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The Bollington Movie all set for release at the 2014 Festival

PUBLISHED: 00:00 26 August 2013

Alex Mattinson dances for Simon Wood

Alex Mattinson dances for Simon Wood

not Archant

Belly dancing, singing, acting and parades... it’s all in a day’s work on the set of The Bollington Movie. Sara Walker finds out more

It’s Sunday afternoon and the normally quiet back streets of Bollington are full of noise and bustle as locals gather for their regular filming session.

The small Cheshire village may seem an unlikely choice of film set, but the actors, support staff and location owners couldn’t be more enthusiastic about a film project, which currently has a working title of ‘The Bollington Movie’.

The brainchild of awarding-winning freelance cameraman James Nicholas, who’s worked for Sky, ITN and Channel 4, the full length feature film will be made and distributed for a budget of only £30,000. Actors, technicians and local businesses are all giving their time and expertise for free to support the film, which will be shown at the Bollington Festival on May 20th 2014 and in local cinemas.

James said: ‘The film - a feel-good story about two sisters leading different lives - has received fantastic support from the community. At first, the whole thing was an experiment, I’d never directed before, and we weren’t sure if it was even practical. The village has really pulled together though, and taken this project to their hearts. We’ve had help from professionals and amateurs from make-up artists to writers, and many local children are involved, both in front of and behind the cameras.’

Bollington local Alex Mattinson, who plays one of the leading roles, has a degree in drama.

‘It’s a great story that’s been written especially for us by a local writer Debra Tracey, and then adapted into a film script by another Bollington lady, Una Hosey. It’s the story of two sisters, whose lives go off in different directions. One sister moves to London then returns to Bollington, while the other sister never leaves. it’s a love story with a twist, but I’m afraid I can’t give away the surprise ending.’

James and his partner, accountant Amanda Stott, have such faith in the film that they’re investing their own money in kit, vehicles and venues.

‘The budget is extremely tight,’ says Amanda, ‘but so many people have given their time and skills to help us, from photographers Oliver Wood and Steve Bridgehouse to John Gresham, one of the composers who’s helped write our score.

‘Shop owners and venues have helped enormously. Arriva buses have donated a bus and driver for one scene, and the Canals and River Trust waived their usual filming fee.

James added: ‘Bollington Town Council, in particular, couldn’t have been more helpful. We’ve also done filming on a Virgin train, and they agreed not to charge us a fee.’

‘We’ve had no problem getting the children involved, from our ten-year-old actor Theo Wharton to Sam Timson, also ten, our trainee cameraman and lighting engineer. We’ve also got 13-year-old Oliver Chilton, who wants to be a sound engineer and is proving very talented.’

The script also called for a child with Downs syndrome, and 12-year-old Bollington local Isabel Orme, proved the perfect choice. Her mother, Anna Orme, has also been seconded into acting.

‘The original plan was to show it at the Bollington Festival in 2014, but several local cinemas have also asked to show it, so we’ll be getting a bigger audience than we thought,’ says James.

‘We’re now 85 per cent of the way there, and we’re working on editing the story. We hope to have a song written for the film. We’re still got the big parade scene through the centre of Bollington to shoot. That’s scheduled for the September 29th, and if any local organisations want to get involved in the parade, we’d love to hear from them.

‘We’ll be launching the film at the Bollington Festival, with a slightly tongue-in-cheek mini Oscars ceremony, complete with red carpet and black tie. We thought we should go out in style.’

For more details about The Bollington Movie or the festival, please visit www.bollingtonmovie.co.uk, or www.bollingtonfestival.org.uk.

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