Lancashire Times
A Voice of the North
7:03 PM 14th October 2020

Young Lancashire Film Maker Continues To Win International Awards

Lockdown couldn’t keep prolific filmmaker and MetFilm School graduate Ryan J Smith down. At just 22 years old, Ryan is continuing to make a name for himself in the film industry.

He’s already multi-award winning, thanks to his critically acclaimed music documentary – Red Light Solo – a tour to the Amsterdam Jazz Scene and now he’s en-route to similar success with his new short, The Bull and The Bear.

The Bull and The Bear has been entered into several film festivals and is causing quite a stir

Ryan said:
“I'm happy people are responding to my movie and I think the business as a whole should be optimistic for the future.

“People will always want to escape from reality with a good story, whether it's via streaming services or physical cinemas. I think it's a case now of keeping the production line going and distributing new content that people want to see.

“I think holding-fire on new releases will prove to be irreversibly damaging and I'd encourage others in the business to strike now whilst audiences are hungry for new material."

Ryan’s film was:

Winner Best Quarantine Film, Nominated for Best Director and Best Actor – and Jury Prize at the Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards.
Semi-Finalist: Sweden Film Awards
Official Selection: Lift-Off Sessions

Ryan explains:
“I was learning about the stock market before the Covid-19 lockdown, I was curious about the ruthlessness around corporate acquisitions and mergers, especially surrounding financial crashes and the enormous power of some global companies.

“I wanted to do something around this theme, and I wanted it to be a thriller.

“So, when the pandemic hit us and the world’s stock markets and financial institutions went into a spin, the idea suddenly had proper legs and I had to write it down, very quickly I had a script.”

The Bull and The Bear is short, sharp and shocking. It absolutely leaves you wanting more, especially when the film doesn’t end like you think it will.

Ryan said:
“When you’re young and in education you seem to be constantly visited in school by the emergency services, telling you what felt like horror stories around fire – what could happen when technology overheated; burning appliances and dodgy socket extensions. And, the darker side of the internet.

“These visits, and the stories we heard were enough to keep us awake nights, wondering whether the home smoke alarm had been tested and whether that bit of blu-tack you’d put on your PC’s camera was really protecting you from prying eyes.

“I wanted to marry these everyday fears which many of us have, together into the film – and this familiarity really adds to the threat – I mean, who isn’t concerned about the dark web?

Ryan sent his script over to his good friend and actor Mitchell Fisher. Ryan met Mitch at a casting session while he was studying at MetFilm school and they’ve worked together on a few projects over the past couple of years.

“I sent Mitch the script and 24hours later, he came back saying ‘I know exactly what to do with it, how to play it. And then we got cracking and made the film.”

The actual time Ryan spent filming the five-minute short adds up to about forty minutes – there are only four pages of script.

“Technically it was quite easy to shoot, but editing it was a challenge. I wanted the film to be quite grainy, have texture but I wanted the format to be familiar – we’ve all used different platforms to keep in touch over lockdown, so I decided to use FaceTime. It gave me just what I was looking for.”

Ryan may be young, but he has been making films since he was just eight years old. He was accepted to the internationally acclaimed MetFilm school, to study the BA Practical Filmmaking when he was just 17 years old and he graduated in 2018.