Graduate releases sci-fi short after hugely successful festival run

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Dale Driver, who graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Media Production this year, has toured film festivals in the US over the last two months with his debut work Citizen, a stark science-fiction short which follows the fraught relationship between two astronauts stranded aboard a damaged space vessel. With their lives endangered and with a difficult decision to make, it becomes apparent that their mission is not what it seems.

Citizen – Official Trailer from Dale Driver on Vimeo.

After screening the film as part of the university degree show earlier this year, the 31 year old undertook his own publicity and promotion campaign, finding receptive festival audiences in europe and the states with official selections at Cannes Short Film Festival, ITSA Film Festival, Highway 61 Film Festival, BraunSchweig International Film Festival, Fargo Fantastic Film Festival, Geek Short Film Festival, Sir Charlie Darwin Film Festival, Reel East Film Festivals and Arts & Algorithms amongst others.

A tense, claustrophobic thriller influenced visually by seminal sci-fi feature Alien with themes reminiscent of the classic TV series The Twilight Zone, Citizen wowed stateside audiences and critics alike. The film was shortlisted for a number of awards and secured the runner-up slot film in the Best Sci-Fi Film category at the fifth annual ITSA Film Festival in California in November.

Having also shown Citizen in Europe, Dale secured a slot on Sky’s My Channel where Citizen featured on the dedicated film programme My Cine Shorts. He is now making the 15 minute feature available on YouTube and Vimeo for online audiences to enjoy.

The project has been something of a labour of love for Dale. An avid film buff and sci-fi fanatic from an early age, he started out as a sheet metal worker after leaving school at 16 to take up an apprenticeship with a local firm. But after 11 years in the business, during which time he was making his own short films on the side, Dale left to pursue his dreams of becoming a full-time movie maker.

Enrolling on the media production course at Coventry University, he honed his craft during his three years there which culminated in the production of Citizen for his final year degree project. As well as writing the screenplay Dale also built the set, using his own money and relying on the engineering skills he acquired as a sheet metal worker.

By calling in favours from contacts he’d made in the workplace Dale also managed to source a decommissioned stormer tank, the interior of which provided the spaceship cockpit shots for the film.

Having invested so much in the venture and buoyed by the positive feedback from his US tour, Dale is now excited at the prospect of making Citizen available to wider audiences.

He said:

Making Citizen is the culmination of a lifelong dream for me. It’s been hard work and I’ve made a lot of sacrifices but it’s all been worthwhile. I was blown away by the reception I received from audiences in America when I screened the film there.

Getting your work out there is a challenge for any up and coming film maker. Cinema’s a hugely competitive arena and of course it’s a visual medium so it’s obviously important that as many people as possible see your work. With Citizen now available online and having been picked up by My Channel on Sky I’m hopeful the film will develop a new following.

Dale has now up established his own commercial and corporate film company, Blue Ridge Films, with creative partners in the West Midlands and is now working on another sci-fi drama, which he is due to begin shooting in February next year.

Citizen is available to view on Vimeo and YouTube from today, Monday 1 December. More information about Citizen is available on the film’s official website www.citizenfilm.co.uk.

For further press information, please contact Mark Farnan, Coventry University, on 024 7765 8245 or email mark.farnan@coventry.ac.uk.

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