Emily Beecham in The Calling © Meave Films
Written and Directed by: Jan Dunn
Produced: Elaine Wickham
Production Company: Medb Films
Kent Filming Locations: Ramsgate, Broadstairs, University of Kent Canterbury Campus, Wingham Wildlife Park, The Churchill Tavern, Barnsole Vineyard, St Lawrence College, Salmonstone Grange, Viking Bay
The Calling is a film about Joanna (Emily Beecham), a university student in her final year chooses to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming a nun, despite strong opposition from her family, friends and boyfriend. Arriving at the convent, a closed Benedictine order, she discovers an eccentric community of nuns Joanna begins her spiritual journey under the guidance of progressive Sister Ignatious (Brenda Blethyn). All seems well until an unexpected secret is uncovered, which puts Joanna’s future at the convent at risk. Only her bond with Sister Ignatious can guide her to fulfill her own destiny in a surprising twist of the plot…
Directed by Jan Dunn and produced by Elaine Wickham, of Kent based Maeve Films (formerly Medb Films) the same team who created the critically acclaimed ‘Ruby Blue’.
Susannah Harker, Brenda Blethyn, Rita Tushingham and Jan Dunn on the set of The Calling © Meave Films
Emily Beecham (Hail, Caesar!,Into the Badlands) stars as the protagonist Joanna, alongside Brenda Blethyn (Atonment, Pride & Prejudice, Secrets & Lies) as Sister Ignatious. The supporting cast includes, Susannah York (Superman 1978, A Man For All Seasons).
The film was shot entirely on location in Kent in the districts of Canterbury and Thanet. In Ramsgate, St Lawrence College was used for the nuns quarters whilst The Churchill Tavern featured as Joanna’s local pub. Salmonstone Grange in Margate,a beautiful 14th Century retreat, was used as the setting for St Bertha’s Priory. Various external scenes were filmed . In Broadstairs various external scenes were filmed in popular locations such as Viking Bay. The Thanet area has previously been used for filming including Not Going Out (2013) and Whistle and I’ll Come To You (2010).
In Canterbury the University of Kent Canterbury Campus doubled as Joanna’s university, whilst Barnsole Vineyard was the used for St Bertha’s Vineyard. Wingham Wildlife Park also featured doubling as Africa in the final scenes of the film. Rustom (2016), Boomers (2014) and Only Fools and Horses: The Jolly Boys Outing (1989) have previously filmed in the Canterbury area.
The Calling will open the fifth edition of the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF) on April 15th. Writer/director Jan Dunn is a previous winner of the prestigious ‘Best Feature’ award at LIFF with her 2008 Kent based film Ruby Blue . She was able to use the £50,000 prize money, towards fund this new project.
The film was the first to benefit from Kent County Council’s Development Fund, the initial investment of £75,000 was then match funded by other Kent Businesses including Courtyard Studios, Screen South, Maidstone Studios and The Hop Farm. The investment secured more than £500,000 spend into the local economy and also provided training for six young people from Kent on the production.
The Calling was released in 2009 and is now available for DVD purchase.
For more information about Kent’s Filming History please visit our Movie Map.