Pay Back

A wealthy property developer goes to the top floor of an art gallery to pay the ransom for his kidnapped son. But when the lift mysteriously stops halfway up the building, he must quickly work out if the young man he is trapped with is just an innocent tourist – or the kidnapper...

  • Steve Ramsden
    Road Kill, In Memoriam, The Noise, Beer & Nuts, Janus
  • Steve Ramsden
    Road Kill, Beer & Nuts, Janus
  • Steve Ramsden
    Road Kill, The Noise, Beer & Nuts, Janus
  • Phil Harker
    The Plugs
  • Craig Conway
    Key Cast
    "Michael Thronhill"
    Father Brown, Ted Lasso, The Courier, Final Score, Vera, Dog Soldiers
  • Phil Harker
    Key Cast
    EcoScoc, Byker Grove
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Thriller, Crime, Mystery
  • Runtime:
    17 minutes 40 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 30, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Steve Ramsden

Steve is an award-winning British filmmaker who grew up on Tyneside.

After graduating from University of London with a BA in Media Arts First Class Honours, Steve has worked all over the world as a director, cameraman and editor, in places as diverse as the Philippines, New Guinea, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Uganda and the USA.

In 2016 Steve founded his own production company Unexplored Films. Under this label he and his team produce film content for a diverse range of clients, as well as passion projects such as the short films Road Kill (2023) and Pay Back (2023).

He is also a prolific YouTuber and over 300,000 subscribers enjoy his videos on low-budget filmmaking. He runs his own filmmaking courses at

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Director Statement

I wrote Pay Back to be a gripping thriller that keeps the audience guessing right until the end.

I set the story in the North East after having originally grown up in Newcastle, with many fond memories of learning to make films with a rickety camcorder as a teenager around Tyneside. It’s an area that has wonderful cinematic potential and looks amazing on camera. I wanted to use a famous local landmark - the Baltic Centre with its glass lifts - as the centrepiece for the story, and we were lucky enough to be granted permission to shoot there.

I co-produced the film with my long-time friend and collaborator, actor / producer Phil Harker, who took the lead for local fixing as well as playing the role of John, and together we successfully got the film made despite our low budget.

The very challenging script called for both a location shoot (the Baltic Centre and surroundings) and a studio shoot (the lift interior) that had to match perfectly. This was made harder when, due to a number of factors, these two shoots ended up taking place over a year apart!

For the lead role of Michael Thornhill I approached friend and local film and TV actor Craig Conway (known for Doomsday, The Descent, Dog Soldiers, Vera) after enjoying working with him on several projects.

This film was a lot of fun to make with our talented small cast and crew, and we are very excited to share it with you!