Toilers producers pledge it will make it to screen

TOILERS of the Sea will still make it to film screens despite funding setbacks, its producers have said.

There was a lot of public interest when Toilers of the Sea film producers Joy Mellins and Dave Shanks held an informal Q&A meeting at the Guernsey Yacht Club. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30963617)
There was a lot of public interest when Toilers of the Sea film producers Joy Mellins and Dave Shanks held an informal Q&A meeting at the Guernsey Yacht Club. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 30963617)

Earlier this week Economic Development confirmed it would not be financing the project, which would have required investment of between £500,000 and £2m., as the committee said there was no guarantee of a financial return.

As the film was not identified as a priority in the Government Work Plan, members felt they could not justify funding it due to current pressures on government finances.

Producers Joy Mellins and David Shanks said the setback was a reflection of Gilliatt’s experience in the Victor Hugo story.

‘Every time Gilliatt thought something was going to happen, something knocked him back,’ said Mr Shanks.

The production duo said they were disappointed at the decision, but too much hard work had gone into the project to give up now.

‘The film is too beautiful and has so much potential, we have worked so hard to get to this stage,’ said Mrs Mellins.

‘I respect ED’s decision, they are looking after the taxpayers’ money. But I feel for islanders who have been so supportive, positive and enthusiastic. We weren’t overly optimistic to start with but we hoped they would see the benefit of it being filmed here and the money being put back into the island.'

They are now exploring different avenues for funding.

‘We are going to seek out conversations with investors to see if they will still come to the table and if not we will look elsewhere. We aren’t going to sit still, we are determined to give it everything we’ve got as we already have.’

Mr Shanks said Guernsey was still the ideal location for filming.

‘We do have one or two places we’re enquiring about, but the natural home is Guernsey and the Channel Islands,’ he said.

‘It is a missed opportunity, I really think we had major support in the States. We are frustrated and sorry for ourselves but also for the people of Guernsey.’

The project has been in the works for the past three years with Malta lined up as one potential filming location since then, but more recently the producers had settled on Castle Cornet.

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