Toilers of the Sea producers could film in Jersey

EXILED from France, Victor Hugo moved from Jersey to Guernsey.

Toilers of the Sea film producers Joy Mellins and Dave Shanks. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31326502)
Toilers of the Sea film producers Joy Mellins and Dave Shanks. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31326502)

Now, more than 150 years later, a planned feature film of one of his most famous works, The Toilers of the Sea, could be moving in the opposite direction.

Toilers producers David Shanks and Joy Mellins, who lobbied unsuccessfully for financial backing from the States of Guernsey, have apparently had a warmer reception in Jersey, and may use the island as a location for filming.

After a Twitter post last week, that seemed to confirm that Guernsey would not now be the prime filming location due to a lack of support from the States, the film-makers have now confirmed they have looked elsewhere for locations and funding.

‘We are hoping to turn it from a Guernsey film into a Channel Islands film, and so we are considering Jersey for funding and as a location,’ said Mr Shanks.

‘With no backing from the States of Guernsey, we’ve really had to look elsewhere.

‘Using other Channel Island funding we will at least retain a link to Guernsey, but we have had to raise the money from whichever island we can. We are looking to make a further announcement in a couple of weeks.’

It is not clear at this stage whether Jersey’s government will offer any funding.

Guernsey’s Economic Development Committee confirmed at the beginning of the summer that it would not offer financial support for the project. They had been seeking between £500,000 and £2m. for help with production costs.

It said it was not comfortable financing a film with no guarantee of a return, and cited pressures on public finances and no prioritisation within the Government Work Plan.

The producers retain some hope that there might be some filming taking place in Guernsey. Mr Shanks said some locations could still feature. ‘From day one we’ve wanted to film in Guernsey. ‘Victor Hugo dedicated the book to the island and we want to ensure Guernsey is featured. We still really want to film at Moulin Huet, and use that location as Gilliatt’s home. ‘We also want to use shots of the Guernsey coastline in the background of the tank work we will be doing in Malta.’ Ms Mellins said that other aspects of the film’s planning were moving ahead. ‘Casting is progressing well, with a letter of interest from a leading actor and the script currently being considered by another A-lister. ‘Again we hope to be able say more in a few weeks.’ The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel Travailleurs de la Mer, which was published in 1866 and written and set in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The story follows a young fisherman, Gilliatt, who falls in love with Deruchette, the niece of a local shipowner.

The producers retain some hope that there might be some filming taking place in Guernsey.

Mr Shanks said some locations could still feature.

‘From day one we’ve wanted to film in Guernsey.

‘Victor Hugo dedicated the book to the island and we want to ensure Guernsey is featured. We still really want to film at Moulin Huet, and use that location as Gilliatt’s home.

‘We also want to use shots of the Guernsey coastline in the background of the tank work we will be doing in Malta.’

Ms Mellins said that other aspects of the film’s planning were moving ahead.

‘Casting is progressing well, with a letter of interest from a leading actor and the script currently being considered by another A-lister.

‘Again we hope to be able say more in a few weeks.’

The film is an adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel Travailleurs de la Mer, which was published in 1866 and written and set in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The story follows a young fisherman, Gilliatt, who falls in love with Deruchette, the niece of a local shipowner.

Top Stories

More From The Guernsey Press

UK & International News