An Interview with Suffolk Shorts Supporter, Producer Richard Johns

Interview by Hebe Dobson-Mouawad

We are delighted to announce that Richard Johns of Corona Content will be joining the 2020 Suffolk Shorts programming team.

Richard will be instrumental in whittling down hundreds of short films to the very best of the best. So, with submissions opening next month (eek!), I ask the successful film producer why he chose to be a part of Suffolk Shorts.

On Filmmaking in East Anglia

Richard Johns has East running through his veins. Born in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and having moved to Suffolk twelve years ago, he feels a strong connection with the region. With 30 years’ experience as an independent filmmaker, Richard now aims to realize the opportunities there are in East Anglia.

Frustrated with how the industry overlooks Eastern talent, Richard intends to support local writers. He tells me that he aims to develop projects from the region and make them here.

‘As a producer, what I’m really keen to do is to connect with voices from the East and to bring them together.’

Richard has produced a number of high-profile independent feature films, including the double Academy Award nominated thriller Shadow of the Vampire, starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe. Later, he co-founded Corona Content with business partner Rupert Jermyn. Together, the pair produced the darkly comic thriller The Liability, starring Tim Roth and Jack O’Connell.

Richard believes that Ipswich is at the centre of a county which is ‘full of creative voices’. Although Suffolk is well known for its artists and musicians, it is the storytellers that reside here which interest Richard.

‘I want to be part of the growth in establishing Ipswich as a cultural hub for the East and for the country.’

On Short Films

In working with Suffolk Shorts, Richard hopes to discover fresh talent.

‘One of the reasons why I’m excited about Suffolk Shorts is because it represents a chance to discover new voices coming through within the county.’

Richard views making short films as tremendously beneficial for budding filmmakers. ‘Short films can be some of the most exquisitely crafted pieces of storytelling. They are a wonderful way for emerging writers, directors, and producers to connect.’

‘I think shorts are a great way to bring people together and for Eastern voices to be heard.’

Richard produced The Liability with business partner Rupert Jermyn. The film stars BAFTA winners Tim Roth and Jack O’Connell.

On Upcoming Projects

Richard is currently in the process of casting an adaptation of The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth. Set in 1957, it tells the story of a young pilot based in West Germany, who unexpectedly gets the chance to fly home for Christmas to see his family.

The script has been written by Iain Softley, who will also direct. Softley directed The Skeleton Key, starring Kate Hudson and John Hurt, and, before that, Hackers, featuring Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller.

Iain Softley with Kate Hudson

Richard hopes to make the film in the region. So, watch this space!

Submissions open for Suffolk Shorts in mid-January. We will announce the date shortly. Follow us on Instagram for all the latest information.

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