About Olly

Welcome to Olly Blackburn's website. I am a filmmaker and screenwriter and occasional journalist. I've made the feature film Donkey Punch which I co-wrote and directed, have written and co-written several other films and direct commercials. I live in South London, close to the river.

I trained as and almost become a historian (16th and seventeenth century social and cultural history since you ask, and the Nazis) and was also very involved in writing and running student newspapers while at university. I wrote, edited and helped run an independent student newspaper called The Word, which was the NUS/Guardian paper and journalist of the year. I've also written freelance for many publications. An overriding love of film, and the help of a Fulbright Award, took me to New York University's Tisch School of the Arts where I studied film as a graduate student. While in NYC I was a PA on some small independent films, wrote press releases, worked as a freelance writer and was contributing editor on a cult downtown club 'zine called Project X amongst other things.

My NYU graduation film, Swallowed which got a Martin Scorsese post production award, won best student film at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and was selected for the Telluride Film Festival.

In Britain I made more shorts like Wonderful World (which playedfestivals and won best British film at the Manchester short film festival), and Rabbit which was one of a series of one minute films shown on British TV to mark the milennium. You can see them (or bits of them) on the site. I started shooting music videos and have shot promos for the likes of Tin Star, Embrace, Six By Seven, 9 Yards and '78 Stone Wobble' for Gomez (which got a nomination for the CADs Best Newcomer). I direct commercials too… Anonymous Learners for BBC Education won a CFP Young Directors Award at Cannes, HSBC, Carlsberg, National Lottery, Boots, Head & Shoulders, most recently BBC Local Radio which picked up BTA and LIA awards and the Moments Worth Paying For campaign for the Industry Trust which is playing UK cinemas through 2011.

I've also done a little bit of TV work - an episode called Flying Blind in the drama-documentary series Survivors, script-supervised by Paul Abbott. I've written film scripts for a long time. The ones that got made are 100 Years of Evilco-written with Erik Eger and Vinyan for Fabrice de Welz (Backup films/Film4) starring Rufus Sewell and Emanuelle Beart.

In 2008 I co-wrote (with David Bloom) and directed Donkey Punch produced by Warp X and Angus Lamont, a thriller set on a luxury yacht off the coast of Mallorca where three girls from Leeds and four lads working as crew discover what they're capable of after a terrible accident forces them to make make a series of increasingly fucked-up decisions... no one is to be trusted, events rapidly spiral out of control.

Donkey Punch had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to play festivals including Edinburgh, Sydney, Melbourne, Sitges, Austin, Amsterdam and Seattle. It was released theatrically in the UK by Optimum Films and in America by Magnolia films, has sold to many territories around the world and is regularly shown on UK terrestrial and cable TV. The Guardian called the film "painfully tense and expertly made", The Times said "Donkey Punch has a respect for formula but, more importantly, a commitment to doing things differently, and properly. A scary, truly edgy film" and the Daily Mail's Amanda Platell honoured it as "Quite simply, the most distasteful, depraved and nihilistic film I have ever had themisfortune to sit through". That is the highest possible praise it has received. In America the NY Press said "Such a unique thrill. Director Blackburn develops the scenario with remarkably shrewd finesse", the New York Times wrote "There is no transcendent agent of evil; the enemy is within… These careless hedonists are convincing", The Village Voice called it "A Knife in the Water for the era of Ugly Briton, package tour imperialism" and Harry Knowles said "Damn I fucking loved it… This is an incredibly well made movie." You can see the trailer, clips and read more press on it here.

Right now I have several projects (that I've co-written or written) in development – a remake of Patrice Leconte's heist thriller The Specialists with Optimum films, auto action comedy Modify Or Die with Warp and Optimum Films and 70s rebel-rock action thriller Children of the Revolution amongst others...

Olly can be found on Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter.