ECHO readers may recognise the work of Niki Cornish, a professional photographer from Southend, whose pictures we have featured on our pages many times across the years.

Now Niki has developed her skills to fit the role of film director, her debut short about to be screened at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival opening this Friday, January 14.

The title is Locked, a film noir horror which "delves into the dark and inhumane side of human nature with cynicism and doomed love".

As well as directing the film, it was also written by Niki, the filming carried out by 'blind photographer', Ian Treherne.

The film stars Southend based internationally renowned actor Wendy Morgan,  [Yanks (1979), Mrs. Lowry and Son (2019), Edie (2017) and The Jewel in the Crown (1984)], with a cast and crew of Niki's friends.

Niki said: "Locked was written at a time of global unrest, a time when loneliness was pivotal in many people’s lives. Locked is paradoxical to its own storyline.

"Working as the official photographer for the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival for many years, I was inspired by the many independent films I watched.

"I thought it would be exciting to combine cinematic portraiture and film.

"Locked is like a visual feast of rolling black and white portraits accompanied by incredible musical scores."

Talking about the changes made to the script along the way of filming, Niki said: " If you were to ask Ian he would tell you ‘she just made it up as she went along’.

"I knew what I wanted to portray and getting there was an ever evolving journey."

She added: "Locked was made with spontaneity and passion.

"The love, devotion and pure talent of everyone involved shines out for itself.

"This is my first ‘talkie’, one which was made with a blind photographer with a hearing impairment and me, the director, also with two hearing aids, so it had it moments as you can imagine!

"Thank goodness for MUA and actress Debbie Lane for translating between camera man and director in times of need!"

Locked will be shown at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival on Sunday January 23, at 5.30pm, along with two other films, a full length titled Whisper and another short titled Blood, Sweat and Gimp Masks.

Tickets are £7.

See the full schedule from Friday January 14 until Sunday January 23 at