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LISTEN: Short film premieres tonight

LISTEN: Short film premieres tonight

Friday 15 September 2023

LISTEN: Short film premieres tonight

Friday 15 September 2023


'Bet your bottom dollar' tells the story of addiction through the eyes of a gambler, with its premiere in Guernsey tonight followed by a Q&A session with the man who wrote, produced and directed it.

While it's not Brandon Ashplant's own story he spent many months researching the topic before spending a year working on the film itself.

"I came across an article just purely by chance, by the UK Charity Be Gamble Aware. They published research where they basically claimed that 1.4 million people in the UK are experiencing what they call "gambling harms"," he explained. 

"This figure stuck with me and I think having discussed it with a close friend who I wouldn't say is a betting addict, but has certainly dabbled in online formats of that kind it dawned on me how much of a social issue this is."

From that point on Brandon further researched the topic and started writing his script.

BRANDON ASHPLANT

Pictured: Brandon Ashplant wrote, produced and directed 'Bet Your Bottom Dollar'.

"It was really important to do a lot of online desktop research and understand the human stories. If you look at the common thread that I came across and without giving too many spoilers kind of built into the narrative. It was this idea that victims feel as though they, and they are ultimately victims because it is addiction, they feel that the the industry is created in such a way that it sucks one in and doesn't let them leave."

From finding that inspiration Brandon worked on building a team around him with local creatives working on the production alongside him. He then reached out to people outside the island, well known in their respective industries to help with voice roles, editing and music.

César Award nominated French Actor Marc Duret, and well-known British actor Paterson Joseph came on board to lend their voices to two unseen roles while Oscar nominated producer Jonathan Tammuz worked with Brandon on the editing process and The Mandlorian composer, Omar El-Deeb worked on the music score.

"There's a burgeoning film scene here and not only short films have been made but now features, so I think contacts have been made. And so I think as long as you reach out to the right local people, they'll happily put you in touch with well respected and well regarded individuals off island."

Reaching out to those people paid off for Brandon with positive responses quickly coming back. 

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Pictured: Dave Hyett is among the local talent in the production.

Filming and editing the 17-minute project took nearly a year, with Brandon also involved in other creative works during that time.

For now he says he wants to focus his own work on short films.

"The short film genre is a good place to start for any emerging filmmaker because I think it allows you to try and test things out in the way that a feature (length film) doesn't perhaps allow you to do, because when you commit to a feature, not only do you need a budget, it's the economics resource needed to make it happen, but also you're then committing huge kind of sums of your time to that, whereas if you've got a short film you can reasonably get it off the ground in anything under a year.

"So I think a short film is a good place to start if you're an early, coming out of the box filmmaker."

The short film 'Bet Your Bottom Dollar' premieres tonight with a question and answer session afterwards with Brandon and other people involved in the production.

Among the invited guests will be Russ Fossey, Chair of Guernsey Arts.

"They've been absolutely absolutely vital and instrumental in terms of us getting this over the line because we wouldn't have made the film as it stands without them because they provided the budget, hugely important organization and they should be supported till the end," said Brandon.

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Pictured: The short film premieres tonight with tickets available HERE

Looking to the future, Brandon thinks that the work of the vibrant creative sector and the support of organisations such as Guernsey Arts, is contributing to a burgeoning local film industry.

"I haven't got a crystal ball to gaze into the future, but I think if we play our cards right, it feels like Guernsey could position itself in such a way that we are attractive, to filmmakers.

"I think one point that's come up in these kind of discussions has also been the idea that Guernsey is a very versatile film making location in the sense of we're only 25 square miles, but within that we have got hugely different sort of terrain and landscape.'

With that in mind, Brandon is looking at outlets for his short film, including next year's film festivals.

"I think because it's a short film, it's not necessarily commercially viable, because it's only 17 minutes so it's purely a creative expression without being too snobby.

"But yes, the long term plan is to go to film festivals with it. And, we're in the process now where we're going out to submit and it just remains to be seen how it pans out from there."

The short film 'Bet your bottom dollar' premieres tonight at the Performing Arts Centre with tickets available HERE

Pictured top: Cameron Ashplant is one of the stars of 'Bet Your Bottom Dollar', written and produced by his brother.

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