A NEW production company, Guernsey Filmworks, has just been formed.
The creation of local residents Lars Janssen and his wife Charlotte Dawn Potter, it’s a division of Revasser Films, which is also based on-island.
‘I’m originally from the Netherlands and Charlotte is from the UK,’ explained 33-year-old Lars. ‘We already had family members living on the island. Guernsey and its people persuaded us very easily to make the move and live here.
‘Our plan is to create feature films, under the label of Guernsey Filmworks, that are locally produced and present historical or contemporary stories in or from the Channel Islands.’
The first three projects are already mapped out.
‘A coming-of-age football drama, Endgame, is the first feature film that will be filmed during summer 2021 in Guernsey. The story follows Finn, a young football player who has been training very hard, but his hopes of a professional career are complicated when he falls in love with a new arrival.
‘Recently we have started the casting process in collaboration with renowned UK casting director Finnian Tweed and have already attached several A-list stars.
‘Endgame will be followed by the action-thriller Brittle later that year. The third feature film, Priory Of Lihou, is a contemporary thriller set on Lihou inspired by the legend of the old priory and the murder of the monks, to be filmed in 2022. All these features will be filmed in Guernsey.’
Several well-known films have been shot in Guernsey. Blockhouse starring Peter Sellers and Charles Aznavour in 1973; The Story Of Adele H, starring Isabelle Adjani and directed by Francois Truffaut in 1975; and both Appointment With Venus starring David Niven (1951) and the TV series Mr Pye starring Derek Jacobi (1986) were filmed on Sark. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, quite famously, wasn’t.
How will Guernsey Filmworks differ?
‘By producing our films here in the Channel Islands we can directly stimulate the local economy and create exposure and awareness for Guernsey,’ said Lars. ‘The intent of the makers of the Potato Peel Pie film wasn’t anything like that. They were just looking for a location that fitted their historical setting, which they found in North Devon, UK. The only way they got the Guernsey people involved was by getting them to purchase a cinema ticket.
‘We want to engage with locals during the filmmaking process and get them involved on several levels of the endeavour. So you could call it a real community effort. Once the film has been completed we can all watch the end result in the cinema or stream it at home available to a worldwide audience.’
Local people will have the opportunity to be in the film.
‘We will hold castings for roles in the films. We will also engage locals to be part of our productions as an extra or join the film in any form, as a crew member, that would fit the need of the productions. Young creatives can apply to become an intern on the productions. We hope to inspire the younger generation of Guernsey to pursue filmmaking.
‘Our goal is to get as many people from Guernsey involved as possible.’
Lars has already completed a short film in Guernsey.
‘Lorelei is a WWI thriller-fantasy to be released in Q1, 2021, with the premiere in Guernsey because it was entirely filmed in Guernsey and Lihou and we were granted access to the German Underground Hospital to film several scenes and we recruited cast and crew members in Guernsey.
‘The story in short: After an intense air battle British pilot James Mannock crash lands into the ocean only to be saved by the mysterious nymph Lorelei, or so he thinks. He is pulled between two realities, in one he spends his days by the rock pool with Lorelei and in the alternate he is locked in an underground mental hospital. The question is, which one is real? Is Lorelei a desperate escape into the world of his imagination or is she a memory that no one but James will believe ever happened?’
Like everything these days, filming is subject to the coronavirus being kept under control, but as yet no one can predict when that will be.
‘It’s true that the coronavirus has disturbed a lot of film productions across the globe. Luckily many of those productions have all picked up shooting once again – mostly in the UK and Europe. The film productions that have resumed filming have undertaken new safety procedures to protect cast and crew. So film productions have learned to adapt to the pandemic. Although ideally we would hope that the situation would have improved by the time we begin filming in the summer of 2021. This is when we want to commence filming Endgame.
‘Currently, Guernsey has the huge advantage of being mostly free from cases of coronavirus. If the current situation would be ongoing by the summer of 2021 we would require all cast and crew members coming from outside Guernsey to fulfil the mandatory quarantine and testing first before we commence filming.’
To get the ball rolling, Guernsey Filmworks is looking for investors to fund its first feature film, Endgame.
‘We can also raise funds to finance our three-film slate – Endgame, Brittle and Priory Of Lihou,’ said Lars. ‘Several UK distributors and streamers have already shown interest in purchasing Endgame. We have certainty that we can distribute the film to a worldwide audience. By participating investors will receive revenue or return on investment via the worldwide theatrical, physical media and streaming sales. All kinds of investors are welcome to join participation.’
The island has a world-class creative community – from artists and performers to writers and musicians. Guernsey Filmmakers is a welcome addition.
Revasser Films’ Blue Blood – a horror short – which has had a very successful international film festival run and has won several awards can be seen at www.vimeo.com/revasserfilms
To find out more about Guernsey Filmworks, future productions and investment opportunities, visit www.filmworks.gg