Once again Rye has shown its ability to attract the film world and local production company Stories into Light have been here for the last few days filming scenes for a short film to be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May this year. So if you have noticed curious goings-on around the Leisure Centre, the Pipemakers Arms, Rye Harbour Sailing Club and even out in Rye Bay, this is the reason.
The Rye Bay sequence presented its own problems. With a significant swell giving rise to short, steep waves some members of both crew and cast found it not entirely comfortable. Initial filming was on Roxanne – a 38ft sailing yacht and regular competitor in RHSC races. The camera was then due to be transferred to the Harbour Master’s launch, acting as a support boat, for more distant shots. The Harbour Master vetoed the plan because of the danger of damage both to the boats and possibly to crew and equipment. The cameraman, who was responsible for equipment said to be worth around £250,000, looked visibly relieved. Eventually the transfer was made back at the RNLI jetty and the boats headed out again for the final shots, and with the tide ebbing fast, they had to be quick if there was to be enough water to enable Roxanne to return to her mooring.
The film, to be entitled The Gun Man stars Rye-based actress Hayley-Marie Axe, (Silent Witness, Welcome 2 Karachi, May I kill you) who is also co-producer and will be known to film buffs as the director of the Rye International Film Festival, in December. It tells the story of a young woman, Hils (Hayley-Marie) who is researching gun culture, and her growing relationship with gun enthusiast Gram played by Gordon Kennedy (Robin Hood; Absolutely) which arouses the suspicions of his ex-gangster friends (ex ‘Eastenders‘, Sydney Kean and Brian Croucher) as they grow closer. The film ends with a final twist.
Co-producer Glyn Carter said,”We want to use local talent wherever possible and all the actors are local to this area, as is cinematographer Dirk Nel, who has recently been the cameraman on ITV’s forthcoming Maigret series, starring Rowan Atkinson. We want to show that we can make a great short film on a tight budget. We can go to bodies like the British Film Institute and private investors, and move on to make a feature film. We still want to keep to our principles of using local talent where possible, both in front of, and behind the camera.”
Talking of local talent, Hayley-Marie said: “We’ve also been able to give students at Rye’s Studio School invaluable experience on set, working on costume, make-up, and as runners. They’ve been fantastic, full of energy and enthusiasm! We have had a lot of local help and would particularly like to acknowledge the assistance of Michel and Sally Duvoisin”.
Rye News wishes the film every success at Cannes.
Photos: Stories to Light Productions, John Minter