Mark Abraham
In the Blood filmmaker Mark Abraham

In The Blood is Hackney filmmaker Mark Abraham’s first feature length film, and it wasn’t easy to get off the ground.

The story follows young drug addict Johnny (Joe Cole) who is kidnapped by a criminal gang and taken to an isolated farmhouse, where he is forced to crack open a safe using skills taught to him by the gang’s former safecracker, his deceased grandfather.

Abraham says: “It took about five years to get together. It was hard. Raising the money was difficult and getting everything together was difficult too. I’d never done it before, so I was learning on the job, trying to piece it all together.”

With influences ranging from American crime films such as The French Connection to French classics A Prophet and Mesrine, Abraham was determined to make something different from a typical British crime film.

“I wanted to do a more European kind of crime film,” he explains. “I wanted to do something a bit more real – a film with a story rather than stupid people doing stupid stuff.”

Featuring some of Britain’s finest acting talent such as Mike Leigh regulars Alison Steadman and Phil Davis, it is surprising that the film was made on such a low budget.

“It cost under £150,000. We had problems that we had to overcome in a different way. We paid everybody across the whole board the same amount of money,” says Abraham.

The film was shot in Abraham’s hometown of Dunstable too, which kept the costs down. They had to make the most of what was available to them.

“We had to do something low on cost, high on drama. No stunts and no stupid stuff,” adds Abraham.

Although his first feature film, Abraham has experience working with some of Hollywood’s top directors – the likes of Christopher Nolan, Guy Ritchie and Cary Fukunaga.

Getting to work on films such as The Dark Knight, Sherlock Holmes and Jane Eyre has been invaluable experience for Abraham: “You can’t pay for those kinds of experiences. To see Hollywood directors first hand, how they make a movie – it was the best education you could have.”

Despite the challenges he faced making his first feature, Abraham is proud – rather than relieved – now the film is finished.

For crime film aficionados (or even young directors looking to make their first film), In the Blood is certainly worth a look and has been confirmed to be screened at the Rooftop film club in Peckham on 15 June at 9pm.

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