Clapton filmmaker’s gritty film explores the covert world of gang safecrackers

Mark Abraham

Mark Abraham - Credit: Archant

A Clapton filmmaker is set to premiere his first feature film, a star-studded gangster drama, which has been praised for its complex characters.

In The Blood poster

In The Blood poster - Credit: Archant

Mark Abraham, 39, of Colenso Road, will be unveiling his latest project, In the Blood, at the Rio Cinema, Kingsland High Street, on Saturday.

He said: “I wanted to make a British crime thriller that had a little bit more depth to it. I feel that in the nineties and noughties, thrillers are just tough men fighting, but In the Blood is about father-son relationships, redemptions, a kid growing up and heroin addiction. I wanted to do more of a European style film.”

Joe Cole (Skins, Peaky Blinders) portrays Johnny, the junkie grandson of a celebrated Peterman – or safecracker – whose grandfather’s death leaves him the only person left alive able to open a safe for a group of violent gangsters.

Kidnapped and imprisoned in an isolated farmhouse, Johnny is plagued by ghosts of his guilty past as withdrawal sets in – while safecracking couldn’t be further from his mind.

Joe Cole plays the safebreaker

Joe Cole plays the safebreaker - Credit: Archant

But as tensions build up to boiling point, it is only a matter of time before he must take a life-changing step.

Other big names include Phil Davis (Quadrophenia, Vera Drake) and Alison Steadman (Shirley Valentine, Secrets & Lies).

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Mark said he tried to make the film as realistic as possible – even getting a team of professional safecrackers all the way from the Netherlands to the set, with 1.25 tonne safe in tow.

He said: “We just tried to shoot what was real in a cinematic way rather than the other way around. Obviously money and time restraints also dictated, but I didn’t want the drug-taking scenes to be glorified.

“I wanted to do a safe-cracking scene and wanted it to be really realistic. I reached out to this organisation online to ask them if they knew anyone in England but they wanted to do it themselves. They brought a safe all the way over and got it into this basement – it’s still there – it weighed about 1.25 tonnes but they dropped it in on ropes and pullies and did the scene.

“I think it worked really well. It was pretty much how you would actually do it.”

Although filmmaking is a passion for Mark, the process was not completely free of challenges.

Despite shooting the film in just 18 days, the entire process took five years to complete.

He said: “Everyone says we did well getting it done in five years. Having your first movie completed in that time is a monumental task.

“Raising the money was difficult – we did crowd sourcing, used government schemes and built a business plan.

“Getting the actors as well when you haven’t got it funded is difficult and it was difficult to get funding without actors to do it, so it was a bit of a catch 22.”

But Mark is already working on his second film, a spy thriller set in London.

He said: “When I was younger I used to watch movies and think, I could do better than that. It was bad movies made me want to do it more than good movies.”

The film is also screening at Hackney Picturehouse on May 1 and 2 and has been snapped up for Rooftop Cinema’s summer programme.

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