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LEE MORGAN ( OWNER D AND C FILM ) JULY 2015
John Tomkins is enthusiasic, dedicated and passionate about film. At D&CFilm we first came across John with his early films and videos. Since then John has made countless films in a variety of genres with an ever-broadening scope and ambition.
Throughout John's filmmaking career he has inspired and united those around him. His drive to develop a network of talent and to promote the region's filmmakers has led him to instigate a number of initiates, most recently the fringe film festival in Torbay
John's knowledge and desire has seen him submit interviews and articles to the D&CFilm site, which have been a great attraction, informing people about the local network and providing promotion.
John is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm for movies and his committment and drive for all things film are an inspiration.
CHRISTIAN POTOCCO The Babysnakes Dec 2012
Best album South West Music Awards 2012
A fantastic professional....really captures the moment of a live performance...looking forward to working with him again.....
'John's always good to work with full of enthusiasm and energy'
NICKY SWANN SINGER / SONGWRITER NOV 2011
Winner of best Acoustic Act 2011 at the South West Music Awards
The Phrase Multi Talented , gets thrown so often these days . Jt is the real deal . He makes music , producesfilms , writes scripts and even steps on my toes .. and presents his own radio show . I better watch out ... JT is coming and we need to join him . A complete talent
JACKSON COOPER / DJ / THE RIVIERA SHOWCASE
( LOCAL MUSIC RADIO SHOW ON RIVIERA FM) NOV 2011
A pleasure to work with John during his 1st foray into film presentation. He is enthusiastic, hard working, dedicated and highly talented---watch this space when it comes to more productions from his creative side.
DAVE CRISPIN CRISPIN ASSOCIATES
Writer and director John Tomkins is a major drum-beater for film in Torbay, Devon and the South West. The Runner is his fifth film, and you can but hope that the characters and situations in the film are based on the filmmaker’s nightmares rather than his experience.
A runner on a film set is the general dogsbody, the person that gets the coffee, fetches and carries, and tidies up to make sure everything goes smoothly. Runners have been called the footsoldiers of the industry. Put another way, a runner is the glue that holds a shoot together.
The Runner takes on the challenge of depicting the behind-the-scenes filming of period drama, The Importance of Everything, as well as the goings-on of a high-end ‘school for runners’.
All is not going well on the set of the period drama. The put-upon director Steven Elliot (played by co-writer and long-time Tomkins collaborator Tom Meanary) is being driven to his wit’s end by demanding lead man Patrick Haller (Sam Pike), and when aged runner Henry (James Cotter), who would give Mrs Overall a run for her money on who would be the slowest and most doddery, fails to deliver, he’s unceremoniously dismissed and a new runner is sought.
The production turns to the half talent scout, half sensei, Harry Wilkins (Jimmy The Bee Bennet) who channels his used car salesman charisma into leading the runner school. Wilkins collects a heap of hopefuls and the runner training begins.
The runner trainees include diva-wannabe Bridgette White, as Karen Murphy (Karen Fairfax); hapless mummy’s boy Nigel “Mikie to his mother” Oscarward (Tom Hutchings); and unlucky aspiring actor Ryan James (Ben Gilbert).
There’s a grotesque quality to some of these characters and the situations they create. There’s a sense of doom surrounding the demands of the leading actor, which also hovers above the cut-throat ambition of the trainee runners. Do people really behave like this? Well, yes, maybe.
For the runners, the crazy aspiration of Fairfax’s Murphy/White is balanced by Gilbert’s honest to goodness James, and Hutchings’ Oscarward as the sensitive, but kooky, savant, offers something of a halfway between them.
On set of The Importance of Everything, Evelyn Rei as Florence Wells adds a spoonful of stabilising sugar to the sourness of Pike’s leading man Haller. And you can feel the pressure on Meanery with his portrayal of a director increasingly squeezed.
At just over 20 minutes, there’s a lot to cram into The Runner – even the support actors, particularly the ‘crew’ of The Importance of Everything, develop characters of their own.
Cringey, funny, and ultimately uplifting, the unerring allure of film may well be summed up in the opening words of Jimmy The Bee Bennet: ‘I want a piece of that action
D &C Film Dec 2015
A DARK TALE
A Dark Tale is a blackly comic little gem that is both theatrical and cinematic in perfectly balanced proportions. Not many films can withstand any aspect of theatricality at all, but John Tomkins manages this almost as well as legendary directors Ingmar Bergman and
David Lynch— in his own inimitable and bleakly humorous fashion.
The film’s strength lies in its storytelling, which is philosophically and moralistically profound, but camouflaged so that these academic qualities are not evident. Equally fine is Tomkins’ choice of actors, and his careful direction of them, so that all characters, as eccentric as they are, seem completely real. I especially enjoy the movie’s silent moments, where the imagination can run wild among faces and landscapes, both interior and exterior.
Any weak points in the film are so negligible as to be rendered nonexistent, in my critical opinion. A Dark Tale will definitely satisfy any film lover’s palate, and is strongly recommended.
Read more: http://www.filmthreat.com/reviews/74999/#ixzz2tnBuHY8U
FEB 2014 Amy R Handler
A DARK TALE
A Dark Tale is a film so whimsically eccentric, it is impossible not to enjoy at least in some small part. There is much channeling of the Tim Burton classic Beetlejuice here, and it is no mean feat that this short film aspires to comparable levels of character invention and design with such a shoestring budget. Much of the film’s appeal comes from its visual merits – from highly impressive make-up courtesy of Sarah Hartley and Sally Morley, to the grand location that acts as the setting for the afterlife. Not short on dark comedy, much is also owed to a solid screenplay from the minds of Tomkins and collaborator Tom Menary. Cotter is impressive as the stuttering and bumbling Bob, a performance well-supported by his fellow actors’ turns as their respective quirky characters.
Despite some small technical issues with sound and picture, A Dark Tale is a triumph of creativity that cuts no corners and aspires to a level that betrays its small production scale. From location to costume to make-up, the film makes a point to establish a consistent and intriguing visual style, and is at no point let down by the story or characterisation that supports this. An excellent introduction to John Tomkins’ work for this reviewer.
THE LONDON FILM REVIEW (JAN 19TH 2014 ) JAMES CHERRY
A DARK TALE
I recently attended the premier of John Tomkins’ ‘A Dark Tale’ and was immediately struck by the support team he’s built from the ground up, consisting of actors, writers, make-up and costume specialists, etc. A real hive of local talent, all routing for him. The film itself is a simple but effective “second chance” tale told with an imaginative twist, and peppered with gothic styling and black humour. John is bursting with enthusiasm and this clearly affects those who work with him. I look forward to seeing where his filmmaking takes him in the coming years…
LEE FLETCHER MUSIC PRODUCER BEST PRODUCER 2012 THE SOUTH WEST MUSIC AWARDS
A DARK TALE
Great fun. A Dark Tale has it all - magnificent settings, a cast of hundreds humour and an outstanding performance from James Cotter.
DIANA TOWNSEND FILM PRODUCER WRITER
SCARRY CROWS AND DEADLY INTENT
A DARK TALE
Blown away by a brilliant local amateur production with a shoestring budget
RADIO DJ PALM FM
Nevertheless, considering the non-existent resources with which it was made (including a backpack standing in for a steady-cam rig), They’re Coming is a coherent and engaging piece of storytelling, which wraps up its convoluted machinations confidently. Tomkins has cast the film strongly (Morgan’s sinister voice is noteworthy) and successfully throws in much humour which works a treat (several moments focusing on characters running out breath during the various chase scenes are a delight).
Above all, it fulfills John’s wish to put Torbay on the cinematic map: there was a very particular thrill in seeing a character pursued across the footbridge near Torre Abbey Sands, with the sun gleaming off the calm sea in the background. Elsewhere, a confrontation on top of a car park is lensed in beautiful, noirish light with the lights of Torquay in the background. Not only does the film show off Torbay to a wonderful extent: it also showcases the enormously talented people within the community itself.
DEVON AND CORNWALL FILM MOVIE REVIEWER
They're Coming looks and sounds terrific, and makes good use of the talents of its volunteer cast.
Tom Menary comes believably unravelled in the main role, and receives sound support from fellow cast members Mark Vernon Freestone, Lexie Carducci, Kirsty Anne Symonds and more.
GUY HENDERSON THIS IS SOUTH DEVON THE HERALD EXPRESS