Toilers of the Sea producers consider filming in Malta

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SQUEEZING in a fact-finding trip to Malta between UK lockdowns, the producers of a Toilers of the Sea film have said they are getting to the ‘serious bits’ now.

Producers Joy Mellins and David Shanks gave an update on 25 August about their Victor Hugo novel movie adaptation, Toilers of the Sea. (28692855)

In a video update on the website, the producers said they could not wait for the Bailiwick to lift its border restrictions as they were eager to visit to start preparing for the next stage of the film adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel.

‘We are moving into the serious stage now,’ producer David Shanks said.

After the disappointment of seeing the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society filmed entirely off-island, the husband-and-wife producer team of Mr Shanks and Joy Mellins said they wanted their movie filmed entirely in Guernsey, the setting for Hugo’s classic tale.

‘We’ve sort of done the fun bit which is coming up with the idea and putting the team together, but now we have to prove that we are proposing a financially viable proposition,’ he said.

However, squeezing in a trip to Malta before the UK government imposed its second bout of lockdown restrictions, the duo were pleased with what that island could offer them.

One of which was a tank that would allow for an ‘infinity pool’ look where sea scenes could be completed in controlled conditions.

‘Malta also gives us a world-class special effects house which will allow us to do all that we need to, and it gives us some tax rebates,’ Mr Shanks said.

Ms Mellins said that while in Malta, they explored the possibility of achieving the maximum from their rebate.


‘That will in turn reflect in our soft money, which means that by building our soft money, the amount of hard cash we have to raise is reduced.’

This would ‘de-risk’ the project for the investors, she said.

There are still offers out for the lead cast, which always takes time – especially when there is no solid financial proposal put forward.

Mr Shanks said: ‘But we are very confident that the A-list cast that the offer is out to now will take on board [the script, what the role will do for their career and what they can bring to the role] and want to be part of the team.’


Press interest in the project has gone world-wide, they said.

They have had video-call interviews with media channels from all over the world.

Ms Mellins added: ‘Toilers ticks all the boxes – it has a great branding of Victor Hugo, it’s an amazing story, it has romance and drama and, importantly, it has real quality.

‘We are very confident in the film’s potential and we are receiving so much interest that confirms that.’

Zoe Fitch

By Zoe Fitch
News reporter

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