Award winning Filmmaker Lee Bolton has been creating, writing and making films since he was 17 years old. Now working in Manchester, UK at Elerby Studios his film studio. The Studio has been recently rewarded with 4 nominations at various film festivals with Best Director for Lee with his short film 'Charlie and Me' at the International Liverpool Film Festival this month. Lee has also directed many music videos and promos for such clients as Pepsi and works with clients across the globe from his Manchester base. Lee is currently in post production with feature film 'The Button Bashers' a film dedicated to the computer games of the 1980s.
What do you do best?
I’d like to think I am a good Director. That is my first love. I love the molding of a project and development of a scene. It’s with anything the more you do something the more you become better at. I worked with best Directors from the start and took what each one did, how they worked and how they worked with actors and got the best results. I have learnt some amazing cheats from Directors to bring the level up in a scene. I love working with actors and the crew. I hope that shows in my films.
What makes you the best?
I would never say I am best because there is a constant learning process. Keep learning and watching. And creating.
Success in your films and releases is a real level of your doing something right. This month saw Charlie and Me (Which I wrote and directed) get awarded for three nominations – Best Screenplay, Best Actress and Best Director at the Liverpool International film awards in the UK and we walked away with Best Director and Actress. A film we produced Lions and Tigers and Bears has just been nominated for best Cinematography at the Birmingham Film Festival. I am so over the moon with this. I make a living out of something I am in love with and I am never bored – I get paid to do this and I am thankful. In film you have to real and approachable and I think I am. First rule of thumb – don’t be an arse – People have to work with you and you’ll need them again. This business is also fun – make it fun – have fun! But be professional to a tee.
Also you have to put 101 percent into this business. The more you chip away at it the better you will be.
What are your aspirations?
I never set myself a goal with Elerby Studios. When I started I had real doubt – Would I be able to make a living from directing and editing? I just want and wanted to continue making my own films under Elerby Studios and producing dream projects like Charlie and Me and our new feature The Button Bashers (A film about Retro gaming) – and of course working with our clients.
On a personal level making Charlie and Me without a doubt. That film was such a massive job from beginning to end within a short timescale with one amazing team. Writing it was hard as it was really about the relationship I had with my mother who sadly passed away – but set in space where the mother role – The Pilot – is alone and wanting to come home. She meets a character and they interact and she’s reminded of home. In that film I placed all the things I wanted to always see in one of my films – Spaceships, Guns, Robots, VFX but place this beautiful relationship around it. Filming it was amazing and the cast and crew just did a tip top job. When Charlie won the awards I cried and continued for 2 days since – it’s that personal and loved the fact it touched someone else in that way to reward it.
I wrote and Directed Charlie while working on a lot of projects and also completing a Visual Effects degree. When I look back I have no idea of how I did it.
However, I am so proud of everything we have done – recently working with artists such as The Blackheart Orchestra on three music videos, Lenell Brown on our continued collaborations filming at the most amazing locations across the work with tracks that blow me away… I don’t want to single anyone out really I enjoy every project. These people don’t longer become clients – they become friends. And that’s a big bonus. It makes the client relationship and creative development that much more involved – and help the end results.
Most Challenging Moment?
I used to work for a company for years in-between working on films and writing – a normal job if you will – totally boring, worthless and it was such a learning curve of how not to treat people - and when I got the chance left to set up Elerby Studios which was a big risk. In any early years of business you take a loss and then it’s make or break. So glad it worked.
Never let it go. Always work hard and the rewards will fall in.
Favorite People/Role Models?
I would have to mention a few people. I am lucky I am surrounded by fellow filmmakers and actors who inspire me and develop me. Manchester Directors Darren Langlands, Matt Johns and Natalie Kennedy are film makers who I watch intensely and love their work – but there are a lot of talented directors coming through. All the actors that have come through the door inspire me – all of them. You should see all the work they are doing in Manchester – its really special and I am proud to have worked with a lot. Special mention to the Charlie and Me acting team of Lindsay Bennett and Christopher Faith – Your amazing and thank you.
Obviously my family for understanding and putting up with a camera up their noses since year dot. Sorry about that.
I recently filmed in Italy on a music video for Lenell Brown. Wow – what an amazing shoot. I love Italy and would love to go back there again very soon. I am a simple guy. Give me a tent next to the sea, bottle of wine and no tech and I would love it.
I am a camera geek. The studio has Blackmagic cameras just in so playing with them is a lot of fun and that’s my favorite thing at the moment. Oh and my arcade machine that contains thousands of retro games – vital for research for our next film, The Button Bashers.
Just doing a job that I love and still have that passion and drive for like I did when I picked up and camera many many moons ago.