Dartford independent actor and director Louis Findlay releases his first feature film No Mercy
An actor-turned-filmmaker is preparing for the release of his first feature film after stalling shooting during the pandemic.
For Dartford-based Louis Findlay, the rest of his directorial debut is as much a labor of love as it is the fulfillment of his dream of making films.
The former Leigh City Technology College student’s acting career began playing Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire on stage and he also performed as a parkour athlete.
But it was behind the lens that the 30-year-old won Hollywood praise for the 2017 short, Days To Come, which focused on his own struggles with acting auditions and mental health.
Louis has been on the verge of releasing his next title, a largely self-funded feature, for more than four years.
No Mercy tells the story of a young boxer named Reece “No Mercy” Mercy before his first professional fight as he tries to follow in his father’s footsteps as a champion.
However, tragedy strikes along the path that sends the protagonist on a frantic path of self-destruction and discovery.
For his latest film, Louis – who was introduced to boxing by his father – made a point of telling the story that takes place “outside the ring” and focuses on his education in the working class.
Filming took place on a shoestring budget of under £ 2,000 in locations around Dartford using a mix of actors and friends with fight scenes shot at the Tree Estate Boxing Club in Princes Road.
But as Louis was putting the finishing touches on his boxing fight in which he is playing the lead role, Covid-19 struck.
He said: “I was hoping to finish No Mercy early last year and then the pandemic happened so we were literally just sitting around and waiting to see if we could go out and film.
“I was tearing my hair out thinking ‘I’ll never make it.’ We’ve come a long way and maybe it’s for nothing.”
With the gyms closed, he was faced with the prospect of concluding the film without the workout cutouts – a staple of the boxing movie genre.
At this point, Louis considered ending the project, but was hesitant to give up considering the time and effort invested by his friends and family.
He said: “The biggest investment is the time people put into it and it’s not something you can get back. For me, that was the biggest cost.”
In the meantime, he delivered an online safety course, providing advice and information on industry best practices to resume productions with Covid-19 safeguards in place.
“We were patient and waited for the government to tell us we could go out,” he added. “And as soon as they gave us the green light, we did it.
Lockdown also saw another huge change in the young actor’s life when he became a father.
But with life returning to something akin to reality, he’s now happy to have finally wrapped up his latest film project.
After putting together a new trailer, Louis shared a private screening with close friends and family ahead of the premiere.
“It’s a huge relief to have done it and I’m excited and nervous at the same time,” Louis said.
“It’s not just a movie, it’s a part of myself that I invite people to see and I hope people like it.”
He added: “Come next week, I’m going to play it in front of a room of over 200 very excited people. I just hope I can make everyone proud.”
The premiere of No Mercy will take place at Longfield Academy on Wednesday, October 27.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and tickets are free but must be reserved in advance by Monday, October 25. Click here for more information.
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