Filmed in Kent by director Scott Bates, The Tapes is a horror in the tradition of The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity. However, 39-year-old Scott Bates’ film career couldn’t have started in a more unlikely place.
“Do you remember the TV series Pie in the Sky?” he asks. “My first job was being a runner on that. Then I got really lucky though and landed Alan Parker’s film Evita (starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas). I was only supposed to working on that for two weeks, and ended up working on it for 10 months in Argentina and Hungary and all over the place.”
Now a freelance assistant director, Scott has worked on the Harry Potter movies and continues to be asked to work on big-budget Hollywood productions: “I was recently asked to do some work on Clash of the Titans 2, but I was busy on Waterloo Road so had to turn it down. Working freelance is a rollercoaster of a career. One minute you’re having to seriously budget for the supermarket, and the next you’re in a 5-star hotel in Thailand – it does take some getting used to! That’s why I’m now going it alone, so I don’t have to rely on other people, and the dream is to make two or three films a year in Kent.”
The Tapes is the first of these Kent-based films, and was shot in and around Whitstable and Tankerton by Scott, who lives in Rochester.
“Kent is such an untapped area for filming,” he says. “London is overused and has shot itself in the foot by making filming so difficult and expensive. Filmmakers are tired of the landmarks of London too so it’s a great time for Kent to step up and bring some more work in.”
The Tapes wasn’t a solo project though, and was co-directed with Lee Alliston, another Kent filmmaker who owns the farm on which the majority of the film was shot. Lee Alliston has an equally varied background in TV and movies. He has worked on a number of Bollywood films, and also worked on Band of Brothers and Brad Pitt thriller Spy Game.