Thursday 26 May 2016


Kurt Dirt is a musician, filmmaker and self proclaimed Duke of Puke, a well known artist in the UK indie Underground scene having contributed to movies like Troma's 'Return To Nuke Em High' and a string of other Indie concoctions as well as recently debuting his own latest gore soaked masterpiece in the form of the shot on Hi8 'Life is Cheap'.

I recently caught up with Kurt to discuss low budget filmmaking, old skool formats and what inspires him to make movies.

Every journey starts with an origin story, How did you know you wanted to make films?

I was a pretty sickly kid so I'd be asleep most of the day and awake all night, therefore I got hooked on late night ITV and channel 4 horror / weird movie marathons. I'd come in to school the next day and excite & horrify my classmates by telling them about what i'd seen. Of course sleep deprivation, fever and calpol always made my memory of the plot lines a little more trippy! I loved seeing the fear / disgust on their faces and I get the exact same buzz when I screen my movies today!

With more and more people choosing to just go out and shoot their own movies now, what made you take the DIY approach to making movies?

For me it's about maintaining control and the fun, I do this for my own enjoyment and to entertain fellow weirdo's. I have ideas for a hundred movies and I don't think I could ever pitch one of them to a studio / production company without being sectioned or put on some kind of register. I also like the way DIY movies look, to me they feel more dangerous. My main inspirations for 'Life is Cheap' were Troma,Yorkshire low budget film makers Smile Orange and the early films of Alex Chandon such as Bad Karma

As we all know DIY filmmaking can be tough, what were some of the downside of going out on your own?

Money is an obvious one, we were really lucky to have some generous donations via kickstarter (triple figures is mega bucks to us!) but there were costs for things such as travel expenses for actors etc that stacked up pretty quickly, also getting people all in one place can be a knightmare, it certainly pays to sit down, work out where and when you need everybody and plan it properly. 

On the flip side, what were the upsides?

As previously mentioned there's the freedom, we weren't bound to any set in stone script or screenplay so we could kind of riff on what worked on camera and what didn't work. All of our cast were fantastic but Ben & Louise in particular really shone when it came to improvisation and building on their grotesque characters. As a director I think it's important to stick to your vision for the project but it really does pay to listen to your cast and crew and allow people to think outside the box and come up with their own ideas, shoot everything and see what works and doesn't work when it comes to editing. My main indicators for what was going to stay in the movie was if I was struggling not to laugh behind the camera or if I was squirming to the point of thinking "what am I doing with my life?" 

Another great thing is getting to see the enthusiasm people put in to the project, especially the actors / crew working for little or no money, a good atmosphere on set / a buzz around the project as a whole can be really infectious. 

You recently produced 'Life is Cheap', which you shot on Hi8, what were the challenges of working on an old skool format?

Really not as many as you may think. What I love about working with Hi8 is that everything instantly looks kind of grubby and a little worn, you get all these cool little glitches and dirt without having to spend time and money on plug in's. The only real restrictions we faced were when it came to digitizing the footage. I work on a Mac and for some reason the majority of digitisation devices only come with PC software so we had to hunt around for a compatible programe online. The other is sound. Even if your going for the whole grunge / video nasty asthetic it's always worth still recording everything with a boom / sound recorder. I really regret not doing so on 'life is cheap', fixing audio issues in post was a nightmare and left us with lots of great scenes which were unusable due to actors lines being muffled or distorted.

Apart from 'Just make movies' what advice would you give people starting out making their own films?

Be yourself. Don't feel like you have to make films based on what you think other people want to see. Take time to sit down and work out what kind of aesthetic you want, what you want your audience to feel and do your research. Reading books by people I admire like Lloyd Kaufman, William Castle and John Waters and then making notes was a great help. Network and find other people who share your excitement and get them on board. Helping out on others projects can also be a great learning experience, for me working in various capacities on Lloyd Kauffman's 'Return to Nuke Em High', Liam Regan's 'Banjo' and Heidi Moore's 'Dolly Deadly' taught me much more than any film school could. 

And finally, what is next for Kurt Dirt?

Me and Ben (joeby cleftico in life is cheap) have been making plans for our next project, a gory buddy road movie with Jimmy Savilles ghost and Peter Sutcliffe. Ben has written some songs for it already and they're hilarious, definitely secured our place in hell. Also I'd like to take a break from comedy/ exploitation make a really scary, gruelling Horror movie, something that will make people feel like I did when I was a little kid cringing infront of the TV watching Evil Dead or the Texas Chain Saw Massacre, too afraid to get up and stop the VCR. I've been working a 'day job' at pasaje del terror in Blackpool and as well as being fun it's great research in to what not only makes people jump but scares them on a deeper psychological level.

You can pick up 'Life is Cheap' now at


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