ANOTHER star of the local filmmaking scene is Pork Chop Pictures, founded by MARK BRENNAN and CARL AUSTIN. Here, we find out about the talented duo’s past, present and future, including their inspiration, awards and collaborative working process.  

IT WAS an instant case of kindred spirits when film fans Mark Brennan and Carl Austin met working for video production company Face TV seven years ago.

The duo, who are now housemates, recognised that their interests dovetailed nicely, and set to work in 2008, founding Pork Chop Pictures.

Carl, a Portsmouth native who shoots, edits and has a very strong visual artistic sense, and Basingstoke born-and-bred Mark, who enjoys putting projects together, writing and producing, entered Deeper Still into the very challenging 48 Hour Sci Fi London competition.

Given a title, prop and opening line on the Saturday morning, they had until the Monday morning to submit a finished film, and came up with a tale of a man who’d had a row with his wife, stormed out for a drive to calm down and unexpectedly ran over an alien. 

Mark, who attended Harriet Costello School and Queen Mary’s College, seems to judge the piece quite harshly in retrospect. “We were quite rightly nowhere near the shortlist,” he admits. “That year the winner was Gareth Edwards who went on to direct Hollywood film Monsters!

“It served as a massive learning curve for us. We learnt that when you have little or no money, time or resources you have to focus on ideas that you can realistically make using what you do have - so re-making Star Wars was out.

“This led us to more character–based work. CGI, explosions and car chases were not achievable for an outfit who paid their cast and crew in sandwiches.” 

With this knowledge in the bank, the following year they entered Meat – two actors filmed in an office, a field and at one of their friend’s houses (check it out on YouTube) – into the 2 Days Later Short Horror Film Competition.

Not only did the film make the final shortlist of 13 from around the world, but it was awarded Best Screenplay, Best Actor and the highly-coveted Audience Most Popular award.

Since then, their upward trajectory has continued. Aided by a supportive Basingstoke film community including their good friend Geoff Harmer, a successful local director, they have continued to release films which have been shown all round the world.  

Their most successful to date, 8 Ball, has been shown in South Korea, Argentina, Slovenia, Holland and in the UK, winning awards for its script along the way.

Mark revealed: “Everything we have made so far has been done without any budget at all. Everyone has given their time and talent for free and we’ve been very lucky to have worked with some brilliant people. 

“We would dearly love to be in a position where we can increase the scale and reach of our projects and one day work on film-making full time. Geoff has shown that you don’t need a mountain of money to get a feature filmed made as long as you have the ambition, drive and a lot of like-minded people around you. So in a way he’s left us no excuse! Thanks, Geoff!

“Crowd-funding has become a very popular tool for independent film-makers and is the next step for us to take. We want to make films that are longer, more cinematic and eventually even feature length.”

Currently, Pork Chop Pictures are working with the producers of a crowd-funded feature film called The Fitzroy – a post-apocalyptic 1950s comedic murder mystery set on a submarine hotel in Margate - at Dresden Pictures to document their journey through post-production and production.

“That will be an invaluable experience for us,” Mark continues. “It’s also the kind of film we’d love to see to can’t wait to see the end product.

“We also have a new project to work on in the summer which will be our biggest project to date - which we’re both very excited about – as well as feature scripts in the pipeline for when the right time comes.

“We really want to thank everyone who’s worked with us, supported us and watched our work so far and we hope to have much more on the way.”

Keep up-to-date with Pork Chop Pictures online at, via their Facebook page or by Tweeting @PorkChopPics.