Private Project

Pay The Toll

A man walks through the foot tunnel that runs underneath the River Thames. Unfortunately, he is not alone down there, and there is a price to pay if he wants to get to the other side.

  • Rich Rose
  • Rich Rose
  • Rich Rose
  • Gareth Ellis
    Key Cast
  • Michelle Tannor
    Key Cast
  • Fred Snow
    Key Cast
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 45 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 30, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    120 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 - Rich Rose

Rich is a writer from South London. In 2016, the pilot episode of sitcom Whipped, which he developed and co-wrote with David Ralf, was filmed at 3 Mills Studios. To date, the pilot has amassed over 450,000 views on YouTube and in 2016 was featured in The Guardian's 'Guide' magazine, in an article detailing the best online shows that should make the move to TV. From 2012 to 2018, Rich was one half of award-winning comedy double-act, Ellis & Rose. ‘Pay The Toll’ is his directorial debut.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Ever since moving into a flat round the corner from the Woolwich foot tunnel a few years ago, I have been determined to utilise the setting in some kind of horror capacity. Even during the day the tunnel feels eerie and walking through it alone at night can be a deeply unnerving experience. When you are in the middle you cannot see either end and the sound of your own footsteps bouncing back at you can prove strangely disorienting.

Earlier this year, I struck on an idea for a short film to be set in the tunnel, based loosely on the tale of the Three Billy Goats Gruff, who were held at ransom by a troll if they wanted to cross his river.

This was proper guerrilla filmmaking. Using only the light the tunnel provided, we shot late at night, when it was least likely to be in use. It was filmed with one camcorder, which meant I had to storyboard the entire film meticulously, as there was never time to muck about getting shots I was unlikely to use. I encouraged Gareth Hoskins, who scored the film, to be as experimental as possible with the music, and I would often go to the tunnel by myself in the early hours of the morning to record my footsteps and the strange noises the place produced.

Through inventive camerawork and unusual sound design, I hope I have in some way captured the nightmarish, even melancholy atmosphere of the Woolwich foot tunnel.