Filmmaker Alex’s next project is set in 1372

A TIME of mayhem and blood-letting in Guernsey is the latest subject for local filmmaker Alex Bates.

Alex Bates' next film is based on Owen of Wales' invasion of Guernsey in 1372. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30499162)
Alex Bates' next film is based on Owen of Wales' invasion of Guernsey in 1372. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30499162)

The 22-year-old’s next project is called Born of Water, and will be set in 1372 when Owen of Wales arrived at Vazon with an army of men.

The Guernsey Militia met the men, but the local forces were badly outnumbered and after the battle at Vazon they fought a withdrawal action up to Town, where there was another big battle on the site now taken up by Elizabeth College.

Hundreds of the Guernsey militia were killed during the battles and they eventually retreated to Castle Cornet.

The invading army could not penetrate the castle, and they left after they were paid a ransom.

Several decades ago there was an excavation at Cobo that uncovered some old silver coins that dated to the time of the raid.

Mr Bates said when he heard that specific detail from some work colleagues it sparked the inspiration.

‘A lot of people have theorised that someone would have buried the coins there, their life savings, but they never dug them back up again after the raid.

‘So there are these theories that it could have been a wife who ran into a raider, and was killed by him after the raid happened.

‘Essentially it’s going to be a survival story about a woman whose husband goes out to fight against the raiders, and this woman is left all on her own having to hide valuables, and then she bumps into a rogue raider. It’s an intense, visceral survival story and it’s also exploring themes like faith as well. Catholicism was very important at the time, both in Guernsey and in Europe, so I really want to show how the faith contrasts with the violence that was going on at the time.’

Mr Bates has an actor in mind for the female lead, but he is casting for a male actor to play her husband.

The husband is aged between 20 and 30, and has a kind, stoic and confident character.

The short film is not going to be a war film, instead it will be more intimate, focusing on a personal story with the raid in the background.

After hundreds of years Mr Bates said the time gap meant he could apply some creative licence.

‘A lot of our knowledge on the raid is based on the ballad that was written about it, there aren’t any proper historical sources. So there is a certain degree of interpretation with it, which is what I really like about this story.

‘With Occupied I had to really stay true to every tiny detail, but with this there’s a bit more leeway to make up characters and tell the story that I want to tell with the background of that event.’

n Interested male actors can email

Mr Bates is also looking for people who may be interested in sponsoring the project.

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