An Eastbourne-based actress is writing and directing her first feature film.
Roseanna Scammell, 28, was born in Eastbourne and is using the seaside town as the setting for Mia, the tale of a young, free-spirited woman who gets into a relationship with an older man.
It could be the start of a life-affirming romance, perhaps even the set-up for a laugh-out-loud comedy, but this story takes a turn into thriller territory (probably with a 15 certificate) when it becomes apparent that Mia’s new love interest Sean might be dangerous.
“He has a dark past,” says Roseanna, trying not to give too much away. “She ignores warnings from friends and family, which consequently could be fatal for her.”
The project started when Roseanna and her friend Matt Townsend, an actor from the BBC, came up with a plan to create some showreel material.
Roseanna is currently a nursery manager in Uckfield, but has had acting experience in commercials, web series and short films.
“We were just looking to help each other out with our showreels to pursue our careers within acting,” Roseanna explains. “Then we started talking about the idea of aged up relationships.”
Roseanna and Matt realised that there weren’t many films tackling this subject so they decided to use the concept as a jumping-off point for something creative.
“We thought ‘okay that’s a route we can take’, you know it’s happening nowadays,” Roseanna says. “But then, as we were planning, we thought ‘this isn’t going to be just a showreel, let’s make this into a short film’.”
They met up with a producer (who is involved with the BBC as well) and she informed them that a short film is roughly 15 minutes.
As the duo developed their story and characters, it dawned on them that 15 minutes was simply not sufficient.
“We decided then to really put in our own time, effort and talents and go for an 80-minute feature,” Roseanna continues. “As the idea started mapping it started expanding. We started getting scenes and the script got bigger.”
“Now we’ve got all these people coming on board that are interested.”
The project is still in script at the moment, says Roseanna, meaning that only those on IMDB Pro can see the full film details for the time being.
However, she reveals that the current cast is Matt Townsend as Sean, Grant Huggair (an Eastbourne resident and long-time friend of Roseanna’s family) as Mia’s father Frank, Tommy Viles (an award winning model and actor from Plymouth) as JD, David Coulter as Raymond and Charlotte Nash as Jasmine. The film also stars Sarah Bryant, Joseph Simpson and Justine Pomies
Roseanna herself will be playing the lead role of Mia Campbell.
“We’ve only been writing it for the past eight weeks,” she reveals. “But we’ve done so much in such a short space of time because we’re so devoted to getting this done. We’re spending weekends down here looking at locations. We’re getting people on board so we’re looking to start filming around about September-October time. There’s much more to it than just writing and filming. It takes a lot. There’s getting locations, finding the right cast, getting your camera men, your editors.”
“We’re quite lucky to have these people on board already through our acting careers,” she adds. “Matt knows camera men, he knows editors, which really does speed the process up for us.”
The script may be coming together swiftly but making this film still presents other challenges.
“At the moment it’s low budget so it’s the costs,” says Roseanna when she’s asked about the more difficult aspects of filmmaking. “That has been the hardest thing because the locations are all fine. Eastbourne’s a beautiful place.”
The Crown and Anchor pub will probably be involved in the film for free, she explains, as well as an Indian restaurant that she knows.
“But there needs to be a massive thunderstorm that we create in the film,” Roseanna reveals. “And how do you do that without a big, you know, Warner Bros. studios or Pine studios?”
“What we do have is the right people,” she continues. “We’ve got the editors who can really use technology to edit the storms in and really help with that, so that keeps the budget down a bit. We obviously have camera men, we have all their equipment, so that helps us with the money side as well.”
Essentially, it’s the desire for realism that could inflate the costs of Mia, and it’s possible that the filmmakers will try crowd-funding or reaching out to investors in the near future.
“We have had an award-winning director who has approached us and taken interest in the film,” Roseanna reveals, which will hopefully be helpful in spreading the word about the project.
“Anyone that does want to be involved or has any equipment or locations we can use, they automatically become a producer because they’ll have credits on IMDB and things like that. If they get involved and bring something to the cast we repay them with credits because we are low budget. However, if it does have a buy-out then that gets shared out. We’re trying to make it exactly what it needs to be so we can have buy-outs on, you know, Netflix or Amazon, that kind of thing.”
People who would like to be part of Mia can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07710017030.
The filmmakers also plan to set up an Instagram page, as well as a Facebook page so people can follow them on their journey.
“We want to get the message out there that Eastbourne is such a beautiful place for filming,” says Roseanna. “We’ll deliver that message and we will be showing that within the film industry as well.”
So what about the message of the story itself?
Roseanna says it’s that everyone should be accepting of all relationships within legal boundaries, but not to enter into one foolishly.
“Not everyone is genuinely good,” Roseanna says, “and my character Mia knows that Sean, her love interest, has a very shady background, even to the point that his daughter wants nothing to do with him.”
“Love is love,” she adds. “But at the same time don’t go in with your head in the clouds.”
Click here to find out more about the film.
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