The International Silver Ace Award winning director Paul Knight, subject of the latest offering from multi-award winning documentary maker Ben Lewis, BBC Storyville and Oscar nominated production company Rise, is a prime example on how you can turn your life around, born in the East End of London; his past is that of intrigue and immoral behaviour but used writing as his escape and in turn, got involved in the entertainment industry. Since 2009; he has produced, written and directed an eclectic array of features and short films that have earned him a following in both the literacy and film world.
Before entering the world of Film, Paul was writing, his first novel ‘Coding of a concrete animal’ won the Gossip Girls crime writer award for 2007. It was also in 2007 that Paul teamed up with Jamie O’Keefe to form New Breed Productions with their first dive into the creative media by producing the low-budget music video for Mark Emmins and his cover track ‘First cut is the deepest’ this was followed by Kings Jacks music video ‘Heroes’ featuring Danny Dyer and Frank Harper.
2008 saw the release of the controversial biography of slained self styled gangster William Martindale (son of renowned fighter Lew ‘Wild Thing’ Yates) entitled ‘wanted: my life on the run’ written by Paul and Jamie. Paul was also featured in Robin Barratt’s book of true crime stories entitled ‘Bouncers and Bodyguards’ published by Mainstream that year.
It was at a book launch of a fellow author in 2009 that Paul turned his hand to film making after a heated discussion that a film needed a huge budget to get made. Paul disagreed and set out to prove that all you need is creativity and motivation. That weekend Paul had penned a 1st Draft of his first script ‘f*cked up’ and on the following Monday put a team together. Armed with no budget, no contacts and no idea Paul and the team made their first feature film for £10k. It was renamed ‘Thugs, Mugs and Violence’ and starred Duncan Mais (Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best?), model NikkiLee (Nuts, Fast Cars) and south London entrepreneur Joe Pyle Jnr (The Firm, The Family), and gained over 6,000 followers within a week of opening up a Facebook page for the film. It was an expensive lesson in how not to make a film, however the experience was priceless and put Paul on his path. He undertook courses with Raindance in screenplay writing, producing, directing, editing and online marketing to fill the gaps in his arsenal, the final touch was taking the 2 day film school class taught by Dov Simens – whose previous students included Quentin Tarantino, Chris Nolan, Kevin Smith and Guy Ritchie. Every new piece of information learnt was then put into action through a number of projects undertaken by Paul and his team including music videos, shorts and a TV documentary.
2009 Paul also directed and produced the music video for Country and Western sensation Gary Curtis, ‘Like I know the rain’ and the comedy feature ‘Le Fear’ directed by Jay Croot. Paul was also featured in Tel Currie’s unlicensed fight book entitled ‘Left Hooks and Dangerous Crooks’ and notorious prisoner Charles Bronson’s coffee table book ‘Con Artist’.
2010 saw the fight film ‘10’ go into production, the script ‘Candy Treats’ got shortlisted for Cannes screenplay category and a 3rd place win for his short ‘The Bailiff’ in the Inter Casino Extraordinary competition. Paul and Jamie were producers on the Matt Legg biopic feature ‘New City Fighter’ alongside Shotgun Productions and released the biography of fighting legend, Cliff Field, entitled ‘A cut above the rest’.
2011 provided no signs of business letting up, as the TV pilot of ‘Women in Charge’ went in to production, both Paul and Jamie were featured in Robin Barratt’s follow up book ‘Respect and Reputation’ and the screenplay ‘Red Castle’ was entered into Cannes new writer category, whilst the independent short ‘Birthday Boy’ was written and directed by Paul, for Dave Wiltshire and his company Kool ‘n’ Deadly Productions.
It was in that same year when Paul was approached to do a rewrite on a script called ‘Landscape of lives’, this opportunity led to Paul then writing and directing the film which was eventually titled ‘A landscape of lies’ starring Danny Midwinter, Philip Brodie, Marc Bannerman, Daniel Peacock, Anna Passey, Andre Samson and in a stroke of creative casting, TV presenter and good girl Andre Mclean from the ITV programme ‘Loose Women’ as the bi-sexual vixen Dr. Audrey Grey.
Just before the film’s release, it emerged that the financial producers behind the film had falsified VAT receipts and invoices and the entire production became part of a 2 year investigation. The aftermath of the intrusive proceedings was too much for the New Breed partnership to handle and at the end of 2011; Paul and Jamie went their separate ways.
Paul’s breakout film was mired by the conversational and historical court case that followed the 5 producers connected to the project that conspired to defraud the Film Tax commission and the HMRC of £2.8m. This case was heavily publicised internationally in the press, radio and News channels and the story behind the film was compared to Ben Affleck’s Oscar winning film ‘Argo’.
Paul, along with the entire cast and crew were found not to be aware of the fraud. The sentencing that saw those responsible given a total of 23 years of imprisonment also highlighted that Paul was able to write, produce, direct and have edited in 4 months for a total of £84,000 an independent feature that went on to gain festival acclaim.
The film went on to win the International Silver Ace Award from the 2012 Las Vegas Film festival for best film, and screened at the Marbella Film Festival.
After his controversial involvement in the British thriller ‘A landscape of lies’ Paul found himself to be the subject matter of a feature length documentary titled ‘CHANCERS‘, by multi award winner, Ben Lewis, BBC Storyville and the Oscar nominated production company Rise for their documentary ‘Knuckle’. Featured alongside the prolific independent British film producer Jonathan Sothcott, actor Danny Young (Stalker, Deep Cuts, Payback Season) and Horror Queen Victoria Hopkins (Doghouse, Zombie Women of Satan).
2014 saw Paul venture into directing the stage play ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ an original story about Lennon & McCartney for Mason Philips Productions held at the Hampton Hill Playhouse featuring comedian Ewen Macintosh (The Office), Scream Queen Victoria Broom (ABC’S of Death), ‘Diddy’ David Hamilton (Radio DJ) and Gareth Turkington and X Factors Andy Steed playing Lennon & McCartney respectively.
Its been a bumpy ride for Paul so far… but he has no intentions of getting off just yet….