Mike Wozniak and Aidan Casey star in Exmouth filmmaker’s spooky new short

PUBLISHED: 13:38 20 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:14 20 June 2018

Exmouth College teacher and film maker John Panton (middle) with some of his media students Joe Pearcey,Dan Evans,Oli Squires and head of Media Tom Stanier. Ref exe 24 18TI 5582. Picture: Terry Ife

Exmouth College teacher and film maker John Panton (middle) with some of his media students Joe Pearcey,Dan Evans,Oli Squires and head of Media Tom Stanier. Ref exe 24 18TI 5582. Picture: Terry Ife

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An Exmouth filmmaker has revealed how ‘no money’ has not halted high-profile talent getting on board with his latest short – a creepy ghost story.

From left to right, actors Mike Wozniak and Alex Winters, with creator od Surveyor John Panton and the film's star Aidan Casey. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.From left to right, actors Mike Wozniak and Alex Winters, with creator od Surveyor John Panton and the film's star Aidan Casey. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.

Exmouth Community College teacher and filmmaker, John Panton, last week released Surveyor, a spooky film featuring familiar faces from TV and soundtrack by a celebrated composer.

But far from having a big budget, John says a good script, effective use of social media and a bit of ‘cheekiness’ can be far more important.

He said: “You just have to be really honest with people. You say, ‘I have got no money, but have got a reasonably decent script’.”

Previous projects by John’s production company, Meat Bingo, which have attracted top talent, include Sleigh, starring Nigel Planer and Matt Berry and Valentina’s Dream, starring Bafta-winning actress Rebecca Front.

John said he has largely used Twitter to reach out to others in the industry, adding: “It’s worth being cheeky and asking; I was surprised that most people I have asked have said ‘yes’.

“It’s their generosity, and also they want to try something different and a new challenge.”

Surveyor stars Mike Wozniak (C4’s Man Down) and Alex Winters (CBeebies), who join John’s regular collaborators, Aidan Casey (Sleigh) and Katie Villa (Line Signal).

The short’s eerie score was composed by Nick Harvey, known for the Ross Kemp: Extreme World and Hunted television series’ soudtracks.

A member of the film crew, on the set of Surveyor, at Poltimore House. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.A member of the film crew, on the set of Surveyor, at Poltimore House. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.

Former Exmouth Community College student, Aidan, plays the surveyor in question; who realises the house he’s working in may not be as derelict as initially thought.

As well as starring a local actor, some of John’s students also form part of his behind-the-scenes crew.

In fact, it was John’s role as a teacher which inspired him to make films in the first place.

He said: “There’s only so many times you can stand at the front of a class and say, ‘this is what a close-up looks like, this is what a long shot looks like’.

Actors Alex Winters, left, and Aidan Casey, on the set of new film Surveyor. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.Actors Alex Winters, left, and Aidan Casey, on the set of new film Surveyor. Picture by Alasdair McCombe.

“Now I can show them something I have made and I hope it makes it more interesting for them.

“I get to have a huge amount of fun, but it’s also nice to know that it actually helps people; it gives students some real work experience and it means they get a credit on a real project.”

Furthermore, filming in historically important locations around Devon is a running theme in John’s films – particularly amenities which have been lost to the community.

For example, Line Signal was filmed on a disused Devon railway line and Surveyor at Poltimore House, a ‘beautiful but incredibly dilapidated’ mansion, in Broadclyst.

Exmouth College teacher and film maker John Panton with some of his media students. Ref exe 24 18TI 5593. Picture: Terry IfeExmouth College teacher and film maker John Panton with some of his media students. Ref exe 24 18TI 5593. Picture: Terry Ife

John said: “It used to be a hospital; hip replacement surgery was pioneered there and one of my student’s parents used to work there as doctors. We actually filmed in the old operating theatre, so the setting, in a sense, dictated the story.”

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