Durham premiere for star-studded film shot in county

SINGING STAR: Gemma Arterton in her role as Elizabeth in Song for Marion.

SINGING STAR: Gemma Arterton in her role as Elizabeth in Song for Marion.

A FILM is to be given a premiere in the city where it was shot as it heads for the big screen.

Movie makers travelled to Durham to capture scenes for a Song for Marion, which stars Bond girl Gemma Arterton, former Doctor Who Christopher Eccleston, Vanessa Redgrave and Terence Stamp.

The old and new sites of Durham Johnston School, Cheveley Park Shopping Centre in Belmont, Framwellgate Moor and Pity Me Working Men’s Club, and areas of Wheatley Hill were the backdrop for scenes.

Culture chiefs in the region are finalising plans to show the film in Durham, as cinemas across the country wait to add it to their listings next month.

The feature follows a tale of love and loss as Arthur, played by Stamp, struggles with depression and expressing his emotions but is brought out of him problems by a choir leader.

His terminally-ill wife Marion, played by Redgrave, is embracing life and loves her time with the singing group, headed by Arterton’s Elizabeth, while the couple’s son James, played by Eccleston, also comes to term with his mother’s fate.

The tale has already attracted critical praise at the London Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.

The production, by Steel Mill Pictures and directed by Paul Andrew Williams, was brought to the North East with the help of Northern Film and Media (NFM) and Coolmore Productions.

Coolmore won planning consent in 2008 to build the £200million Centre for Creative Excellence in Dawdon, with the development to include a film studio.

The consortium hopes the promotion of the area through films such as Song for Marion will encourage investors come forward to fund the East Durham project.

NFM communications manager Dan Brain said: “Featuring a stellar cast and beautifully crafted script, Song for Marion is another feather in the cap of the North East film industry.

“It has made an important economic contribution by providing jobs for local production professionals and through regional spend on facilities and service industries.

“High-profile projects like Song for Marion explain why growth in the North East creative industries has outstripped that of many other sectors.

“They also make a compelling case for future public investment to build on the creative and commercial success achieved through film and TV productions such as Harry Potter, Atonement, Billy Elliot, Vera, The Paradise and Inspector George Gently.”

The film has also been linked to a genre which has become more popular in recent years as filmmakers aim their work at a mature audience. Others include Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Twitter: @EchoEastDurham




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