The Survivalist

Directed by Stephen Fingleton

In this organic post-apocalyptic drama, first-time filmmaker Stephen Fingleton’s main character, known merely as the Survivalist, struggles for his existence on a makeshift farm. When Kathryn and her daughter Milja wander into his life looking for food and shelter his carefully ordered world is upset. As the three of them start their restless co-existence, suspicion and dependence intertwine and allegiances shift from day to day. Self-preservation takes on a new meaning as each new mouth stretches the capacity of the farm, and the masked raiders are never too far off.

Director’s Statement:

The Survivalist has the feel of a contemporary thriller. The science-fiction setting is in the background; it is primarily a situation thriller centred on characters who are less concerned with why the world has gone the way it has, than simply surviving. The film avoids the now clichéd vistas of collapsed urban environments and dramatises some specific outcomes of the calamity. The audience is invited to piece together the backstory of the world from the clues laid out in the story, becoming more invested and believing more in a world they discover for themselves, rather than being told how it works. 

I placed importance on every detail being plausible and able to convince the audience of the broader calamity – every detail needed to feel authentic. The nudity and violence are frank and the actors have the appropriate look for a time of prolonged malnutrition. The production design is detailed in such a way to allow the audience to pore over the screen for clues as to the world and the Survivalists backstory. There is no make-up; specialist FX and bloodwork is visceral and convincing, not CGI. Clothing is worn, grubby, and filled with improvised repairs and stitching.The Survivalist is set in an analogue world. It has a slightly old and textured feel. We used natural light and real fire source light.

104 minutes


Country of origin:
Great Britain

Year of production: