The Making Of The Other Side of The Lake
Taking my life long passion for drama into the world of film making was something I had always dreamed of. My directorial debut in film was 'Far From the Madding Crowd ' based on Thomas Hardy’s novel. It was unusual because it was made for a comprehensive school in Sherborne and featured students only as actors and crew, including Ben Jones in the role of Francis Troy. Ben, who now goes under the name Ben Hardy, played Peter Beale in EastEnders and Archangel in The X-Men Movies and most recently played Roger Taylor in Bohemian Rhapsody.
In 2015, now retired from teaching I set out to make my very own independent feature film, inspired and enthused after being contacted by Jim Burke from Dublin. Jim found my website and was interested in having his short story, 'Lost Love' made into a film. So I set out to write the screenplay for The Other Side of The Lake. Jim approved and so a filming schedule was set up.
Self -funded with a some help from Jim, meant the budget would have to be very small. In fact the film is being delivered on a budget of just under £10,000. So locations had to be found, sets built, costumes and props sourced, licences obtained and most importantly my actors and crew needed to be assembled.
I drew on the support of many ex-students from my teaching days as well as friends and family members who all shared my enthusiasm for this exciting project and were happy to volunteer their services.
My family played key roles both in front of and behind the camera. My daughter Carina was cast as the 18th Century passionate and love torn Eliza Little, and other roles went to my son Daniel and granddaughter Megan. Tristan Ward from Woking, recently graduated from London School of Musical Theatre, plays Tom the teenager and Justin Daish, a local musician, plays Jack Dantam, the ardent and spirited smuggler.
Molly Ramsay, who was studying Film Production at Southampton Solent University at the time, was lead camera operator and my husband Sparkie took over sound, built sets and also stepped in front of the camera in a key acting role playing the mysterious Daniel Hand.
Amelia Mumford, ( Now Amelia Clarke) my daughter -in-law made Eliza’s gowns and the smugglers costumes and together we assembled rails of costumes. With 18th century props and costumes surrounding us, the family home soon started to resemble a museum.
Shooting began in April 2015 with the actors and crew often working from early morning until late at night in all weathers. Our backdrop was the glorious Jurassic Coast.
Most of the 18th century smuggling scenes were filmed, rather aptly, on the cliffs and beach behind The Smugglers Inn, Osmington Mills.
After six months of filming I started the solitary task of editing the hours and hours of footage into what was at first a 120 minute film. I also compiled the sound track obtaining licences for background music and specific songs performed by Nick Cave, David Gray, Anthony and The Johnsons and Gabbi Young and other animals. And so The Other Side of The Lake transformed from a short story into a feature film created for the big screen. This was thanks to much enthusiasm, encouragement from friends and family who truly believed in the project and my enduring love of Dorset and its landscape, Film and Theatre.
The film premiered in June 2016 and won me the Best Director Award at the Lady’s First International Film Festival in Cork (ladysfirstinternationalfilmfestival.com). Costumes and cinematography were also highly praised.
But something bothered me still. The film was too long. If I was going to reach a bigger audience the length needed to be reduced and I wanted to re-arrange the order of some of the scenes. So a second edit began and here is the 2019 version of The Other Side of The Lake.