Dark Rooms

Two survivors search for meaning after the fall of civilisation.

Tom and Emily are survivors of a viral epidemic that swept the globe, gifted with immunity. They haven't encountered anyone else in a long, long time. Emily is struggling to find a reason to keep going. Tom isn't ready to give up just yet. Together, they set out on a journey into the city of Manchester, England, looking for supplies - and perhaps a hope for the future.

  • Christian Holtappel
  • Christian Holtappel
  • Simon Sturgeon
  • Christian Holtappel
  • Andrew Beniston
    Director of Photography
  • Kurt Tomlinson
  • Iona Champain
    Key Cast
    To the Sea, From Scratch, Gates
  • Corin Silva
    Key Cast
    Escape Room 2, Rogue Heroes, The Bay, Boiling Point
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    19 minutes 11 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    December 19, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    3,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    RED Epic Dragon
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Manchester Film Festival
    United Kingdom
    March 15, 2022
    Official Selection
Director Biography - Christian Holtappel

Christian Holtappel is an alumnus of the Northern Film School in Leeds, England, where his graduation short, "Home", won Best Film from the Class of 2017. He loves Westerns, Nina Simone and daydreaming.

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Director Statement

I feel that it is necessary to begin with a short disclaimer: "Dark Rooms" follows the story of two survivors of a global pandemic that has brought an end to human civilisation. Although these elements of the story are an implied background detail through the use of mis-en-scene, we are sensitive to the delicate nature of this issue at this moment in time, and it was absolutely not our intention to create a film that would coincide with the devastation of a real-life pandemic such as COVID-19. The film was written in 2018, and shot in the summer of 2019 - many months before the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus - and post-production took place over the course of 2020 and 2021 as the VFX shots came to completion. This was a passion project that was worked on whenever we could find the time and budget to do so, which is why it took so long to finally reach completion just before Christmas of 2021. Nevertheless, we are aware that the subject matter may be a disqualifying factor for some programmers. While that is completely understandable, we hope that you will still view our work and give it your consideration. This is intended to be an uplifting story about the power of human connection, and is the fruit of over three years of hard work from a small and passionate team of independent artists. Ultimately, the question that it poses - "how would we go on if the world stopped turning?" - reflects and reaffirms the lessons of the COVID-19 lock-downs: we need each other.

Thank you.

Original statement follows:

"Dark Rooms" is a heartfelt short about how we find reasons to keep moving forward after a great and painful loss. Shot on location in Manchester, Salford, Warrington and the Peak District, this is a truly Northern indie. When we set out to make a post-apocalyptic road movie on a shoestring budget, there was admittedly some anxiety that we were biting off more than we could chew. But multiple home-brewed VFX shots and some clever scheduling and location scouting helped us to go above and beyond what we initially thought we could achieve. Tied together by powerful, moving performances from our two talented leads, we couldn't be more proud of what our little team has managed to pull off here. We're incredibly excited to share our work with audiences from around the world.

We hope to hear from you soon!

- Christian Holtappel