Brighton was the only possible setting for The Holly Kane Experiment which gets its Brighton premiere at Dukes at Komedia on Sunday, February 11 at 9pm – after which the film will be available on digital from February 12.
Penned by father-son duo, writer-director team Mick Sands (Three Acts) and Tom Sands (Backtrack), it was made in and around Brighton – a psychological thriller which explores the dangerously-dark world of mind-control, power and manipulation.
Featuring Kirsty Averton (Our Girl) and Nicky Henson (Vera Drake), it delves into one woman’s battle for sanity in the face of extreme psychological pressure.
Holly Kane is a 29-year-old experimental psychologist whose determined research into mind-control techniques is driven by a fear of insanity. In her quest to control her unconscious thoughts, Holly is experimenting with drug-fuelled subliminal programming when two very different men come into her life. She is swept off her feet by Dennis Macintyre, a handsome 35-year-old who seems to be impulsive and vulnerable but who conceals a background in the security services. Meanwhile, her career gets a much-needed boost from Marvin Greenslade, a celebrated 73-year-old psychologist who uses his power and influence to facilitate the clinical trials that will legitimise Holly’s experiments. But Marvin hasn’t told Holly the complete truth either...
When Holly steps up her experiments on herself with more sophisticated equipment and more powerful drugs, she descends into paranoia and madness...
Tom said: “I started developing the idea with my dad Mick. He was a copywriter and had been writing adverts for years and had also been writing screenplays but had never had any made. But this was the one that interested me most. He had been working on it for about 15 years and it had gone through so many drafts, and I made him do about another 15 drafts, but for me it worked… and the film just had to be shot in Brighton. I liked the idea of having a thriller that wasn’t set in London, a thriller that was set in Brighton.
“I think we did this in November 2015. We started pre-production over the summer, and then it was a crazy shoot because the script takes place in so many different locations. We had 17 days to shoot it and we had something like 68 locations. It was fun, but it was very, very long days. Just moving a film from one place to another three times a day was insane. I would never do that again, but it was great to be in Brighton. And it is not just the pier and the beach. We used all the nooks and crannies of Brighton as well. Brighton has got so much that is so varied within quite a small space. You have got the top of the pier which is all full of tourists, but we shot a scene underneath it which is so different.
“And also local businesses were so friendly and willing to help us out with other locations. We got to shoot in all these locations that we would not have been able to use otherwise.”
Tom is delighted with the results: “There are always things you would do to improve something. I watched it recently, and there are certain things I would change but mostly those are things that we did because of not having enough money or enough time. I think the characters are strong and original and that it is a topic that you don’t hear much about.”