Shot in the Sussex city of Brighton and Hove, The Holly Kane Experiment is a film about the battle between body and mind. Holly, a woman in fear of madness, searches desperately for control between two men and realises that the heart may be a stronger attraction.
I sat down with Tom Sands (Director) and Kirsty Averton (Holly) to discuss the film on set in Brighton.
You’ve chosen to film in Brighton. What was it that attracted you to this location?
T.S. – I lived in Brighton for five years and Brighton has always been my spiritual home. The reason I wanted to shoot a film here was because when you see Brighton in the films or on T.V, it’s always the pier or the lanes and I don’t think you really get to see anything else. I wanted to show the real Brighton, the back streets, the marina and the pier, but under it!
The main theme of The Holly Kane Experiment is control. What was it that attracted you to this complicated theme and what kind of research did that involve?
T.S. – The premise of the film is about mind control and that we’re all being controlled all of the time and that the only thing you can truly trust are your feelings. There are so many forces acting within your mind in the present world.
K.A. – Well, aside from the film, a big attraction was that the story had a lead female role, which isn’t around enough in film. Control is a huge thing for Holly personally as she struggles with it herself. One of the main things that contributed to her issues with control was to do with her sister who was a sectioned schizophrenic. I got a book on schizophrenia called January First. It’s written by a father whose daughter has schizophrenia and it’s harrowing, very intense. I got a huge amount from the book and it helped me get my head around it and how it would have affected Holly.
As Holly, how tricky is it to influence all of her past into each scene?
K.A. – It’s tricky! There’s a lot of background to it and me and Tom had many chats about her history and her issues. It’s important however to get the right balance, where it isn’t too dramatic because I don’t think that is how it is. If someone is struggling with something, they aren’t necessarily going to appear crazy. It’s delicate and it’s putting a lot of trust into Tom and to give me feedback on my performance.
Mick Sands has been credited as the writer. There has to be a relation?
T.S. – Mick is my Dad. He used to be a copywriter and a screenwriter for many years, so when I was growing up, he introduced me to film. We’ve already made one film together and this will be our second. We get on really well together and it’s easier for me because I can take a red pen to the script and not feel too bad about it!
It’s been noted that Holly’s technique of control is fact, which is objective. As we know, mind control through history has been the manipulation of that and the appeal to emotion and the subjective. Could you expand on that without giving too much away?
T.S. – Whether or not this combination works or not is unknown, that is a fictional part of it, separately all of the techniques have been used before. Essentially the technique revolves around getting into a meditative state by lying in a float tank, using drugs to access the unconscious and then using brainwave entrainment to slow the brainwaves down to a certain frequency.
A subliminal message is then sped up and looped so that it matches the same frequency. So in layman’s terms, you open up all of these gateways and then you put in your subliminal message. So for example if you have had 10,000 repetitions within that state, then that message soon becomes your reality and it moulds who you are and how you act. I hope I didn’t lose you!
The film’s basis feels like a love-triangle. What do you think makes this particular one interesting and unique?
T.S. – That’s an easy one! Holly meets Dennis and has an immediate physical attraction. Holly then meets Marvin, which starts out as a professional relationship, Marvin then uses Holly’s technique against her and implants the thought, “I want Marvin sexually”, so he brainwashes her essentially. So when they actually have sex, in her head she wants it, but not in her body, so it functions the same as a rape scene for the audience. So that’s what makes it unique….
K.A. – I suppose it is in a way, it’s funny because I’ve never really thought of it like that. Dennis and Marvin are very different and the concept of the film is really dark. It’s about mind control but it’s also about somebody who is working with their own issues with control.
As I frantically search for the exit doors, one last question: What do you expect to do with the film after completion?
T.S. – Three stages. The first is to find a major distributor, I’d like to see the film do a limited theatre run and then finally onto DVD and on demand.
The Holly Kane Experiment is set for release early in 2016 and for more information on the film visit their Facebook