The Runner came about when director John Tomkins saw a production of Individual Theatre’s The Tempest in the spring of 2014. After the show, John met with the lead actor, Ben Gilbert, to discuss showreel material. John suggested putting together a 3-minute short, but this quickly expanded into a 20-minute film with around fifteen locations! And so began John’s latest collaborative film: The Runner.
To help make the film, John brought together most of the awesome team from his earlier films such as They’re Coming, and the critically acclaimed A Dark Tale and Indietro. Formed in 2012, this collective of creatives has rapidly expanded in number and expertise, and with this film we were delighted to welcome the talented make-up artist Laura Harvey -who successfully transformed James Cotter into a man 20 years older for his role as Henry.
Key to making the film was casting, with talent assembled from right across the South West (including Jimmy The Bee Bennett, Karen Fairfax, Tom Hutchings, Evelyn Rei, Sam Pike and many more great acting talent). Among their number were directors, producers and theatre company owners who gave their time voluntarily to work on the film. Plus some o the crew made cameos in the film (see if you can spot them).
John said: “With cast and crew in place, filming commenced in mid-June at Torre Abbey (as the location for the film-within-a-film), and the staff here couldn’t have been more accommodating for us. We then moved on to Haldon Forest for the training camp scene â€“ great fun to shoot â€“ and later the Merlin Cinema in Torquay where the production were granted permission to film in Screen 1 for Harry Wilkins’ intro scene.
“We’re enormously proud of everything we’ve achieved with The Runner, but most of all in that we’ve succeeded in highlighting the south-west as a viable filming location and demonstrated that, with the terrific creative support and networks that exists down here, great things can happen!”
After being entered into the festival circuit, the film has had screenings at Exeter and St Austell colleges in November 2015, where John has talked about the making of the film and 2013 film A Dark Tale.
He spoke about the production process, team work and how important casting was for both films. He also answered questions from students, and there was a special preview of some of the cast of the next film Rowena Ghoul.
- Ben Kernow | It is alright for a project to scare you a little - August 11, 2022
- Long Way Back | intelligent and unique road movie - August 2, 2022
- Exeter Cinema Heritage | what cinema means projection - July 25, 2022