Eastbourne film-director takes his werewolf movie to FrightFest

Eastbourne film-maker Seb Cox – by day a physics teacher at Hailsham Community College – is delighted that his debut feature film Are We Monsters (arewemonsters.com) has been selected for the UK’s largest film festival, FrightFest.

Are We Monsters
Are We Monsters

Arrow Video Frightfest runs at Cineworld Leicester Square, London from August 26-30.

Seb’s film will get two screenings on the Saturday – one at 3.35pm, which has already sold out, and one at 3.50pm.

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“The film is a fantasy coming of age film that shares the folklore and history of werewolves with a mix of live action and animation, exploring questions of identity and who decides who we are.”

The film (90 mins), which Seb directs, features Charlotte Olivia, Jathis Sivanesan, John Black, Stefan Chanyaem and Justin Hayward in a coming of age saga that’s as much an internal story as an external one. Maya is a werewolf conflicted with an identity crisis. She must seek to understand the two sides of herself before the consequences become deadly.

Seb’s debut delves deep into the folklore of lycanthropy, Greek mythology and legend, then back again to ask important questions about identity, exactly who we are and who decides.

The idea is to communicate emotional wellbeing through fantasy, using metaphors to link audience empathy with real-world problems.

“Whenever I make films, I always try to make some kind of moral message in them.”

It ties in with the teaching in a way. Seb cites the statistic that as a teacher you have got only 14 per cent influence over a child’s growth. Friends and media account for much more.

“When I teach, I do spiral-based learning. I try to enforce their neurons to go from short-term memory to long-term memory.”

But media is particularly effective at enforcing that memory for the simple reason that media is entertaining – which means it is also a good place to add a message.

“All of my projects have a fantasy genre. There is a lot of fantasy. People get a natural flush of these wonderful chemicals, and if there is a message there, it is all the more impactful if the brain is already telling them that they are enjoying it.

“In this film, it is about the idea of identity and having the opportunity to find your identity as an individual rather than having an identity enforced on you by the people around you.

“Werewolves are a great way to do that. We have all got an idea of what a werewolf is…

“It was filmed in Horam on my friends’ land which was super kind of them. It is their own woods and fields and just beautiful UK landscape and countryside. The timing is quite ambiguous, but it is set in the present day.”

Seb is hoping for a mix of things from the festival screenings, particularly that the film should be picked up by the appropriate distributors. As he says, it is not “horror-horror”. It is more folk horror, something more for the audience that likes Harry Potter.

“We have also designed a board game. It is finished and is manufactured already. The idea is to be able to offer people a board game and movie night.”