Short Film: Book Lovers
Lisa started out writing comedy and drama for TV/Radio in the UK; her short films have been screened at the London Film Festival and at European festivals. With her own production company, Firefly Film, Video Production Brighton, she also makes short documentaries for the public sector. She graduated from Salford University with an MA in TV and Radio Scriptwriting, was a lecturer at Screen and Film School, Brighton and currently teaches scriptwriting alongside playwright, Sara Clifford, with their company Scriptease.
Of the inspiration behind the film, Lisa says:
‘Many years ago, when I first came to Brighton, in the 90’s, I used to frequent a second-hand bookshop on Queens Road, just down from the station. Wandering through this dusty, labyrinthine shop, stacked floor to ceiling with dusty old tomes, I became intrigued by the bookseller who stood, heron-like, in the doorway. He would puff endlessly on French cigarettes: whose smoke would halo around him, suffused with light from the world outside.
‘What was intriguing (or was it beckoning?) was this: when other customers came inside and requested certain books he would simply say ‘no’ and they left, bemused and empty handed. I was young and although slightly intimidated, I had an overactive imagination, and I began to wonder why. And so, almost to explain it to myself I came up with this story - which I wrote as a screenplay. Years later I was a lecturer at Screen and Film School, Brighton and I was lucky enough to have some very talented student filmmakers around me (in particular my producer James Honess) and together we made this film in 2018.
‘Of course, by now, the original Bookseller (and his shop) had long gone but we found another location, ‘Raining Books’ on Trafalgar street whose atmosphere matched that of the original shop. It was here, with a wonderful cast and crew and some very fine Brighton-based actors, including Gary Sefton from TrueStory, we recreated my story over the course of a four-day shoot, and thus ‘Booklovers’, a short horror film, was born.
‘Now, many secondhand Bookshops are disappearing, so this film is in some ways an homage to the past. I never really knew why the bookseller behaved as he did - but it was enormous fun, scaring myself and others as to his real reasons and begs the question: had I made a lucky escape?’
Booklovers was screened in 2020 as part of the CineCity Festival, Brighton and as part of Hastings Rocks Film Festival 2022.