experience was a massive thing for me at the time because I was such a big fan growing up and he was such a big influence in my career and again working with him closely in an action sequence, I learnt so much from him.”

As part of the back to back shoots for Twin Effect and The Medallion, Strange was attached to the front of an ambulance which rammed him into a chain link fence and Mark said: “It was my best acting ever that unfortunately wasn’t used in the final film.”

Back in the UK, he was a major driving force in creating a brutal and realistic fighting film known as 12 (although in some countries it was known as Underground) which was a pure action movie that did not even have a script when they started shooting but instead had a major focus on fight scenes.

Mark Strange said: “We shot four fights over five days which was hard work,” but he later added that it was worth it as the film was then funded based on the fight scenes alone and went onto be a big hit globally for him.

Strange has not restricted himself to the silver screen though as he has worked on everything from Stan Lee’s Lucky Man to Coronation Street as their fight planner. Talking about his time on Lucky Man, he talked about how nice James Nesbitt was throughout the filming process and his constant applause between takes being a real highlight.

Most actors fear being typecasted in certain roles throughout their careers but Mark said:” I love the assassin and solider parts and all that sort of stuff and I keep getting those parts.”

When asked how to get into the industry Mark said: “I’d say just go out and do it and meet as many people as possible,” he added: “You’ve got to put the work in.”

Words by Daniel Culkin

2017 Programme Launch

The full programme of events for The Great Northern Creative Festival has been unveiled.

The programme for The Great Northern Creative Festival, in partnership with its principal sponsor Arriva Rail North, has launched presenting this year’s diverse selection of special guests, films and events.

The Festival will screen an array of fiction and documentary features, including the British premiere of Christopher Sykes’ award-winning documentary Golan: A Farewell to Mr Cinema and a special preview screening of SOLO!. There will also be screenings of short films, including documentary, live action and animated works.

The 2017 festival features a stellar line-up of directors, cast and crew to take part in career interviews, Screen Talks, Q&As and Industry Talks, including George Costigan (Shirley Valentine; Rita, Sue and Bob Too), Henry Normal (PhilomenaRed Dwarf) John Thomson (Cold FeetThe Curse of the Were-Rabbit) & Ovidio Assonitis (Piranha Part Two: The Spawning; Beyond the Door).

Taking place over 6 days, the Festival’s screenings are at venues across Preston, including UCLan’s state of the art Media Factory.

We round off The Great Northern Creative Festival with the Arriva Rail Festival Awards. Various prizes will be handed out on the evening including TGNCF Outstanding Award 2017 and TGNCF Lifetime Achievement Award.

GREAT NORTHERN CREATIVE EXTRAVAGANZA

A free four-day media extravaganza is taking place at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to showcase creative talent.

The Great Northern Creative Festival, which runs from 22 to 25 April, will bring together some of the biggest creative talents in the north and from across the UK, as well as showcasing the outstanding creative talents of UCLan students in media, film, photography and journalism.

Over the four days students can attend a mixture of workshops, pitching sessions, industry talks and specialist lectures. Most of the events are also open to members of the general public.

Opening the festival is renowned author and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce, who will do a Q&A with the audience in Darwin Lecture Theatre, before a screening of his classic 2002 film 24 Hour Party People. He is one of the most respected screenwriters working in the English film industry. His career has seen him work alongside the likes of Danny Boyle on the 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony. He has been the screenwriter on films and has written for some of the most classic shows on our screens today, in the likes of Doctor Who and Coronation Street.

He said: “I’m delighted to support this year’s UCLan Student Creative Festival to offer support and advice to its creative students. Events like this are absolutely vital to help young creative people have a voice and motivate them to get out there and have a future in the creative industry.”

Also passing on her invaluable experience is Red Production’s Emily Feller. Emily has script edited and worked in development on dramas such as Bodies, Emmerdale, Scott and Bailey, and The Driver. She has recently been promoted to in-house Producer at Red Production Company having overseen Russell T Davies’ new E4 drama, Banana. Emily will talk about her career from script development to producing and will offer career advice. Tying into Emily’s event is ‘Mediating the North’ with Dr Peter Atkinson and Professor Ewa Mazierska. The academic symposium will analyse the huge BBC hits Happy Valley and Last Tango in Halifax.

A student only event, CJAM 2015, will see industry professionals from across the board visit, with undergraduates getting the chance to pitch their ideas and network.

Andrew Ireland, Executive Dean of Journalism and Media at UCLan, said: “This is a really exciting time to be involved in the creative industries at UCLan. Events such as the Great Northern Creative Festival give our students amazing access to top industry professionals and engage in debates and career planning. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our talented students and their work.”