Little pigtails on the red carpet

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THE premiere of new Manx made short film Pigtails was a real swine of an event.

As they walked down the red carpet into the Villa Marina, the film’s three island actors, Ryan Cowley, Ben Awkal and Rob Smith, had the limelight stolen from them by two cute micropigs bred in Kirk Michael.

But once inside the Broadway Cinema all focus was totally on the film makers again.

The dark and intense tale of two brothers living in a caravan with their mother who is sleeping with a farmer was shot in various island locations last summer.

The story was written by John Craine, of Ballasalla and his film school buddy Geoff Bellhouse. John then became director of photography while Geoff was director.

At the event, Geoff, of London, told the audience that making the £12,000 film had only been made possible by the Isle of Man Arts Council, the many local sponsors and the genorosity of the Manx people - especially as the UK FilmCouncil has just been axed.

The 1970s set was designed by Lynda Reiss who proudly commented that her work was so realistic that people had complained that there were people living in a caravan on The Ayres.

The warm colours, 70s style and slick shots were the winning factors in this project. And the two young actors, both making their debuts, did an excellent job of portraying their difficult characters.

As well as Ryan and Ben, other youngsters were offered the chance to work on the film set via a trainee scheme run by the arts council.

‘You guys really set a high bar and worked really professionally,’ said Geoff. He also thanked Andrew Moore ‘one of the kindest people I’ve ever met’ for letting them film on his Pooil Vaash farm.

The film cost £12,000, which may sound like a lot, but John explained: ‘Without the community spirit which helped make this project happen it would have cost at least £40,000.’

Chairman of the Arts Council Quintin Gill MHK thanked members of the private sector for supporting the island’s arts.

As well as a screening of the new project, the audience were also given the opportunity to put questions to Geoff and John as well as producers Dave Armstrong of DAM Productions and Bev Lawley of Ex-Isle Casting Agency.

The film will now be sent to film festivals worldwide with the hope of being selected for a screening.

‘We will aim high and see where it takes us,’ said Geoff.

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