A Coincidental Engagement

After years dealing with the dead, Jack and Maddy discover their relationship is one foot in the grave.

A supernatural short set in an alternate reality, in which dead souls are transitioned to the next realm by trained professionals in the art of Inter-Realm Mediation (IRM).

We join Inter-Realm Mediators Jack and Maddy on a job, late one night near woodlands, with a client’s corpse in the back of their van.

Their business motto is “We do your dead, so you don’t have to.”

After years spent helping clients bid farewell to their loved ones, their own relationship is dead in the water. But, they still have a job to do; will they overcome their differences and work together?

About The Production


Kal Sabir started writing A Coincidental Engagement during the pandemic in summer 2020.

One of the many symptoms of government-imposed restrictions on the population was the breakdown of relationships.

Confined to close quarters with little breathing space, couples were forced to face their growing dissatisfaction with one another and themselves.

Kal wanted to explore this impact on film. Early drafts were set completely within a home setting, and, unfortunately, read too much like an episode of a TV soap.

Redrafts changed the setting to woodlands at night – we join a couple sitting in a van with a corpse in the back.

Now set in an alternate reality, something is not quite right with the world.


For the role of Maddy, someone unafraid of voicing her opinions and taking charge, Kal approached award-winning actress Vivien Taylor.

He had worked with Vivien during his residency with the National Theatre of Scotland in 2022, and was impressed by her creativity and versatility.

Kal had written the role of Jack for himself, as part of his agenda to cast himself in his own work.

Although, going forward that may be less of an occurrence.

Jack is loyal and confused, protective and non-committal. A boiling pot of paradoxes.

The pivotal role of Mr Burn was played by Sani Mamood. Unfortunately, we can’t reveal details of Sani’s participation. We can share that his audition for the part was exceptional.

Crew Prep

Most of the crew of Inner Devils, a co-production for Blackdust Films in 2022, agreed to come aboard.


  • DOP Michael Westcott
  • Sound Recordist Daniel Marra
  • Make-up Artist Hannah Daw
  • Assistant Director Martin Smith

New crew additions include:

  • Frankie MacEachen as Unit Stills Photographer and Production Assistant
  • David Goodall as Fight Director
Behind the scenes (left to right): DOP Michael Westcott, Vivien Taylor as Maddy, actor/director Kal Sabir as Jack

Principal Photography

Behind the scenes: DOP Michael Westcott on location setting up for a take | Photo by Frankie MacEachen

The entire film was shot on a private location in Kilwinning, Scotland.

We were fortunate to have the Scottish weather work with us.

For the entire shoot from May 1st to May 3rd, 2023, there was not a single drop of rain, nor anything more than a light breeze.

Filming days started at 5pm on location for senior crew to set up for the night’s filming.

Apart from one scene, the whole film was shot in sequence.

Thanks to the hard work of all cast and crew, who endured three late nights (from 6pm to 1am), we’re really pleased with the footage.

A salute of gratitude goes to the location owner, Perry, who was an absolute gentleman.

About The Cast

Vivien Taylor: Maddy Stone

Vivien Taylor is an award-winning Scottish actress and plays the feisty Maddy.

She won Best Actress at The Monthly Indie Shorts Film Festival, as well as at The New Jersey Film Awards for her role of Evelyn in Tealight.

She plays the role of Maisie in award winning short film Censure directed by Emmy Nominated Director, Richard Bazley & starring Tom Conti.

Vivien also plays Leila in Episode 6 of TV drama Annika for UKTV which aired in the UK, America & Australia.

Website: VivienTaylor.com

Kal Sabir: Jack Graeve

Kal Sabir is a Scot(ish) actor, writer, and producer.

Described as a professional, dedicated, and passionate performer, Kal enjoys working on new writing and off-the-wall projects.  

Notable credits

FILM: Mary Queen of Scots (Working Title), Bell Bottom (Pooja Entertainment), Tehran (Maddok Films), Single Salma (Pooja Entertainment), Gran Turismo (Sony Pictures)

TV: Slow Horses (Apple TV+), Armchair Detectives (BBC)

Website: KalSabir.com

Sani Mamood: Mr Burn

Sani Mamood plays the pivotal role of Mr Burn.

Since graduating from Edinburgh Napier University in 2020, Sani has worked exclusively on screen, with his recent works ranging from multimedia commercials to full-length feature and independent short films.

Sani is excited to be making his return to the indie-film platform.

Instagram: @SaniMamood0

About the Filmmakers

Kal Sabir: Writer | Producer | Director

A Coincidental Engagement is Kal’s second project as a producer, and his first as a director.

Kal completed the Producers Foundation Certificate via Raindance Film School during the early onset of the pandemic in 2020.

The seemingly never ending lockdowns allowed him to focus more on writing and producing his own work.

He wrote Eat Me, a one minute short film for the Raindance Lockdown Lovers Film Competition 2021.

It had two actors (him being one) filming their scenes in different locations for COVID safety. The footage was then edited together (by filmmaker and regular collaborator Martin Smith) to give the illusion that the characters were interacting in the same space.

Later that year, he wrote The Key, based on an idea by Martin Smith, for the BIFA Host 3-minute Horror Film Competition.
In October 2021, he set up his company Restless Chimp Films Ltd as a vehicle for producing his own work.

Michael Westcott: Director of Photography and Lighting

Michael never goes out without a camera as film-making is his job and passion. He has been in the industry for the last 12 years filming/photographing a broad range of projects ranging from weddings all over the UK to commercial projects for a wide variety of clients. He also has a huge passion for wildlife.

Taking on the role as DOP for short films is something he feels he likes the most and hopes to do more of in the near future.

Link Tree: linkt.ree/michaelwestcottfilms

Martin Smith: Assistant Director

Martin is based in Glasgow and has had a variety of IT related jobs over the years.

His main interest has always been audio/video and he would take any opportunity to turn his work in that direction. He has done a few short films and screen-related projects over the years.

He currently works at The University Of The West Of Scotland and also as a freelance videographer, producing corporate training videos and media based projects.

His dream is to one day making a proper Godzilla movie!!

Daniel Marra: Sound Recordist and Foley Artist

Daniel studied sound production at West College Scotland and later sound design at Edinburgh Napier University.

Since graduating, he has been working as a sound recordist, dialogue editor, and foley artist for film/TV projects.

Website: danielmarrasound.com

Hannah Daw: Make-up Artist

Hannah is a Scottish special effects make-up artist with a passion for creating unique characters and creatures for film, TV, and theatre.

Website: dawsfx.com

Instagram: @daw_sfx

Frankie MacEachen: Unit Stills Photographer and Production Assistant

Frankie performed onstage and in short films for over 15 years but has now moved behind the camera.

She is an award winning photographer with a passion for portraiture and dark landscapes. She considers her style of photography as storytelling and in making the move from one creative medium to another, she utilized her process of capturing the essence of a character and building a narrative from within.

Frankie is currently a member of the RPS Women in Photography Committee and a contributor to their quarterly magazine.

Instagram: @boldfrankphotography

David Goodall: Fight Director

David stumbled into the Creative Arts completely by accident in 1981, and hasn’t regretted a day since.

His career has been eclectic to say the least, and the wide range of skills and experiences he has collected over the past 40 years have served only to enhance his overall understanding of his fields of expertise.

He is a composer, director, writer, musician, actor and fight arranger.

In addition to this, he works as a facilitator, trainer and lecturer, speaks several languages and was a chef.

Website: SoundsMove.com

Update: Sadly, David passed away due to a serious health condition in September 2023. He was an absolute gentleman and truly supportive of the team during rehearsals and on location. A great soul who will be sorely missed. RIP David.

Jack Benfield & Oli Jones: Music Composers

Oli Jones
Jack Benfield

Oliver and Jack discovered their shared obsession with exploring and creating film music over a pint after a 2020 lockdown.

Since then, they have become close collaborators, providing bespoke composition and sound design for animations/short films.

Passionate and diligent multi-instrumentalists and accomplished musicians in their own right, they bring enthusiasm and imagination to every project they take on.

Clients include: Middle East Eye, Sky Arts.

Jack’s website: JackBenfieldMusic.co.uk

Oli on Instagram: @ODJones_

10 Frequently Asked Questions with Kal Sabir

1. What made you write A Coincidental Engagement?

The pandemic.

Well, specifically a symptom of the lockdowns in 2020: relationship breakdowns.

Couples being forced to be around each other more often than normal, and realising that actually they don’t love each other as much as they thought they did.

Being locked up together for months on end magnified the smallest misdemeanour, misinterpretation, or misunderstanding.

I wanted to explore that on film.

2. How much did the film cost to make?

Ah yes, that old chestnut. For production costs, we managed to raise some funds via crowdfunding and private investment – around £6000.

Of course, that figure does not include marketing and festival submissions. Funds for those are being raised through other means.

3. A Coincidental Engagement is your first directing project. How was the experience?

Empowering. I thoroughly enjoyed bringing my vision to life with the help of talented cast and crew.

There are some things I will do differently in future, such as not give myself a leading role and be director on the same project, something tends to suffer.

4. You also wrote, produced, and acted in the film. How did you manage it all?

Planning, otherwise a person would go insane.

You find yourself listening to your inner voice and focusing on what needs attention. But ultimately, having a plan in front of you on a noticeboard, with a checklist for every task at each stage, helps a great deal.

5. What are your plans for the film?

It’ll be hitting the festival circuit. Ultimately, the goal is VOD distribution.

6. Can you tell us anything about Sani Mamood’s character, Mr Burn?


7. Please?

Next question.

8. The credits list a fight director. Were there a lot of stunts in the film?

No, it’s not that kind of movie. There is one ‘scuffle’ which required the expertise of Fight Co-ordinator David Goodall. Safety first!

9. A Coincidental Engagement is a supernatural fantasy. Is this your preferred genre?

Not particularly. It fit the story I wanted to tell. I want my next project to feature more action, so in terms of genre I may mix action with a sprinkle of sci-fi, adventure, or comedy.

10. Any more projects in the pipeline?

Always. Once all festival submissions for A Coincidental Engagement are complete, I’ll be continuing development of projects I started a while ago, including one inspired by the John Wick franchise, and a play which started life as part of my residency with the National Theatre of Scotland in 2022.


  • A Coincidental Engagement on IMDB
  • LinkTree (including social profiles)