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Midlands Spotlight - The Long Way Home

By midlandsmovies, Sep 24 2016 09:38PM

Midlands Spotlight – The Long Way Home

Midlands Movies Mike goes over the top and finds out about The Long Way Home, a brand new regional film set during the Great War. Attempting to make an ambitious period drama with indie film resources the film has become a community effort with passionate people coming on board both on and off screen.

The film tells of a journey from an idyllic Shropshire estate to the hell of The Somme where the pressures of command and the trauma of war take their toll on a soldier who after months in the trenches begins to suffer from shell shock. Having already left behind an estate and fiancé, the terror of the trenches and a fearful gas attack have caused his sanity to suffer and as the war nears its end, he hits breaking point.

Director Jake Elcock explains that despite the impending centenary there is a surprisingly small amount of content about WW1 in circulation right now. But he does feel the production is adding to the tributes that will inevitably come. Now deep into pre-production, Jake explains the origins of the film and where the cast and crew came from.

“Well, everyone on the team has made short films in the past on minute budgets, either behind or in front of the camera and I am starting my second year at film school where I have had a chance to work with some of the most talented fellow students and staff that I have ever met”, says Jake.

“Many of the crew have studied at drama schools around the world and we have all worked together before, teaching and working at Pauline Quirke Academy Saturday morning drama academies”.

A principal cast is made up of Ben Seager (as John Hemmingway), Harriet Atkins (Mary) and Josh

Griffiths (William Armitage) with talented actor Richard Cartwright filling the shoes of Albert Wallace. Jake has also enlisted a small re-enactment company to work alongside the production in order to maintain historical accuracy.

The movie has been co-written by Jake and Jack Coleman who have been writing together since their early teens beginning with a series of low budget shorts. “This new film is partly inspired by Graham Jones’ book ‘The Apley Legion’. Graham is a fellow Shropshireman, living just down the road from me”, says Jake.

“I had a chance to pick up his book when the centenary first rolled around and discovered our region’s tragic war history. As such, I took the stories and accounts from the book and used them as inspiration for our film’s fictional regiment”.

With such a colossal team effort and the whole crew pulling together to bring the project to life, working on a shoestring budget meant a frugal approach was necessary. A proof on concept short was created for under £1000 and the filmmakers hope to raise £40k from a variety of sources to complete the movie.

The Long Way Home is also Jake’s first feature and he says the planning involved has increased exponentially but with increased funding (see their recently launched campaign via IndieGoGo here http://www.igg.me/at/thelongwayhome) comes an increased opportunity for named actors and a professional score.

Jake goes on, “While promotion is a long way off we hope that the final project will follow the path of festivals to gain recognition and to then secure some distribution off the back of this”.

And with a love for the genre he is making the film in, Jake says he enjoys the escapism of period and fantasy drama. “I’ve always been a huge fan of classic Merchant Ivory films, Douglas Sirk melodramas and the like. However, I’d love to tackle a House of Cards-esque political drama too. Something reasonably heavy but coming from a theatre background I’m very performance focused when I work and would love to bring that to bear on something nuanced and heavy".

And how was his filmmaking shaped by the Midlands?

“I live in Shropshire which currently has quite a thriving film community. Recently lots of films both large and small have shot in our county because of the beautiful rural scenery and lower production costs. WB’s latest, ‘The Girl With All the Gifts’ (Colm McCarthy) was shot entirely in our vicinity and independent films are coming our way in their droves to take advantage of the region and all it has to offer”.

With Jake and his whole team using The Long Way Home as a way of living their dream, Midlands Movies can’t wait to hear more about this project in the upcoming months and readers can watch the original proof of concept short above on VIMEO.

To find out more about the film check out the official pages below:


Facebook @thelongwayhomefilm

Twitter @tlwhfilm

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