He is the man behind The Words Of The Prophets Dollar Baby Film.
SKSM: Could you start with telling me a bit about yourself? Who are you and what do you do?
Mark Howarth: I’m currently a freelance videographer and independent filmmaker based in Sheffield where I’ve just graduated from university with a degree in English Language and Linguistics. Been creating for as long as I can remember in both film and literature but it’s ultimately film for which I have the greatest passion.
SKSM: When did you make The words of the prophets? Can you tell me a little about the production? How much did it cost? How long did it take to film it?
Mark Howarth: Yeah, we had a lot of difficulty with malfunctioning equipment and such but managed to do the best with what and who we had available. Principal photography lasted probably about two weeks – we were in rather a rush and had to work very quickly – with a series of pickups towards the end of summer 2015 just to make the edit work a little better.
SKSM: Are you a Stephen King fan? If so, which are your favourite works and adaptations.
Mark Howarth: James is definitely the King-buff of the two of us. Like, I’ve obviously been aware of King’s work but the only experience I’ve had of it has been through the film adaptations. I don’t know if this response is going to earn me grounds for crucifixion among Stephen King purists but Kubrick’s adaptation of the Shining was probably my initial introduction to and abiding memory of King’s work. But I’d tend to agree with my learned colleague in that Darabont’s Shawshank is probably my favourite King adaptation.
SKSM: How did you find out that King sold the movie rights to some of his stories for just $1? Was it just a wild guess or did you know it before you sent him the check?
Mark Howarth: Got a message from James, something along the lines of “want to make a Stephen King film?” – I didn’t hesitate.
SKSM: Was there any funny or special moment when you made the movie that you would like to tell me about?
Mark Howarth: Oh god, the bathroom scene… that was interesting. But I’d have to go with shooting the exterior shots from the film’s climax where Zimmer puts his life in the hands of fate. The wide shots were interesting since setting the camera up on the far side of the pond, concealed by bushes, left James on his own and in full view of half of Endcliffe Student village… in broad daylight…. holding a gun to his temple… I fully expected to hear sirens.
SKSM: What “good or bad” reviews have you received on your film?
Mark Howarth: When we screened it for the filmmaking society at uni, a few of the alumni who showed up to see it thought we’d really succeeded it building a creepy and emotional atmosphere throughout the film so that was nice to hear. Obviously, staring at the footage for hours on end, made me numb to the actual emotions that would be felt by a live audience so it was nice to hear that our intentions had been successful therein.
SKSM: Do you have any plans for making more movies based on Stephen King’s stories? If you could pick -at least- one story to shoot, which one would it be and why?
Mark Howarth: Call me a dreamer, I’d like to see Pet Sematary done well on screen. Before I read it, the number of people telling me it would make me “question my own morality” had me almost afraid to open the cover. I reckon it’d be a really interesting experiment to translate something on that level of disturbing into film.
SKSM: What are you working nowadays?
Mark Howarth: Despite graduating, I’m still heavily involved in the Sheffield Student Filmmaking Society. I’m doing a lot of editing work at the minute, working on the first projects of a lot of close friends and am, of course, working on my own projects. My own personal projects span a wide array of platforms: I’ve got my films and novels currently under construction, I’m working on character design for a graphic novel I’ve been planning for some time now and a handful of others so I’m keeping rather busy creatively.
SKSM: Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Is there anything you want to say to your fans?
Mark Howarth: Yay, fans! Good to think that we might have one or two but I reckon we’re too modest to hope for that. But if people are interested in my work, they can check out some of my other pieces at www.markhowarthfilms.com, got lots of interesting projects coming up soon so I hope people find some of them work looking at!