Independent Film is thriving in the countryside. The Peg spoke to Wildgrass Films about their latest project.
Having been to this year’s Raindance Film Festival as a nominee for Best UK Feature, Wildgrass Films are very proud to be bringing their film home to share it with a Shropshire audience.
The film showcases Shropshire locations and Shropshire talent. The latter comes in the form of Tom Campion, a Shropshire lad who trained at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama and who plays the lead role in this strikingly beautiful film. It’s not all pastoral fantasy though, Campion had to work hard in preparing for the film, researching the effects of PTSD so that he could connect with his character’s story of returning home from war. And he gives a visceral performance on screen, indeed, it is hard to come away from the film without feeling moved by the psychological trauma his character goes through. During the film’s premiere in London, it was the impact of war and the film’s themes of isolation, loyalty and individual struggle which drew praiseworthy comment from the press.
“This films screams out what these servicemen can’t talk about- and have remained silent about- the atrocities of war that plague their mind.” [The London Tree]
What with the recent release of The Levelling , there does seem to be a preponderance of dark thrillers set in the countryside, and so we asked the film’s director, Jon Stanford, (who also grew up in Shropshire) why he developed the narrative in this direction. “It’s a combination of my personal interest in the psychological effects of war, and of also taking a landscape I know so well and using it as a character in the story itself. If there is a spike in the recent number of films set in the countryside it’s because the people who live there want to reveal the reality of living in rural isolation; sure it’s beautiful, but there is a darkness beneath it which most people don’t realise.”
Shropshire is represented on screen as both an idyllic place, but also a deeply unsettling place, and Stanford is interested to hear how Shropshire viewers respond to this portrayal of the county. But whether this is Shropshire, Hereford or any other county the most important point is that the story of Lily and Sam- a young couple struggling to save their relationship, is told with truth and honesty. And for that reason alone, it should appeal to the people of Shropshire, or indeed, anyone who is looking for something with more depth than your average glossy Hollywood film.
Having already screened Long Forgotten Fields at the HIVE in Shrewsbury as part of a small film festival, the Wildgrass team are looking forward to sharing the film with a wider audience at The Edge Arts Centre. The venue is known for its support of independent film, and so they feel proud to be included in its programme this summer. Watching Long Forgotten Fields seems like an easy choice to make; supporting local filmmaking and seeing an accomplished debut feature film from a director to watch.