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Sky unveils joint horror short film, doc project led by creative with Down’s syndrome

Otto Baxter (left) on set with actor Adeel Akhtar

Production has wrapped on a cinematic horror short and associated documentary from writer and director Otto Baxter for European pay TV broadcaster Sky.

According to Sky, The Puppet Asylum is the first original commission of this scale from a major UK broadcaster to be written and directed by a person with Down’s syndrome.

The 30-minute short film, set in Victorian London, is an allegorical horror biopic written and directed by Baxter as a reimagining of his own life, from birth to becoming his own master.

It is produced by Peter Beard, Bruce Fletcher and Daisy Allsop, with Sally Phillips executive producing.

The film is accompanied by feature doc Otto Baxter: Not a F***ing Horror Story, which follows the 35-year-old through a year of change as he makes The Puppet Asylum. It is directed by Bafta winners Fletcher and Beard and produced by Allsop. David Nath is the exec producer.

The Sky Original joint project was commissioned for Sky Documentaries by Poppy Dixon, director of documentaries and factual, and Hayley Reynolds, commissioning editor.

Produced by All3Media-backed Story Films, in association with Sky Studios and Archface Films, and developed with the support of the BFI awarding National Lottery funding, The Puppet Asylum and Otto Baxter: Not a F***ing Horror Story will air on Sky Documentaries and streaming service NOW in 2023, following a theatrical window.

NBCUniversal Global Distribution handles international sales of Otto Baxter: Not a F***ing Horror Story on behalf of Sky Studios.

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