Lancaster filmmaker reels in international support

Director Chee Keong Cheung.
Director Chee Keong Cheung.

A new zombie horror film by Lancaster filmmaker Chee Keong Cheung has been shocking audiences across the country after securing funding with the support of the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Redcon-1, which follows a team of special forces soldiers battling against the undead, is the result of five years of hard work by the former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil and his team.

DIT supported Chee to attend trade missions to the American Film Market in Los Angeles, the Berlin Film Market and the Cannes Film Festival where he sold the film distribution rights for different formats and territories. The film has since received a theatrical release here in the UK.

Chee also credits US-based executive producers Kevin Eastman, of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame, and Carlos Gallardo, of Once Upon A Time in Mexico, in helping the film get to the big screen.

Filmed in 12 cities across the UK, including Glasgow, Manchester and London, the film features a cast of more than 1,500 extras. Redcon-1 will be available to watch on video on demand, DVD and pay TV early next year, as well as having an international theatrical release.

Chee previously produced and directed two martial arts action films, Underground (also known as ‘12’) and Bodyguard: A New Beginning. Redcon-1 is his first theatrical release and his most ambitious production yet.

Chee said: “The aim of this film was to fuse the horror and martial arts genres in a big event film that could play on the big screen and have international appeal.

“It’s been a real journey and we’ve had a few knock backs along the way. People told us it would never work.

“However, support from DIT early in the filmmaking process was instrumental in enabling us to attend film markets in the US and Europe, where we pitched the film to investors and distributors from around the world and secured their backing.

“If I had any advice for young filmmakers I would say don’t be afraid to reach out for support and guidance, surround yourself with people who have expertise and experience, and be passionate.”

Paul Stowers, Head of Regions, North West, at DIT, said: “Chee is a driven and hugely creative young filmmaker with ideas that have international commercial appeal.

“It’s deeply satisfying to see Redcon-1 make it onto the big screen and we are proud to have supported him on that journey.

“Although exporting can help companies become more profitable and resilient, it isn’t without its challenges. Chee worked closely with our DIT International Trade Advisers based here in the North West and our screen adviser Andrew Patrick to help turn Redcon-1 into reality.

“These DIT trade experts are on hand to help firms of all sizes address everything from finding overseas partners, to issues of logistics and tax. I’d urge anyone interested in seeing how overseas opportunities could benefit them to get in touch – the support is out there, and you could be too.”

Firms looking for support should call 0333 320 0392 or email info@tradenw.org to get in touch with the North West DIT office. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has information on live export opportunities and general information on exporting and events.