A FILMMAKER who grew up in Knutsford is heading out on the festival circuit with his new short film, Nick.

Jack Levy, 31, will premiere his 15-minute thriller at the Horror-on-Sea film festival – running from January 19 in Southend – through his Jack the Lad Films company.

With Nick his ninth short film, Jack’s day job is in TV production and previous work has been shot in his hometown.

Filmed on a shoestring crowdfunded budget over three days in an old Manchester mill, Nick tells the story of a couple who go to watch a charismatic poet perform, unaware of the dedication on his passionate cult following.

Unlike the rest of the audience, the couple fail to see the appeal and discover quickly and definitively that, ‘if you’re not with us, you’re against us’.

Claustrophobic and gritty, Nick explores the dangers of mob mentality, peer pressure and blinkered devotion.

Incredibly, the film is based on Jack’s own experiences.

He said: “It’s based on a real event, where my wife and I went to a gig in Manchester. It was very claustrophobic, in a room with no windows, packed like sardines.

“The audience was incredibly animated and enthusiastic, and as the night went on we were actually looking forward to leaving – it just wasn’t our thing.

“Somebody must have spotted that we weren’t having a good enough time and it got a little bit uncomfortable. From there, I imagined what might have happened had the night continued and we’d not been able to leave when we did.

“It became a bit of a story that we told around the dinner table. A friend mentioned that it chimed with certain films. As you tell the story you see it less as a memory and more as a story.”

This will be Jack the Lad Films’ first showing at the prestigious Horror-on-Sea festival.

Well-versed on the circuit, Jack says the chance to meet other filmmakers and receive unbiased feedback is something that only a festival can offer.

“There is nothing more valuable than watching a film in a room with people watching it for the first time,” he said.

“You can see what is working and what isn’t just by looking at their faces. People come to it totally cold, and that’s hard to achieve anywhere else.”

n Head online to jacktheladfilms.co.uk and nickshortfilm.co.uk for more.