Claire Downes’ directorial debut We Can Be Heroes, which filmed at The Bottle Yard Studios and around Bristol last year, will preview at this year’s FilmBath Festival on 4 November, followed by a special Q&A with the director, producer, author and cast.
The independent feature made by Heroes Productions based production at The Bottle Yard in September 2016, filming in purpose built sets and using prop stores and build spaces on site. Location filming took place in Bristol at Kings Head Park in Bishopsworth, facilitated by Bristol Film Office, as well as other sites in South Bristol supported by local communities.
Young Ben (Toby Haste) has to come to terms with his dad’s death in 9/11 and his mother’s subsequent disintegration – so he is sent to stay with his paternal grandmother (Alison Steadman) and grandfather (Phil Davis).
There he meets the unstoppable force that is Priti (Marissa Patel) – a Muslim girl from next door. When his bad-tempered cousin Jed (Sam Cox) comes to stay, the three of them form an improbable gang, becoming convinced that they have uncovered a terrorist plot.
Fiona Francombe, site director of The Bottle Yard Studios said: “We Can Be Heroes is an excellent example of a film production that made the most of regional talent both in front of and behind the camera. 95% of the crew were local to Bristol and a number of the cast had strong links with the city too.
“The production made a real effort to engage with local trainees, who gained valuable experience across costume, sound, lighting, production and location departments.
“We look forward to seeing the filmmaking careers of director Claire Downes and producer Thomasina Gibson develop further following this, their debut feature.”
Talent, creativity and spirit of co-operation
Producer Thomasina Gibson said: “As a producer living in South Bristol, I felt very strongly that the film should be made locally to highlight and celebrate the wealth of talent, creativity and spirit of co-operation that exists here. The Bottle Yard Studios – Fiona Francombe in particular – was instrumental in helping us bring this film to fruition.”
Cast includes Alison Steadman and Phil Davis, both of whom are familiar with working in the West. Actors with local connections include Marc Danbury, Noni Lewis, Richard Sumitro (who graduated from University of Bristol) and juvenile lead Toby Haste from Taunton. The film’s stunt director, John Sandeman, trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and lives in Central Bristol.
Comedy, tragedy, love and drama
We Can be Heroes screened at The Edinburgh Film Festival in June this year. The Edinburgh Reporter gave it five stars, describing it as “A stunning, poignant mix of comedy, tragedy, love and drama… This is an important film for the UK in 2017… a thought-provoking essay on what is happening in our country, on rights, responsibilities and prejudices. If you see only one movie this festival, this year even, see We Can Be Heroes.”
Adapted from the Carnegie Book Award-nominated title by Bath-based author Catherine Bruton, We Can Be Heroes is adapted by Ian Jarvis, Stuart Lane and Claire Downes, directed by Claire Downes and produced by Thomasina Gibson.
(image: We Can Be Heroes (dir. Claire Downes)
(from a press release)