The original story of the Pit and the Pendulum was set in the Spanish Inquisition, when thousands of people were captured, tortured and punished simply for following their faith, for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is remarkably resonant with events in the world today. Torture in the Spanish Inquisition was not used for punishment, but was used to elicit information. Can we say 'Enhanced Interrogation'?
Our adaptation of Poe's story is based in the contemporary world where religion and politics still live in uneasy tension. Ordinary people of faith are caught up in events beyond their control and end up persecuted for practicing the 'wrong' faith.
The irony is that the 3 main religions in conflict - Judaism, Christianity and Islam - are all religions of the Book and all worship the same God, albeit with different names - Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah. These religions are collectively known as the Abrahamic religions.
Our Prisoner is a man of peace and faith - we do not know which faith - who is arrested and held for questioning. Alone in the dark, he begins to hallucinate.
He imagines that he is brought before a religious tribunal comprising judges from the 3 Abrahamic religions.
Each judge demands to know which religion the Prisoner practices. He defies their demands, partly because no matter what he says 2 of the 3 judges will reject him, but also because he will answer only and directly to God.
Denounced as a heretic, infidel, blasphemer by the Tribunal, the Prisoner is sentenced to death. He finds himself in a cell where he is tortured and suffers intense hallucinations that become increasingly terrifying.
But the true reality of his situation is worse than any terror he could have imagined.
The Prisoner: Stephen Marcus (Quills, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Kinky Boots)
Christian Judge: Paul McGann (Dr Who, Hornblower, Luther)
Jewish Judge: Nicholas Farrell (Chariots of Fire, Diary of Anne Frank, Torchwood)
Muslim Judge: Jeffery Kissoon (Space 1999, Hamlet, Dirty Pretty Things)
The Clerk of Courts (the Devil)/ Intelligence officer/Father Time: Tom Bonington
Guard with dog: Kris Sommerville
Interrogating guard: Paul Blackwell
Prisoners: Adam Anouer, Faz Buffery, John Duggan, Can Somer, Jack Sapworth
Swiss Guards: Alex Dee, Chris Bell
Court Security: Ricky Clarke, Robert Bond
Angel of Death: Chloe Farnworth
Waterboarding Houris: Chloe Farnworth, Sophie Dillon, Mimmi Brorsson
Army Medic: Susan Fordham
Rescuers: Dean Allsop, Anthony Farelly, Matt Sapworth, Paul Swinmurn
Writer/Director: Fiona Bavinton
Producers: Clare Cahill, Patricia Rybarczyk and Fiona Bavinton
Production Manager: Patricia Rybarczyk
Production Coordinator: Carolyn Davies
Production Assistants: Brendan Carr, Claire Watson, Natalie Blackman
Runners: Leila Newton-Fox, Jonathan Sayegh, Alyce Yessouroun
1st AD: Clare Cahill
Script Supervisor: Taz Ayoub, Natalie Blackman
Casting Director: Elleanne Green
Director of Photography: Dawid Pietkiewicz
Additional Photography: Paul Jenkins
Camera Technical Consultant: Andrew Martin
Steadicam: James Elias
Focus Pullers: Josh Green, Neil Irwin
Clapper/Loader: James Chegwyn
Gaffer: Simon Olney
Lighting team: Adrian Atkins, Alex Macaulay, Dominik Palgan, Jan Vaceanu Stoica
Art Department: Paulina Rzeszowska, Becky Slaytor, Deb Spicer Rowley, Karel Jurga
Prison set construction: Jason Desporte
Costume Designer: Kim Tizard-Lee
Makeup Designer: Ali Reith
Makeup team: Alexis Dolman, Danielle Killick, Anna Inglis Hall, Victoria Stride
VFX Supervisor: Kostas Kotsoliotas
VFX and opening titles: Fiona Bavinton
SFX/Lead Armourer: Matt Strange
Armourer: Clive Shaw
Stunt Coordinator: Russell MacLeod
Animal handler (dog): Kris Sommerville
Animal handler (rats): Kate Mitchell, John Braniff, Tom Mitchell
Sound Mixer: Tom Harburt, Jake Whitelee, Nate Kastoryano, Simon Hornett
Boom Operator: Josh Ward
DIT: Alan Andrade
Production Stills: Alex Brenner, Polly Tootal
EPK: Daniel Salter, Shane Sirman, Brendan Carr and Carolyn Davies
Thank you for supporting our film!
Juliet and Tom Honey
Simon and Nicki Carter
Betty Ann Noir
and our six anonymous supporters - we thank you whoever you are xx
A lot of people and companies have helped to make this film possible and we want to publicly thank them.
Andrew Martin from 5K Digital (www.5kdigital.com) for the Epic camera we used on the shoot
Jason and the team at Chislehurst Caves (www.chislehurstcaves.co.uk) for a jaw-droppingly awesome location and practical support
Matt and the team at Decode (www.decodeuk.com) for their help with getting the lighting to and from the location
Matt Strange, armourer, for weapons, and SFX consultancy
Kris Somerville at SSU (www.shootingstarsuniforms.com) for the military uniforms and dog handling
Joe McNally at Joe's Jibs (www.joesjibs.co.uk) for helping out with the Bartech Follow Focus system
Kate Jones at English Touring Theatre (www.ett.org.uk) for use of a rehearsal room.
Neil Horner of Imageynation (www.imageynation.com) for the extra Epic cards when we were shooting HDRx