Monday, 18 May 2015

Cuddling A Monster Review

Scrolling through Facebook this morning, I came across a review of the Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Screening via Triskelle Pictures (2nd place winners)...

Fck Ldn (love the name) said the following about my film: 

"The overall winner was Cuddling a Monster by Mark Duggan Films, in which a young girl clings to the titular toy to help her through her parents’ divorce. I must say, this one didn’t really make an impact during my initial viewing – most probably because it was sandwiched between much louder and more ridiculous fare. But I’ve since watched it again, and I’m struck by its elegance and economy. 

We’re presented with a series of beautifully filmed, meticulously directed scenes, and we’re left to draw our own conclusions from what little we see. It’s worlds apart from the rest of the entries, which were all defined by their direct approach to storytelling. And when you throw in a number of convincing performances, it really does feel like the best film won."

I'm so moved by the writers words ("beautifully filmed, meticulously directed scenes, and we’re left to draw our own conclusions from what little we see") and it makes me feel proud of what I've managed to accomplish with both 'Cuddling A Monster' and the extended/director's cut 'Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'. 

It's also refreshing to hear someone speak openly about the fact that, on first viewing, the short didn't do much for him and it required a second viewing to fully appreciate the film. Believe it or not, I'm actually taking this comment as the ultimate compliment, as it reminded me of a conversation I had just last week with director Erik Knudsen. We were discussing the rough cut of my next short, 'The Rabbit', and Erik stated that he believes a good film is one that reveals itself over repeat viewings…now I'm not saying that Cuddling A Monster is "my masterpiece" but I do feel that I've managed to tap into something timeless and universal with the short, which is always the ultimate goal for me as a filmmaker/storyteller.

Anyway, thanks to Fck Ldn and writer Elliot Davies for his kind words…they are very much appreciated!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

24 Hour Trilogy

When producing a short film, I like to create work that can go on to form part of a larger series - whether that be a series connected by a theme (e.g. "Isolation") or a series about a single character (e.g."The Longing Trilogy") - and so I'm pleased to be able to post all three films from my "24 Hour Trilogy". The three films revolve a female character played by Marie Holliday

The series comprises of: 

Monday, 11 May 2015

24 Hour Film…director's cut

And here is the full cut of my 24 hour film, titled 'Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'

Results...Five Lamps 24 Hour Challenge

So last night I attended the screening and results for the 2015 Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Challenge…and I'm so pleased to announce that I won! 

1st place - Mark Duggan Films "Cuddling A Monster"
2nd place - Triskelle Pictures "The Dress"
3rd place - MonoStereo Productions "Authentic"

I must say I was pretty shocked by the result - I never expected to win, especially as I wasn't quite sure what I'd submitted after finishing the edit early last Sunday morning. It went right down to the wire - at 3am I realised that I'd shot a film that was far too long to enter so I quickly had to figure out a new way to tell that story in 3 minutes, which somehow I managed to do! I'm doubly pleased as I now have two versions of the film - both have their own merits and, I believe, work in their own right... 

I'd just like to congratulate everyone who submitted and the runners up…well done to all! It's tough to make a film in 24 hours.  

Thanks to everyone who helped me make the film a reality - Marie Holliday, Lily Holliday, Alex Gilbert (my student at Burton College from 2009-2012 and now a filmmaker in his own right), Ian Hudd, Lindsay Blackshaw, Mike Duggan, Alan Osborne, Terry Corbett, Lisa Baldwin and my wonderful mother, Susan Draczuk.

Picture by Five Lamps Films
Before the screening
In shock
I'm happy really - just in shock...
Managed a smile here...
Alex Gilbert with the award
Ian Hudd, my behind the scenes photographer
With the award
My name on the big screen
Picture by Five Lamps Films
Sometimes it helps to cuddle a monster
And here is the prze-winning film…

Thursday, 7 May 2015

24 Hour Film

Below are some stills from the 24 hour film I shot for the Five Lamps Films competition in Derby (2nd May). The film stars Marie Holliday and her daughter, Lily.

The version submitted for the competition is 3 minutes long (titled 'Cuddling A Monster') and will screen at Quad, Derby, this Sunday. I'll make this cut available online but it is quite a lot shorter than my preferred version of the film ('Ride Out The Wave or: Cuddling A Monster'), which I intend to release this weekend. I view the longer cut as the culmination of a trilogy (with Windowpane & Turning) as it picks up on themes and ideas set up in the previous two films. 

Viewing the longer version of the film on the editing timeline has made me wonder how I managed to shoot so many scenes/sequences in just 12 hours! I digress…anyway, both cuts will be online this coming weekend so please check back in. 

Monday, 27 April 2015

Five Lamps: 24 Hour Challenge - Round 2

This Saturday I will be taking part in the Five Lamps Films 24 Hour Challenge, a competition which closes the Derby Film Festival.

Last year (May 2014) I came third in the competition with a short titled 'Windowpane', a film that has since been screened at the London Short Film Festival. I very much enjoyed the challenge of completing a film in 24 hours and so, in October 2014, I also took part in the Colchester Film Festival 60 Hour Challenge.

My short this weekend will once again star the brilliant Marie Holliday and so the film will, therefore, complete a trilogy featuring the actress...I hope the outcome will be as as successful as my previous two efforts!

The competition entries for the 2015 24 Hour Challenge will be screened at the Quad in Derby on May 10th.

Friday, 24 April 2015

One Day Films Blog

A post about The Rabbit over on the One Day Films blog:

Monday, 20 April 2015

Raven Production Scrapbook

One Day Films have released a 'Production Scrapbook' for The Raven on the Jetty, which I worked on as the Assistant Director, Cinematographer and Assistant Editor. Link:

One Day Films: "This is a unique book in which the story of The Raven On The Jetty is told scene by scene with parts of the director’s personal storyboard and notes, production stills of the behind the scenes activities during shooting and stills from the film. Also included, is the complete screenplay and credits of the film, as well as a DVD of the complete film. The book consists of 156 colour pages in 200 x 250 mm hardback. 

There are two versions of the book available: A Hand Signed and Numbered Limited Edition by the writer and director, Erik Knudsen in 100 copies only; or the Regular Unsigned and Unnumbered version of the book. The limited edition version sells for £49.50 (or equivalent in other available currencies) and the regular version sells for £39.50 (or equivalent in available other currencies)."

Friday, 17 April 2015

The Rabbit - Behind the Scenes

Below are some behind the scenes stills from The Rabbit starring Toni Sherwood-Pearce and Harris Matthews. Shooting in a car is very difficult but, fortunately, the equipment I used made the shoot far easier than it might have been. 

The film was primarily shot on GoPro cameras, which allowed me to direct from the backseat of the car - I could watch the footage on my iPhone or iPad via the GoPro app. 

I recorded sound with Rode clip mics that recorded sound directly onto my iPhone/iPad - this meant that the actors had the added responsibility of hitting record and attaching their mics before each scene.

Test shoot with Harris Matthews
Toni and Harris getting ready for a scene
Directing on Day 1
Enjoying the shoot
Harris sets up the camera
Day 3
Laughing on Day 3
Toni sets up the camera
As ever, I'll keep you updated with the progress of the film...

Monday, 13 April 2015

The Rabbit: Vlog 2

Thursday, 19 March 2015


I've recently created an Instagram account (markdugganfilms) and I'm very much enjoying sharing images that I have taken on my iPhone.

Below are a few examples...
A photo posted by Mark (@markdugganfilms) on
A photo posted by Mark (@markdugganfilms) on
A photo posted by Mark (@markdugganfilms) on

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Afterdown: Bitter End

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Rabbit...One Day Films

Erik Knudsen has written a blog post about The Rabbit over at onedayfilms.com

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


Monday, 23 February 2015

Announcement: The Rabbit

In 2015 I will be directing a short film which will be distributed by One Day Films. The project is called The Rabbit, based on a script written by Erik Knudsen.

As I did on The Raven On The Jetty, I will be documenting the making of the short film via informal Video Blogs: Vlog 1 sees Erik Knudsen (dir. The Raven on the Jetty) discussing the origins of the script and why he has invited me on board to direct the project for One Day Films (

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Not much for talking

So I heard an interview with a song writer over the Christmas period and I wanted to share a quote that completely moved me and resonated with my approach to filmmaking.

Interviewer: "Do you ever think you've been too honest with your lyrics?" 

Singer: "Do you?…At times I probably say a little too much but thats because I don't really say much in person. So, a lot of the time, I have to tell people through song how I'm feeling"

Image by Marie Holliday

Thursday, 11 December 2014

London Short Film Festival 2015

The programme for the 2015 London Short Film Festival has been released and I'm pleased to announce that Windowpane will be screened in the 'Father' category.

Screening - Monday 12th January (9pm) at Hackney Picture House.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Facebook page...

Check out my page on Facebook -

Monday, 8 December 2014

Weekend viewing...


First up was St. Vincent. Slightly manipulative and sentimental but it worked for me! The ending really moved me...

A tense, claustrophobic thriller; real edge-of-your-seat stuff! Good direction from Kevin Macdonald and a great performance from Jude Law (even with his slightly distracting Scottish accent)...

Jennifer Lawrence
Really enjoyed this! A pleasant surprise after the less than impressive Catching Fire. Jennifer Lawrence is magnetic and quite a singer too (


The heartbreaking story of Alan Turing. An enjoyable film with a touching performance from Benedict Cumberbatch.

Loved this! I need more time to digest it but it may well make my 'films of the year' list. Some beautiful moments; made me reflect on the world in which we're currently living…

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Best of 2014…

Month by month, these are the films I enjoyed the most this year…



The Lego Movie









My top 3? It's a tough one; I was particularly fond of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Her, Apes, Begin Again and Blue Ruin.

However, my top 3 is as follows:

3. Nightcrawler 
2. Gone Girl 
1. Interstellar…a film that moved me in ways that very few films ever do.