The Cullercoats Fishlass film to premiere at Tyneside Cinema

The North East youngsters behind a film titled The Cullercoats Fishlass are to attend the film's premiere at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema

Filming of the Cullercoats Fishlass at Cullercoats Bay
Filming of the Cullercoats Fishlass at Cullercoats Bay

Young people are getting the red carpet treatment when their film premieres in the North East.

The Cullercoats Fishlass was devised, written and filmed by eight to 18 year olds at Act2cam, a film school based at the Linkskill Centre in North Shields.

And all 160 of the young people who saw the film from conception to completion will get to see their film on the big screen at Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema on November 23.

The film was produced by Steve Woods, a former teacher from Whitley Bay, who heads up Act2cam.

He said: “I loved the grassroots feel to the film. In the first half term of any year each of the groups of young people come up with their own idea. Then they democratically select which idea they want to do.”

Act2cam was set up seven years ago and has produced more than 40 short films and five feature films.

Costume dramas like Mr Selfridge inspired the young filmmakers, who also got ideas from the Mitchell and Kenyon archive footage of British life, and especially of the North Sea Fisheries in North Shields.

They chose to set the drama in 1910, so they could film at Beamish Open Air Museum in County Durham. Events in 1910 included a railway strike and the passing of the Conciliation Bill, so-called because it only gave a million women the vote.

Steve, 41, said: “There’s a lot of social history. The film does get quite political.”

The Cullercoats Fishlass shows how the railway strike affected all aspects of life at a time, when the old order was being challenged.

Steve added: “The suffragists were in full force and just beginning to get militant. They were just beginning to ramp up the pressure.”

The unlikely heroes are a young fishlass and an entertainer who band together.

Filming was done at Beamish and along the coast, including at The Spanish City in Whitley Bay and Tynemouth Longsands in North Tyneside.

Steve is keen to get young people involved in all aspects of production, which is taught at his film school.

He hopes that once young people have shot a film with Act2Cam they will continue to be involved in film making.

He said: “We are now recruiting young people aged eight to 18 for our next film, which explores a power struggle between rival groups in a local school. It will be shot in July 2014. We are looking for young actors, writers, film makers and designers.

“Proceeds from the film will go to children’s charities, NSPCC and Barnardos. We are also looking for businesses who would like to sponsor our next film,” said Steve.

Ten per cent of the sales from The Cullercoats Fishlass DVD will go to Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade and 60 copies will be given free to North East schools.

There are limited tickets available for the November 23 showings which are at 10am, 11.30am and 1pm at the Tyneside Cinema on Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. Tickets are £10.

For tickets, details about the film and more about Act2cam, go to www.act2cam.com or call 0191 270 4255.

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