An Interview with Oliver Hollingdale – Writer/Director/Animator

2014-03-02_0104Oliver Hollingdale is the Writer and Director of Cursed Edge, a Dredd (2012) fan film web-series. He’s made a few other films including a Harry Potter fan film, Battle of Hogwarts.

He provided the opening credits animation for Adi Shankar’s (Executive Producer on Dredd (2012)) Judge Dredd: Superfiend.

Cursed Edge was received with mixed response from Judge Dredd fans. Some reactions were very negative but the team have pressed on. The first Episode, Oliver calls them Progs to match the term for an issue of 2000AD comic, was made by Oliver’s team alone. The second Prog saw the team expand across the Atlantic with Oliver teaming up with the Together Brothers.

There are links to more about Cursed Edge after the interview.

Semble: OK lets open with a question about Judge Dredd: Superfiend. How did you get involved in this project?

Oliver: I had been talking to Adi for a good few months while Superfiend was still being developed, at the time I had no idea about the project only speculations floating around the internet that there was something in the works. I got in contact with him by praising his contribution to Dredd and Dirty Laundry and like the rest of us hoping for a Dredd 2! I told him about Cursed Edge the Dredd based web-series we are doing, he enjoyed them and really appreciated the effort and that fan films are the way forward which was nice confidence booster for all people involved with Cursed Edge.

Semble: Did you receive a detailed description of what was needed for the credits or did you have some creative control?

Oliver: Adi really liked some of the visual effects in Cursed Edge particularly the 3D emblem for the series, he asked me if I would be interested in creating the titles for Superfiend! I was honored to help out and then we began discussing ideas

Semble: What influences did you draw on?

Oliver: My initial reaction it being Dredd based was to create something gritty and explosive like the movie, I soon learnt that this was going to be something really different entirely in terms of style, Adi enjoyed the 80’s colour pallet in some moments in Cursed Edge and wanted something like that for the titles, our main source of ideas when brainstorming was old VHS idents you see at the start of a movie with all the distorted sounds and images and that was the strong basis reference for me.

Semble: You’ve done a few films of your own, how did this start?

Oliver: It was something I delved into in my early teens and over the course of growing up, going to college then university my knowledge in what I was interested in got more sophisticated, One of my big passions along side film is Visual Effects which is a self taught interest I gained over many years of trial and error.

Semble: Battle of Hogwarts, a Harry Potter fan film, what drew you to this subject?

Oliver: (Laughs) This was a fun ad-lib project we did with a few friends over a couple weekends few years ago, at the time the final Harry Potter came out and we thought it would be fun to do a battle sequence following one of the hundreds of students fighting their way through the castle.

Semble: Did you write this for the cast you had or did you have to look around for the people you wanted?

Oliver: This was all a spontaneous affair and we are all friends and thought it would be a fun little project to do, helps stretch our creative muscles.

Semble: What exposure had you had to Judge Dredd before starting work on Cursed Edge?

Oliver: With Dredd spanning many years before I was born I know my first introduction to Dredd was the… dare i say? Stallone when I was 5 years old

Personally if it was an 18 rating and had no Rob Schneider or Stallone taking his helmet off 10 minutes into the picture it would have been a pretty good movie, stylistically it matches the images of the comic really well but sadly many poor choices were made with that movie!

From seeing the movie I did float between random Progs growing up until I finally saw the first still of Karl Urban as Dredd, I remember everyone slating that his helmet looked huge.

I loved the trailer! thought it was incredible despite many people saying the La Roux music over it ruined it.. I 100% disagree! From an artistic background having that track and seeing all the slo-mo visuals in the trailer made me so excited for the movie.

Semble: How and why did you come to collaborate with Together Brothers?

Oliver: Cursed Edge started off with just 3 of us and from the get go I said this is a project I want it to be made by fans of Dredd/2000AD for fans, My main aim was to make this a huge collaborative community fan film and since it’s growth many people have jumped on board and offered their service and want to help make this as fantastic as possible!

It will never have Oscar winning performance due to zero funding but the passion and community drive can be seen pushing through and the love of labor is what is present.

Eric Moran and Kurt Struss at Together Brothers have been great to work with! Knocking heads together allowed us to expand Cursed Edge further and broaden it’s horizons!

Semble: Has the intended plot altered with this expansion?

Oliver: Yes, there have been many elements that have been expanded on and it has grown so huge in scale for something that was a 3 man team a year ago!

Semble: How many Progs do you think you will make for Cursed Edge?

Oliver: At the moment we are focusing on trying the best way to tell the story with the sheer limitations we face, Prog 3 is just about to come out and we have started filming Prog 4 and managed to finish the biggest sequence for it and prog 5 has started filming also!

Semble: With Fan Films comes criticism, few are spared the rod, how hard is it when reactions are negative?

Oliver: We knew it would be the case, having been denied a Kickstarter to raise funds it has made the process a lot slower but will not halt what we aim to finish. With the negative remarks. it is very easy for people to sit behind their computer and start saying if something is rubbish, those I do not listen to because at the end of the day if they feel that they can do better I would love for them to get up and go and make something. There are some comments of constructive criticism like change camera angles or fix that audio at 2 minute mark etc those are helpful because the idea behind episodic structure is to see what is liked and disliked and it allows us to improve, change and adapt along the way so the idea in the long run is to re-edit all Progs, fix all constructive remarks made and fuse it all together into one long movie for fans to re-see in its entirety!

Semble: I’ve seen a good deal of constructive criticism of Cursed Edge, how helpful have the team found this?

Oliver: It is lovely getting messages off people saying how much they loved the episodes so far, if anything this is how our team has grown so much because 90% of people who message us end up wanting to help out in some way which is fantastic because that was the main goal from the start of fan driven work!

Semble: What’s next for you? What can you tell us of further Progs of Cursed Edge and are there any new projects in the offing?

Oliver: (Laughs) This is something I have not thought about, but I know I would love to do something with more originality to it and get back to my more artistic side again, I hope fans would keep following what we are doing down the line because we make these projects for them.


DSC06916 (0-00-00-00)You can find more about Cursed Edge on their Facebook Page and follow Oliver on his Twitter Account.

As you read in the interview Prog 3 is due out sometime soon. Keep an eye out for it.

And below, Cursed Edge is embeded for you to watch.

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