2021 is set to be a very special year as Coventry has been chosen as the UK City of Culture.
2021 is also the 100th anniversary of Coventry’s War Memorial Park. We aim to make this film with as much Coventry talent as possible, both on screen and off, and hold the premiere in the park on July 9th 2021, exactly 100 years after the opening of the park.
We are hoping to bring a carnival atmosphere to the park and build a festival around the premiere itself.
In addition to the big outdoor screening of the film, the event on July 9th will feature an art installation, created by a local artist, showing the historic events from which the film draws; a behind-the-scenes documentary and performances by other local acts.
We will invite family and children’s groups from areas of Coventry less served by the arts, giving them not only an opportunity to meet the cast and crew of the film, but to also learn more about their city.
Thoughts from the writer Robert Wilkinson:
This is a coming of age story that deals with how differently we all deal with sorrow and grief, but also with the adventures that life can bring if our minds are open to them.
I love writing stories, and I have written and performed countless highly acclaimed theatrical plays over the years. I also have a passion for film and want to develop my screenwriting talent. I hope this will be the first of many screenplays I write.
Why this film? Well my kids have grown up playing in Coventry's War Memorial Park and we supported my father in-law every November as he marched proudly with his fellow veterans in the Remembrance Parade. He said to me once "It's a place to remember those who helped bring peace. It's a park for peace really, not war."
When the park was disrupted a few years ago, it made me wonder what would happen if it was taken away from the people of Coventry. I began to research the background of some of the people remembered with a plaque at each tree and realised what a special and important place it is: their stories, their history and indeed the life of the park itself. As a child I was fascinated by ghost stories and I wondered if there might be some lingering spirits who might act as Guardians to the park.
The lead character, Robert, is very close to my heart. I worked closely with Corley Centre, a secondary special school for students with complex social and communication difficulties. Many students are on the autistic spectrum, and when I wrote the film I wanted to make the hero in their likeness: Robert is drawn from the influence of some of these children and of my own experiences, having lost my dad at an early age. Robert’s personal battle is to deal with the death of his dad, a soldier, and help to preserve the park in his memory.
It is our intention to cast actors in this film who are from Coventry and the Midlands area. We have several well-known and working actors in mind for the roles who have considerable experience in theatre, television and film, as well as being diverse in ethnicity and age.
These include: Nitin Ganatra (East Enders); Jordan Bolger (Peaky Blinders); Graeme Hawley (Coronation Street/Emmerdale/Shameless); Tamla Kari (Three Musketeers/Cuckoo); George McCluskey (The Zombie King); Charles Kay (Midsomer Murders/Holby City); Chris Jury (Lovejoy); Carla Mendonca (French and Saunders); Lisa Dillon (Bright Young Things); Gillian Barber (X-Files/ Supernatural/Bates Motel); Sinead Matthews (Ideal/Way to Go/Mr. Turner); Billie Myers (Purpose); Emma Fryer (Ideal/Chickens); Declan Bennett (East Enders); Richard Armitage (The Hobbit/Hannibal/Ocean’s Eight); Hazel O’Connor (Breaking Glass).