I heard about Showreel Share Day a few years ago and was eager to be involved. I had posted my own reel and then spent the day watching others, commenting and sharing. The day is very positive and there is a real loving community feel about it. I genuinely never gave a second thought about any work coming from it…
Showreel 2020 pic.twitter.com/6AqXBNOAvo
— Mark McKirdy (@markmckirdy) April 3, 2020
Kate Davies-Speaker: Showreel Share Day Founder
A few days later, I received a direct message from Kate Davies-Speak, the founder of #ShowreelShareDay. A friend of hers, Christopher Lombard, had written a great script, The Barge People (2018), which was being made into a feature film. Kate was playing the lead, but she was also helping the casting department. She had watched my reel through the SSD hashtag and asked me to audition. It all moved pretty quickly from there. I went from sharing my reel to getting ready for my first take working alongside the founder herself within three weeks – it was all pretty surreal. Kate is one of the most genuinely kind people I’ve met, she is always helping and promoting fellow actors and SSD is a prime example of that. It was such a privilege to work with her.
— Eliza Leonard (@RoseSpiderLize) April 3, 2020
The film was directed by Dark Temple Films’ Charlie Steeds and it had a small cast of about 13. We stayed on site for the duration and all became a little family.
Since filming in 2017, The Barge People (2018) has been bought by Raven Banner Entertainment and has since gone on to have its premiere in Leicester Square at FrightFest, released on DVD in Germany as Mutant River, released on DVD and Blu-Ray through RLJ Entertainment in America and currently streams on Shudder. There are also whispers of a UK release coming this year. It’s all been quite overwhelming!
Since The Barge People (2018), I have gone on to work with Charlie [Steeds] on two other features that he wrote and directed. Vampire Virus (2020), which is available through Amazon Prime, and A Werewolf In England (2020) which was released on DVD through High Fliers Films and streams on Amazon Prime.
Charlie was recently named as Empire magazine’s ‘Cult Hero of the Month’. I’m so grateful to be able to call him a friend and to be part of the ever growing Dark Temple family.
I’ve kept in touch with all of the cast and recently got the chance to work with Makenna Guyler again. Makenna was producing a short with Buddy Box Films that would be adapted into a feature. We filmed over two days in London, with the Brexit march as our backdrop. A truly unique experience. Unfortunately, like many projects, Covid has put the feature on hold.
Choosing a career in the arts can be so daunting, but it is also so rewarding. There are many ups and many downs and now more than ever we really need to stick together. Showreel Share Day is such an uplifting, positive experience. I love my acting community and SSD is a real example of that love and support. I’ll be glued to my computer this year, watching countless reels and doing all I can to share and support.
Editor: Keren Davies
Second Editor & Artwork: Richard Williams
Special Thanks: Mark McKirdy, Kate Davies-Speak, Aiysha Jebali