My previous film was about how fear inhibits and paralyses social cohesion in South Africa.  I was drawn to Mexico and the area along its northern frontier. Was it possible that people there could transcend their fears when living under such extremes of violence and murder? The asylum I found in the desert offered striking and very uninhibited examples of people dealing with their fears, misfortunes and nightmares. It was a very different type of gated community and what had been described as an abstraction in the previous film was now a real experience writ large that I could document.  Dead when I got here is not so much a progression from the last film as an encounter with the nightmares alluded to previously.


I’ve been making films independently and teaching film practice for over 20 years. I’ve won awards at festivals and been nominated at IDFA for the film Until When You Die. In 2010, my last film about fear in South Africa, Forest of Crocodiles was broadcast in over 100 countries on BBC World, with additional sales to Portugal, New Zealand, Sweden, The Netherlands, Spain, South Africa and New Zealand. For further information and more work see The Deep River.

Mark Aitken


Chuck Bowden

Executive Producer

Chuck's book, Murder City inspired the film and it's with deep sadness that the work wasn't completed before he passed. Chuck said of the film, is about finally feeling the full dimensions of what it means to be human and what it costs to face that meaning.

On viewing early edited sequences, Chuck commented that this was the film he always wanted to make but could never find the money for. He was soon enlisted to raise money but ended up doing much more than that. He collaborated with Mark Aitken for over three years and it's safe to say that Dead when I got here is as close to that film he never made as can be. 


Having spent ten years working in sound post-production as an editor and dubbing mixer in a wide range of areas including feature films, TV and advertising, Alex is now also a sound recordist, having studied at the UK’s National Film and Television School.


Alex edited sound on Mark Aitken’s previous film, Forest of Crocodiles (2010).

Alex Bryce

Sound Recordist

John studied film on the B.A Media & Communications and MA Film making at Goldsmiths University, London.  Graduating in 2012 he has quickly established himself as a sound recordist in the UK.

John Thorpe

Sound Recordist

Mark Pilkington - Composer

Mark has played electronics and synthesisers in experimental groups including Disinformation, High Mountain Tempel, The Stëllä Märis Dronë Örchësträ and solo as The Asterism.

He is also a founder and curator of the publishing imprint Strange Attractor.

Sibila Estruch - Editor

Sibila is a recent graduate from the National Film School in the UK. She previously worked at TV3 in Barcelona. 

Jonas Andreas Jensen - Sound Edit & Mix

Jonas is a recent graduate from the National Film School in the UK.