Former Worth student Ted Baybutt was at the Cannes Film Festival last month promoting his first feature film, Slammer. Read about how Ted’s desire to become a film director began at Worth in our latest ‘Alumni in the News’ feature …
Since leaving Worth in 1997 Ted, who was in St Bede’s, has worked on projects which have enabled him to continue his love of film, from studying the subject at university to developing MovieSweep, a TV quiz show for movie buffs, from producing and directing award-winning short films and hundreds of corporate film to working as the MD of a film festival consultancy company.
Ted’s directorial debut, Slammer, is a full-length sci fi thriller starring Felicity Kendal. When pioneering scientist Ann Waterman is kidnapped, becoming a human lab rat in a futuristic prison cell, she must confront her personal demons and decipher the identity of her captor to uncover a mystery of global significance. Influenced by thrillers such as Dial M For Murder (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954) and Oldboy (Chan-wook Park, 2003), Slammer is a story with a future-tech twist, presenting a combination of reality and alternative reality.
The story of the production of the film is a thriller in its own right, being shot during the Covid-19 pandemic with all the extra challenges to staffing and location strategies. Extra crew were brought in to ensure the appropriate safety measures were in place and to ensure compliance with the ever-changing rules, including daily testing for those involved in the production, with the enduring possibility that they would have to stop at any point. However, they got everything in the can, which made the first preview screening at a full-house event at London’s iconic Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square in September 2021 even more special.
The film is particularly special for Worth because, as an independent British film, it has been possible with the mentorship, encouragement and support of alumni brothers Richard and Mark Breen, who were both in St Bede’s in the 1970s, with much of the film being shot at their offices which became movie studios for a week.
Ted recalls doing his first work experience as a film runner at Ealing Film Studios during the summer holidays of his second year at Worth. He said: “It was a seminal moment as it was whilst working on the film – The Secret Agent, a great film to work on with a truly incredible cast – that I decided to be a film director, and that spark became stronger during my media studies lessons at Worth taught by Fr, now Abbot, Mark Barrett.
“Other Worth staff who helped me along the way were the late Fr Charles and St Bede’s Housemaster, Nick Robinson, to name a few.”
It is fantastic to see that spark survived and has contributed to Ted’s successful career in film and media so far.
Worth likes to keep in touch and hear what former students are up to in their lives, and we run regular articles featuring alumni.
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