Published: 16:20, 20 October 2021
| Updated: 16:01, 21 October 2021
An actor turned film maker is gearing up for the release of his first feature length movie after shooting stalled during the pandemic.
For Dartford-based Louis Findlay the follow-up to his directional debut is as much a labour of love as a realisation of his dream to make motion pictures.
The former Leigh City Technology College pupil's acting career began playing Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd and Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire on stage and he has also performed as a parkour athlete.
But it was behind the lens where the 30-year-old earned Hollywood plaudits for 2017 short film, Days To Come, which focused on his own struggles with acting auditions and mental health.
It's been more than four years in the making but now Louis is set to roll out his next title, a largely self-funded feature film.
No Mercy tells the story of a young boxer named Reece "No Mercy" Mercy in the lead up to his first professional fight as he attempts to follow in his father's footsteps as a champion.
However, tragedy strikes along the way which sends the protagonist on a rampant path of self destruction and discovery.
For his latest film, Louis - who was introduced to boxing by his dad - was keen to tell the story happening "outside the ring" and focuses on his working class upbringing.
Filming took place on a shoestring budget of under £2,000 at locations around Dartford using a mix of actors and friends with sparring scenes shot at the Tree Estate Boxing Club in Princes Road.
But just as Louis was applying the finishing touches to his boxing bout in which he plays the lead, Covid-19 struck.
He said: "I was hoping to finish No Mercy at the start of last year and then the pandemic happened so we were literally sitting and waiting to see if we could get outside and film.
"I was pulling my hair out thinking 'I'm never going to get this done'. We have come so far and it may have been for nothing."
With gyms shut he faced the prospect of concluding the film without the training montage scenes – a staple of the boxing movie genre.
At this point, Louis considered pulling the plug on the project but was reluctant to give up in light of the time and effort invested from friends and family.
He said: "The biggest investment is the amount of time people put in and that is not something you can get back. For me it was the biggest cost."
In the meantime, he conducted a safe set course online, providing guidance and information on best industry practices to resume productions with Covid-19 safeguards in place.
"We were patient and waited until the government said we could get back out," he added. " And as soon as they gave us the green light, we did it."
Lockdown also saw another huge change-up in the young actor's life as he became a father.
But with life returning to something resembling reality he is now glad to have finally concluded his latest film project.
After cutting together a new trailer, Louis shared a private screening with close friends and family ahead of the premiere.
"It is a huge relief to have it done and I'm excited and nervous at the same time," said Louis.
"It not just a film, it is a piece of myself I'm putting out there for people to view and I hope people like it."
He added: "Come next week I'm going to to be playing it to a venue of 200-plus people who are very excited. I just hope I can do everyone proud."
The premiere of No Mercy is taking place at Longfield Academy next Wednesday, October 27.
Doors open 6pm and tickets are free but must be booked in advance before Monday, October 25. Click here for more information.