The Modern Way is a drama set within 1980s Britain. Danni, a young skinhead is struggling with her home life and is hanging out with the wrong crowd. When her late brother’s best friend Terry Harrison comes back to town, he tries to guide her onto a better path. In connection with the story a young mod finds himself in trouble with an old rocker after his scooter gets stolen. I had the privilege of being sent this film to watch by creator, writer and lead actor Jake Henderson before it’s release. It’s a gritty tale of belonging and highlights the differences between Mods & Skinheads from a Mod perspective. This film is not a Quadrophenia remake but a stand alone real drama with a believable plot, story and characters combined with a killer soundtrack. It is set to be a hit, already receiving awards at the Nice international film festival. I spoke to creator Jake and Director Giuseppe to find out more about the film and the making and inspiration behind it.
CAN YOU GIVE AN INSIGHT INTO THE STORY BEHIND THE FILM AND THE MESSAGE THAT IT PORTRAYS?
Jake – This film is a fictional story with some dark elements that are relevant to today. For example, the drug issues, still to this day there are huge problems with drug abuse and drug addiction. Mental Manipulation is another. But this film also has its lighter elements to it, the friendships between the young mods and a very fine layer of comedy which runs through the film. I feel the message that this film portrays is that if you are in dark times, times where you feel trapped or alone you can change those dark times and find the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s very important to realise who is truly there for you and who is just present. The ones that go that extra mile to make sure you are ok, the ones that stick their neck out for you, those people are the ones you need to keep close.
THE STORY BEHIND THE FILM WOULD FIT INTO ANY ERA BECAUSE OF IT’S RELATABLE STORY BUT WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SET THE FILM IN 80’S BRITAIN AMONGST THE VARIOUS SUBCULTURES?
Jake – The 1980’s has always intrigued me. I have found it to be a very interesting time period to explore. My mum and dad were in their late teens going into their twenties during the eighties and they have told me a lot of their stories and experiences during this time. It was a time of expression, a time of belonging. My dad was involved within the Mod scene in the eighties and I can still see the passion he has for the scene today. He’s very much still a Mod at heart and continues to build and ride Scooters and goes to clubs to watch bands with the same group of friends he’s knocked about with since the eighties.
It’s not just about the Mod scene, it’s all the sub-cultures which I find intriguing, especially the fashion and the music which was such as huge part of people’s lives. I’m a big fan of sixties, seventies and eighties music, I grew up with it in my household and back then the music seemed to have a lot more passion behind it and a lot more feeling. There was also a lot more live music to see in them days too.
THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE FILM IS A DEFINITE STAND OUT AND FITS PERFECTLY WITH THE PERIOD THE FILM IS SET. HOW IMPORTANT WAS IT TO GET THAT RIGHT?
Jake – I had always said to my co-creator Giuseppe from the very beginning of creating this film that it needs to have the right music. Music that not only fit’s the right scenes but music which is going to send the audience back in time to the days they remember. This is a low budget film and a huge chunk of that budget was used to acquire the music rights. Money well spent in my opinion. Not only do we have some very well-known artists in the film but we also have unknown artist’s, some real great talent that deserve to be heard. They also did a phenomenal job with the music for this film.
Giuseppe – The soundtrack is probably mine and Jake’s favourite part of the entire film, so we really don’t want to give too much away. We will keep that as a surprise for the audience.
I FEEL LIKE I’D LOVE TO HEAR WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE CHARACTERS AT THE END OF THE FILM. CAN WE EXPECT A FOLLOW UP OR OS IT LEFT TO OUR OWN INTERPRETATION?
Jake – This film was never the end for “The Modern Way.” We have so many more stories to tell but first let’s see how well the film does and then we can see where we will go from there.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE WATCH THE FILM AND WHEN IS IT RELEASED?
Jake – On the 18th of July the film will be available to watch on the Sky store, Amazon, Apple TV, Google play and Virgin. You will also be able to purchase the DVD from HMV, Amazon, Asda and Morrison’s.
IS THERE ANYONE YOU’D LIKE TO THANK FOR THEIR INVOLVEMENT IN GETTING THE FILM TO THE STAGE OF THE RELEASE?
Jake – I would like to thank the cast and crew for all their hard work they put into this film. We have some strong up and coming performers who I have also made great friendships with. This I am very grateful for. I would like to give a special thank you to Anna Crane who was our Art director, she was the one who got the connections for all the vintage cars and scooters with the small budget that we gave her, she really came through for us which was amazing and without her the film definitely wouldn’t have had the same impact that it does.
Stillhouse band, a very talented unknown band from a small village in Italy, they created four amazing songs for the film and are genuinely a bunch of fantastic people who I got to spend some time with in the south of France at the Nice international film festival. If you are into your Rock/Heavy Metal music you should really go and check them out on YouTube and Spotify. Jack Daynes is another very talented musician trying to make his way, he did a lot of the composition for the film and he deserves a lot of credit for that.
I want to thank my mum, my dad and my family for their continued support on this journey of mine. I think now they can see that I have some potential within this industry (Laughs) I Love them and am very thankful to have them in my life.
Last but not least I would like to thank the main man, The director, The producer and the co-creator of The Modern Way, Giuseppe Monticciolo. Without this man there would be no film. He was the one who believed in me from the start and has backed me all the way through. Now a very, very good friend of mine. We have spent the last four years working on this project and now we can finally share it with the UK this July and then I believe the United States towards the end of the year. Then around the globe from thereafter. Don’t get me wrong it hasn’t all been Plain sailing, we have had our arguments here and there which is going to happen, you have different opinions on certain things but we always work it out in the end. But honestly one of the most genuinely nice people I have been fortunate enough to meet.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO THE FILM INDUSTRY?
Giuseppe – This is the best industry to be a part of. So many creative people all collaborating… there is nothing quite like it. I’m a very collaborative person, and always have been. It seemed almost like a natural fit by the time I found myself working as a producer. This was not my very first film, that would be HOSTAGE (2021). This horror film was a horror-experience, to say the least. I was producer and production manager on that film, and I learned so much doing it. It was a very difficult shoot, we had very little money and only a few shooting weeks, but we got the job done. And the reason I mention this at all, is because even though the movie
HOSTAGE wasn’t the best film, the lessons I learned on that was what made the Modern Way an actual reality. One couldn’t exist without the other, and for that I am super grateful. We had even less time to film TMW (12 shooting days) and the crew worked tirelessly to put this together. But in the end, it all worked out because we are so very proud of the product that hit the screen. The Modern Way is a first feature film for a lot of our crew, Jake included, but to avoid even a single pitfall we made with our last film was such a blessing.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES YOU HAVE HAD TO OVERCOME PRODUCING THE FILM?
Giuseppe – Great question. This was filmed in 2019, mere months before the pandemic hit. You would think that doing post production during the pandemic was the easy part… and it was to a certain degree. We were very fortunate that we were able to keep working on this post-COVID. But the lack of reshoots, missing deadlines, and the costs that doubled/tripled in price went into doing this made everything much more difficult. So that was obviously one of the biggest challenges. A non-COVID related challenge that we had to go through: our film was pretty international. I think we were the testament for the future, being worked on from three (four if you include distribution and sales) different countries at the same time. Coordinating all of that, from different time zones, was absolute HELL. Our film was originally edited and SFX’d in the US, Sound Design and Mastering came from the UK, Jake was working with two music composers, one in the UK and one in Canada, distribution was happening from Japan and I was producing and coordinating the entire thing from Canada. It was a wild ride, but to finally have the film in such a state, well it was all worth it in the end.
TELL ME ABOUT THE AWARDS THE FILM HAS RECEIVED?
Giuseppe – We have got some recognition for our work. Most notably, we won best picture at the Nice International Film Festival, and Jake Henderson himself won Most Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film. This is actually Jake’s second award for best actor, as he won the same award at the Brighton Rocks Festival in July of last year (2021). We have also just been nominated for 6 more awards at the Madrid International Film Festival, and are excitedly awaiting those results. This will be our last run at a festival, as the movie is set to release in the UK on the 18th of July.