PURGATORY PICTURES LTD was set up in 2018 when Matt Shaw and fellow author, Michael Bray, decided to turn their best-selling novel, MONSTER, into a feature film.
Their first win
Despite neither of them having any experience, with a strong team around them (including fellow author J.R Park), they managed to bring their debut feature in under budget and in just 9 days. MONSTER went on to win "BEST FILM" at the 'Dead All Day' Film Festival. .
Winning the film festival was enough inspiration needed for Justin Park and Matt Shaw to go on to make their follow-up film, an original anthology called NEXT DOOR, with Matt Shaw once again directing and Justin Park assisting. It was a film which would take 2 years to make and try their patience whilst, at the same time, confirm their love of the industry. Matt Shaw himself calls it a "comedy of errors" and a "steep learning curve".
nightmare on elm street
During the making of the NEXT DOOR, Matt Shaw wrote a short film based on A Nightmare On Elm Street. By now Matt was starting to get a good amount of connections within the industry and he turned his producing hands to getting his short, UP ALL NIGHT off of the ground. The director he chose only agreed to direct it if Matt Shaw would appear in the film himself, as the lead. As it was a short, and mostly based on himself, Matt figured he had nothing to lose and set off to Seattle to make the film. It was here he met the actress Rebecca Tarabocchia, whom he knew would be perfect for the third feature he'd planned with Justin Park.
Based on another of Matt Shaw's best-selling novellas, Matt had wanted to make LOVE LIFE for a while but had stayed clear as he couldn't find an actress good enough to take the lead role of Kim, due to the complex layers the character had. When working with Rebecca Tarabocchia in America he knew he had found his perfect cast member and - whilst off-set of UP ALL NIGHT - he wrote up a contract for her. From there the script was polished to final draft, the shot lists compiled, locations sought and the rest of the cast was filled. The year was 2020 though and the world had other ideas as to what Matt Shaw and Justin Park were to be filming...
when we went mad
The Corona virus stopped production on LOVE LIFE. It's now 2021 and the virus is still causing issues with the film with the country going into and out of lockdown on a regular basis. During lockdown, Matt Shaw got drunk and was chatting with his brother in law about making a stupid sci-fi film. Matt went home and forgot about it. His brother in law, Ben John Jewell didn't. He started building the sets and it was then Matt realised he needed to make THEY CAME FROM THE SKY, I SAW THEM but it was never intended to be a film for the masses. It was a film for Matt and his friends to let loose on, after lockdown. A film in which they could experiment and just have a laugh after months of stress.
In lockdown, Matt Shaw wrote a number of short films which he got his colleagues to film with him. They filmed their bit with their mobile phones, he filmed his bit and then he edited them together. He called the shorts LOCKDOWN and released them on YouTube for people to watch for free. This wasn't just about stretching the creative brain though. He was seeing whom was hungry to work and one name stood out to him. Maria Lee Metheringham. Matt would give her a script and a day later, she had filmed her segments. Having worked together on NEXT DOOR, Matt approached Maria to work on THEY CAME WITH THE SKY, I SAW THEM. He explained that the project was just for fun and to have a laugh after the lockdown and - to his delight - she agreed. LOVE LIFE wasn't dead though...
LOVE LIFE'S screenplay was winning awards in various film festivals all the time Matt Shaw and Justin Park were working on THEY CAME FROM THE SKY. It came third in a few, second in a couple and even took home the "Best Script" in a couple of competitions. The poster was certainly getting full with all of the laurels. But it wasn't the only project to get attention. When THEY CAME FROM THE SKY was finished, it was entered into a comedy film festival where it made it through to the finals, and even got a special mention for its creativeness. The team was happy with that, given it was never meant for public viewing. There was another script getting attention too: BOX.
A QUICK SHOOT
The boredom of Lockdown saw Matt Shaw write the screenplay for BOX, with fellow writer Ian Armer. Once again based on one of Matt's best-selling novellas, BOX was the perfect script for shooting around the virus given the fact it was one cast member in a box. In fact, the entire production team for the feature film was just 5 people. Maria Lee Metheringham was doing some acting, helping with directing and even on sound duties. Justin Park was recording sound, helping with the production, helping on directing and even tidied the script some more. Meanwhile Jamie Walker - whom filmed THEY CAME - was back behind the camera too. Which such a close knit team they were able to jump from role to role to ensure a smooth production. Before cameras even started rolling, the script won "BEST MESSAGE" at a film festival in India of all places. The film was shot in a week. Whilst other film companies shut, Purgatory Pictures kept producing content in the toughest of times, working around the world's problems and proving they weren't going anywhere but upwards.
Approximately three months after shooting BOX, the team were back together again to film THE CALL.
The Call is a strange film. Part slasher, part experimental, part arthouse; this was a clear case of Matt Shaw experimenting with style.
Frustratingly, the film was delayed in post production to such an extent, the team were back again filming another production - CHAINED. The story of a man who gets out of jail, only to imprison a woman whom he chains to himself. The idea being, she will be his prisoner for the same amount of time he was locked in prison for!
Again, like BOX, Chained was actually a book first. With the small cast and simplistic locations, it just made sense to turn it into a feature. It was shot in over a week and post-production is due to be completed just over a month later so, for this one, it is a very fast turn around!