City location for low-budget film noire

George Telfer  in Innocent Crimes, written and directed by Jonathan Green
George Telfer in Innocent Crimes, written and directed by Jonathan Green

AFTER being shown at film festivals in America and recently at at the Bradford International Film Festival, a feature film written, produced and directed by Sheffield film-maker Jonathan Green will have its first Sheffield screening at the Showroom Cinema on Sunday.

Innocent Crimes, a low-budget film noir about a shy accountant drawn into a criminal underworld by a mysterious stranger, was shot on location in York and Sheffield.

He and fellow film production graduate from York St John’s University Chris Hees formed Carpathian Films and asked 10 people to chip in £10,000 each to finance it.

“It was made for £10,000 and we had to call in a lot of favours such as getting the actors to perform for only expenses,” says Green. We filmed the exteriors in York where the historic buildings give it a specific look and shot the interiors in people’s houses around Dore and Totley where I live.”

It was shot in black and white to emulate the style and mood of 1940s Hollywood film noir but has a contemporary setting, though an anachronistic one with older cars, fashions and a “brick” mobile phone.

“I wanted to make it seem different, to have the characters existing in a kind of no man’s land where people are stuck in a strange world,” explains Green.

The film centres on the relationship between mummy’s boy Farley and charismatic, dangerous criminal Charles Wells, a character created specifically for actor George Telfer.

“I used to work at the Pomegranate Theatre in Chesterfield and met George when he was in panto and saw he had a great range,” says the writer-director. “For the part of Farley I chose Michael Longhi because he has a young face which goes with being naive but also hint of what he is capable of. Playing Mildred (the mother), Kate Layden, who was in the Full Monty, is another who has a great range.”

Carpathian Films are in discussions to secure an arthouse release for Innocent Crimes before releasing it on DVD.

Meanwhile Jonathan Green aims to build up his experience by working on other people’s films such as a recent stint on the new Pirates of the Caribbean film.

Now 24, Green has been learning since he won a place at the New York Film Academy when he was 16.

“I saw The Godfather when I was 11 and from then on knew that was what I wanted to do. I used to use my dad’s video camera in the days where there was no editing facility. I was always recording things with my friends, making zombie films in the park. Hopefully we have matured since then,” he laughs.