Director Mark Ashmore began work on "Your State of Emergency," which he describes as his first "mini feature," in 2007, near the start of his now six-year-old filmmaking career. Inspired by the plight of civilians in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan, Ashmore resolved to transpose foreign events to his native England so that "a British audience could put themselves in their shoes, just for 30 minutes" by watching his film. "I've always wanted to fight injustice," he says. "I figure the best way is to motivate people to make a stand. I find the best way to do this is through storytelling. When it's done right, it has the power to connect with the soul of the audience and when they walk out of the cinema, they are changed."
What's this film really all about?: "A white middle class family in the UK are celebrating a birthday party, a sudden knock at the door, and all hell breaks loose. The film examines the role of the police state, made in 2008 – the film is almost a prophecy – predicting the plight of those arrested in the #OWS occupy wall street protests and the recent arrests of the punk band 'pussy riot' in Russia. 'Your State of Emergency' is a thriller about a world where freedom of speech no longer exists."
What was this film's greatest challenge?: "The scope of the film is very big for a first time director, and we only had a tiny budget of £3000 to make the movie, I always try and set myself a challenge on set, as if making a feature film was not enough!"
On the rewards of a veteran star: "Our leading lady is a 67-year-old actress, so working with that kind of life experience was quite daunting, and also enabled the film to have a very different feel and perspective."
Anticipating trends: "I'm a big fan of documentaries, and so while making this film, I wanted to make it feel as real as possible, thus the use of found footage, before it became a genre in itself."
What do you think SnagFilms audiences will respond to most in this film?: "Hopefully the honesty and the daring in the storytelling, what sets it apart is the levels in the film and hopefully a snag audience will find it thought provoking enough to comment and feedback, and make change!"
What's next on your agenda?: "I'm currently touring our first feature length documentary http://www.invisiblecircusfilm.com about a group of theatre and circus performers who take over empty buildings and bring them back to life through art. And i'm busy finishing my debut feature film and a director called the lost generation, which is the 3rd film in a trilogy on the times we live in, the first being – this film 'Your State Of Emergency' more info on this at http://www.projectlostgeneration.co.uk"
[Full Disclosure: SnagFilms is the parent company of Indiewire.]