We recently worked with the fantastic owner of an amazing property here in West Sussex which was used in the filming of upcoming film Fright by local filmmaker Warren Dudley over 2 weeks in October 2023.

It is a small 290 acre dilapidated estate in need of updating and lots of TLC but it is positively bursting with character, history and charm! It certainly proved to be the perfect setting for Warren’s latest film – indeed, he absolutely fell in love with the property on the first recce, knowing it was the right location for his film. The film is a black and white 1950s style horror about a young agoraphobic girl and her relationship with her mother.

We caught up with the owner to get her feedback on how the experience of her home becoming a film set went!

Collaboration with Sussex Film Office:
What was your experience working with the Film Office team?
As ever, the SFO team are always a delight to work with. Very friendly and understanding of how I work (I’m a farmer and mum of 3, so I rarely have the time to read emails, and they are very good at nudging me with phone calls!)

How did you find the whole process of your property being chosen as a filming location and what was required?
The whole process seemed incredibly easy. We’ve had a bit of interest over the last year, but recces didn’t amount to anything – until we met Warren Dudley!

What were the benefits to you as a location owner?
Firstly, the location fee will pay for some groundworks on an old stable yard and paddock which has become scrubland after years of neglect. We now have the funds to overhaul the area in order to create an events space for weddings, events and pop up glamping, thereby helping diversify the farm business in future.

Secondly, the impending filming forced us to tidy up! My late uncle used the study as storage for farm equipment for years. We were constantly tripping over chainsaws to get to books and archives. We had a big tidy up, spring clean, and steam cleaned upholstery and rugs. As a result, we were able to provide the actors with a green room for hair and make up, and another room for the crew to store filming equipment.

What were your personal highlights over the course of the 10 days of filming?
We loved the buzz of having a film crew around! We met some interesting people, the crew were really lovely and it was a fun experience. 

Crew opportunity:
Your daughter got the chance to work as a runner for some of the shoot – how did she find that experience?
My daughter did some work experience as a production runner – great for her CV and a really interesting experience. I’m not sure she will go into film as a career, but she really enjoyed it and loved meeting the team. As she knows the house so well, it also meant she could indicate which rooms and furniture were out of bounds. It was useful for me to know she was keeping an eye out for absentmindedness – eg: hot mugs being placed on antique furniture.

Advice for other property owners:
What would your advice be for other location owners who are thinking of registering their properties as film-friendly locations?
I was given the advice that you work hard for filming income, and I would agree. We put lots of effort and energy into preparing the house and garden in advance of filming. During the filming fortnight, I tried to be around and on hand in case of emergencies, but also out of the way.  

Keeping the noise down was a challenge, because we are a working farm, with the office in the house. Sometimes I’d find myself trapped outside or in the kitchen, unable to return to my computer. Next time, I’ll set up a temporary office in a portakabin!

Well, we certainly cannot wait for the film to be released so keep your ears to the ground and watch this space as we will let you know as soon as we have a date! In the meantime, take a look at some of the behind the scenes shots the owner and Warren kindly shared with us to give you a taster of the film to come.

Interested in registering your property as a filming location?