St Albans independent filmmaker’s world premier

Uppili Raghavachari

Uppili Raghavachari - Credit: Archant

A successful independent St Albans film-maker made his world premier in London this week, with a futuristic Shakespearean short movie.

Genesis Cinema in Mile End showed co-writer Uppili Raghavachari’s 15 minute sci-fi version of Romeo and Juliet, called Death Lies on Her, to about 150 people on April 20.

Although it has been privately viewed before, this is the first time it was shown to the public - Uppili described the genre as cinema fantastique, a mix between Shakespeare and Blade Runner.

The film, which stars Chris Edgerley and Ellie Tanner, was shown alongside four other shorts on the same night.

It was recently declared the fourth Best Sci-fi Film in the International Horror Hotel Awards and has been accepted to Cannes Short Film Corner 2017.

Uppili had to take nine months out of work, as a senior manager at Deloitte, to produce, direct and co-write this film with another St Albans local, Afzaal Mauthoor.

Funding for first-time film-makers is difficult to source, and Uppili has had to finance the £25,000 venture himself.

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Uppili, who went to Beaumont School and has lived in St Albans ever since he was three years old, described the screening as “huge”.

He said: “It’s a genre blend between fantasy, sci-fi, and dark stuff like horror.

“I used to do a lot of writing as a kid and I have a box full of stories I have written still, but I have always been fascinated with movies.

“In my university days I took to watching a lot of films and I got more into the visual side of storytelling.” He described an epiphany moment he experienced in 2009 while holidaying in India - a poor young boy returned his valuable silver ring to him after it had been seemingly lost forever in the deep ocean.

From that point onwards Uppili felt his “life has been all about working in an office” so far, but he wanted that to change.

So he set up a mentoring programme for emerging filmmaking talent, founded a private group of altruistic people called the Philanthropy Club, and is just about to start a new venture to bring young filmmakers into contact with corporations to enable their careers.