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English couple JJ Barnes and Jonathan McKinney made a low budget indie film with their mates, Hollowhood, before being picked up for international distribution by Scooter P Entertainment.
JJ Barnes And Jonathan McKinney
In 2019, JJ Barnes (37) and Jonathan McKinney (40), decided to make a movie. The couple from Stafford in England admitted to BBC Radio Stoke that they had no money to hire actors or locations, so contacted their friends and family to call in favours, offering long hours for no money, and were amazed when so many agreed. Soon, they had a full cast of willing actors, and a few pubs and spaces offering to let them film for free.
From humble beginnings, originally thought up on a bus journey, JJ and Jonathan lived a dream in 2020 when they began filming the feature film, Hollowhood, prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The couple have shared how their love of films and story is what brought them together, as two single parents, in 2014. Since then, the couple founded Siren Stories production company, and have worked with multiple authors and musicians to release books and music, prior to making their first feature film, Hollowhood, in 2020.
Hollowhood follows estranged couple Penny Jones and Olivia Harkness on a weekend away with friends for Halloween. At first, the friends are focused on drinking and dancing, and Penny and Olivia are rekindling their romance. However, when a strange man arrives to tell them they’re all going to die if they don’t leave soon, things start to change. Creepy locals are watching them, friends are going missing, and Penny and Olivia aren’t sure if they’ll even survive.
JJ and Jonathan began filming Hollowhood in 2020, prior to lockdown, and finished in the summer of 2021 when lockdown ended. JJ edited the film with the software she had previously used for writing advice YouTube videos, and Jonathan scored it, using his experience as a musician. Together, they also worked with singers and bands to create a diverse soundtrack to accompany the film, which can be streamed on Spotify and other platforms.
Distribution With Scooter P Entertainment
Originally, JJ and Jonathan released Hollowhood to the Siren Stories YouTube channel. The film was watched and enjoyed by a small but loyal audience, and they assumed that it would go no further.
However, when the Scooter P Entertainment team got in touch to say they believed Hollowhood has potential to go further, JJ and Jonathan were amazed. Their little film was picked up by an American distributor, and had the potential to sell. They shared their excitement at this news on their YouTube Channel:
Scooter P Entertainment found homes for Hollowhood across multiple streaming platforms around the world, with the potential for more to come. Now the film made by an English couple and their friends in the small town of Stafford is being watched by audiences around the world.
JJ and Jonathan hope that their story will inspire others to follow their dreams. They say nobody expected people in their situation to be able to achieve what they have, but if they can, so can other people.
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