Prestigious award calls Kent stars to Edinburgh

Brenda Blethyn in The Calling

Brenda Blethyn in The Calling © Maeve Films

The Calling is nominated for Best British New Feature

A feature film by a Kent-based filmmaker has been thrust into the national spotlight by being nominated for the prestigious Michael Powell Award for the Best British New Feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

With a star-studded cast, including Ramsgate-born and BAFTA award-winning actress Brenda Blethyn OBE, Golden-Globe winners Rita Tushingham and Amanda Donohoe and Academy Award-nominated Susannah York, ‘The Calling’ is one of just nine films to be nominated for the Michael Powell award this year.  It has generated in excess of £500,000 of spend into the Kent economy before even being screened.

The film is set in present day Kent and follows the story of a young girl who wants to be a nun. It is the result of a pilot project between production company Maeve (Medb) Films, based in Ramsgate, and Kent County Council’s Kent Film Office.  Kent Film Office already works to promote Kent as a filming location and the pilot was aimed at finding out what economic benefits directly supporting film production in Kent could bring.

Kent County Council provided £75,000 of funding for the film and also worked to secure match funding.  This initial investment attracted other investors to the project including Screen South, Courtyard Studios, Maidstone Studios and The Hop Farm, which resulted in more than £500,000 of spend into the Kent economy. The investment also secured jobs for eight trainees from Kent on the production.

The film will have its international premiere on Sunday 21 June at 9.15pm at Cineworld 6, 130/3 Dundee Street, Edinburgh and Brenda Blethyn, who is also Chair of the Kent TV and Film Board, will be there to talk about the film and the importance of the film industry.

Kent Film Office has generated £13million of income for Kent in the three years since it was set up and works in partnership with Screen South to support the film industry in the county.

Emily Beecham in The Calling

Emily Beecham in The Calling © Maeve Films

Tanya Oliver, Director of Strategic Development and Public Access for KCC, said:

‘The success of this pilot is just the beginning of what we can achieve by working with film producers in this way.  We now know that film production can bring real economic benefits to Kent and we’re going to build on this exciting initiative.

‘We’re thrilled that this film has been recognised by such a prestigious nomination ” it’s a testament to the hard work and enthusiasm of everyone involved.’

Brenda Blethyn, Chair of Kent Film and Television Board, said:

‘Im really thrilled that this film has been selected for the Michael Powell Award for the Best New British Feature.  The success of this pilot project shows what tremendous results a relatively small amount of funding can have.

‘This film’s success puts Kent’s creative talent on an international stage and as a Kent resident I’m especially proud to have been involved with it.’ 

Jan Dunn, Writer and Director of the film added:

“I’m delighted to be putting Kent on the map again with my second nomination for the Michael Powell Award after my first film, Gypo, was also shot entirely on location here. It’s wonderful to receive recognition at this level and I think the pilot has been hugely successful for everyone involved as well as for the county of Kent.”

The Calling will also be shown at this year’s Swale Film Festival on the 11th July at 19.50.