Al Boyd is directing his first feature length film starring villagers from Edale
A filmmaking student from Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Digital Arts (SODA) is directing his first feature length crime film, currently being shot in the Peak District’s picturesque village of Edale with the help of 80 of its resident volunteers.
MA Filmmaking student Al Boyd moved to Edale in September 2021 at a time when regular village events like open mic nights and the annual pantomime could not go ahead due to the COVID pandemic.
Keen to still get involved in village life, Boyd set about directing the film which is set in a fictional rural village and is based on a script by fellow Edale resident and scriptwriter Mark Wallington whose work includes 2007 film The Man Who Lost His Head, starring Martin Clunes.
Boyd has a background in documentary filmmaking and has credited his course at Manchester Met for teaching him valuable skills across the various aspects of filmmaking, in particular fiction film, which he’s been able to put into practice while working on the film – which has the working title of Just do Something.
Boyd said: “The project has become a great outlet to make use of the valuable fiction film skills I’ve learned during my course at Manchester Met. It’s been fantastic to have access to the AV facilities and equipment from the University to help create the film. I’m really grateful for the support and advice I’ve received from my tutors and from the AV team for this project.”
Dr Jenny Holt, MA Coordinator at SODA, said: “Al has huge talent, ingenuity and a can-do attitude as a filmmaker. We’re really proud of his achievements in directing such a large-scale and ambitious community feature film while studying on the MA Filmmaking course, and are looking forward to seeing the finished result!”
More than 80 Edale residents have volunteered to take part in the production – mostly amateurs to the world of filmmaking – and feature both in front of and behind the camera.
Working with a small budget, villagers banded together to make props by hand including signage and costumes, while musicians in the village are writing the score for the film featuring English folk music.
The heist film centres around the closing of a school which is at the heart of the village. Parents and villagers come together to try and raise enough money to keep the school open, but their various fundraising efforts don’t always go to plan, culminating with them finding creative ways to get the money which aren’t always legal.
Shooting started last September and the crew are working on one shoot per week across various locations in the village.
With shooting due to complete this autumn, Boyd plans to collaborate with young filmmakers from the local area on the editing and hopes for a screening to take place next summer to showcase the final film.
Boyd explains: “It’s been a real honour to be part of the project and it would be wonderful to be able to have a screening for the final film. My main goal is for everybody who was involved in the film to come together, watch the final film and just be really proud of everything we have achieved.”
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