Project: Abandon Fear 2
Director: Craig Foggo
Studio: Foggo Productions
Category: Feature Film
Craig Foggo’s bleak follow-up demonstrates that scale and ambition are nothing to be afraid of.
Guns, violence, blood, and betrayal. For once, we’re not talking about an ill-advised night out in Dunfermline, but actually the second film in Craig Foggo’s Abandon Fear series; Abandon Fear 2.
A prequel-sequel hybrid to Foggo’s debut feature, Abandon Fear 2 picks up where the first film left off – with a few flashbacks to the along the way. Foggo has continued to flesh out his post-apocalypse, resurrecting his protagonists and their ideological quest. “If they have fear,” explains Craig, “then they will not survive.”
The world of Foggo’s Fear films is a bleak, borderline nihilistic place. The world lies in ruins, and brief moments of friendship and hope are punctuated with loss and pain. Danger lurks around every colour, with a sense of dread reinforced by the desaturated colour palette and decaying locales. This is not a world for the faint of heart – or the fearful.
“Abandon Fear 2 continues to follow the story of Janus and Jackie on their mission to make all survivors of the post-apocalyptic world have no fear. However, their relationship takes a turn for the worse.”
“Abandon Fear 2 keeps changing between past and present until it all comes together. It solves questions that are in the first film. The audience can expect twists and betrayal, and will have to watch and listen carefully.”
Given his films are more akin to Call of Duty than the more reserved work of many new filmmakers, you could be forgiven for thinking Craig Foggo’s personality would reflect this with a hard, no-nonsense demeanour. You’d be mistaken. The youthful Craig is a soft-spoken soul, a Fife College alumni whose enthusiasm for his craft is infectious. As well as a filmmaker, Craig is a drummer and drumming tutor for local pipe bands. He speaks of his films with a warm smile on his face.
“I first starting having an interest in film at school when I made two short films with groups,” Craig says. “Drama also gave me an interest on how plays can be put together and how to build character. The directors who have inspired me would have to be Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and Tim Burton.”
Studying at Fife College gave Craig the confidence he needed to get behind the lens. “I always wanted to create a post apocalyptic film. My lecturer, Graeme Campbell, has been a fantastic support to me to get on track with making my very own films – starting properly with Abandon Fear.” There is a clear metaphor here, with Craig’s fearless desire to realise his ambitions reflected in the title of his films.
Teaming up with a cast and crew of mostly fellow students, Craig took the leap and filmed Abandon Fear over just five days in Tayport and Thornton. Following a few months in the edit suite, Craig premiered his film at a special Anstruther screening event in 2017. The film’s positive reception inspired Craig to build upon his work with a sequel. “I had most of the audience wanting more,” says Craig. “I decided to go ahead with it as the story in my mind was not finished and I am glad I went ahead.”
With the first film behind him, Craig took to work scripting and storyboarding the sequel. Shooting in Tayport with new locations in Crail, filming on set for Abandon Fear 2 was completed in less time than the first, wrapped in a remarkably short three days before moving to a year in the edit suite.
Abandon Fear 2 ups the scale from the first film in every way. The cast is larger, locations more expansive, and the production values slick – with more soldiers, battles, and military vehicles. The claustrophobic intimacy from the first film has transformed into an unpredictable, chaotic warzone. “I did a lot of scouting for locations that would suit my film,” says Craig. “Having to get permission to use locations took some time, but eventually we got there in the end.”
Scaling up brings challenges, however – not least of while is populating this war-torn world with combatants. “The main challenge in both films was an extras issue,” says Craig. “A smaller amount of extras turned up on the day compared to what there was meant to be. However, we solved this on the spot and worked with what we had. Luckily, the costumes were brought by cast and crew which was a massive help.”
“The cast and crew are mainly friends and family and great to work with,” adds Craig. “I think its very important to work well and work hard as a team. Everyone should have an aim – and that should be making the best film we could. Team chemistry is very important.”
Craig is clearly very grateful for the support of his team, both on and off the set. “I think of how much effort everyone put in to my films and how much everyone enjoyed it. It was a great laugh and experience. There are too many moments to remember!”
Like many upcoming young filmmakers, Craig found himself working with a tight budget. “There was no financial support for my films,” he explains. “I did try crowd funding and sponsorship, but that didn’t work at all for me. It was mainly from my own pocket. The encouragement I got from everyone allowed me to fit both films around the money I had.”
The finished film is remarkably accomplished for an emerging student filmmaker. As well as a huge sense of spectacle, the effects are remarkably well realised. Muzzles flash, blood spurts, and the atmospheric dread is relentless. It’s a grim tale in a grim world, but one you can’t help but be impressed by.
Abandon Fear 2 premiered at a special event at the DCA in Dundee as part of a back-to-back marathon with it’s predecessor. “This was a great experience for me”, he says. “I’d hope to show many more in the future. I spoke a bit about production and gave a thank you out at the beginning.” The event also enabled Craig to recoup some of his expenses, raising over £230.
In contrast to the first film’s cliffhanger ending, Abandon Fear 2 concludes with a very definite sense of closure. Can we expect an Abandon Fear 3?
“I have no plans for another Abandon Fear,” says Craig. “It may come back; I’ll never say never to what I think could be a good story to continue.” For now, though, Craig is looking to take on something new. “I do have ideas for my next project, and I have plenty of projects in mind for future. A WWII one would be a definite.”
Beyond his own projects, Craig is extremely optimistic about the broader filmmaking scene on his doorstep. “The filming community in Fife is fantastic,” he says. “There are opportunities here, with the Creative Film Fife Network helping a lot – especially with contacts and advertising.”
Craig is also keen to inspire more new filmmakers to have the confidence to get involved. “I would say that if you want to be a film maker then go out and do it! All you need is a camera to create something. Plus; the more work you do the more experience you get. Helping others is a great benefit. If you get an opportunity to be involved in a film, then take it! “
With the door closed – at least for now – on the Abandon Fear series, it’s exciting to speculate on Craig’s plans for the future. The leap in scale, production value, and spectacle between his first two Fear films have us keen to see what’s next from this emerging talent.
“Abandon Fear 2 was a massive progression and experience,” Craig says. “The reviews were also much better. I could of course not have done this without my great cast and crew, which I had mostly met from college. Without the help and support I had from audiences and my team, this wouldn’t have been possible.
“Who knows – I may not be done with Abandon Fear yet!”