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Between Weathers casts 30 local actors

Director Jim Brown.

THE PRODUCTION team behind the Shetland movie Between Weathers have said that they have now cast all the local actors they need.

After a week of auditions in Lerwick and Fetlar, director Jim Brown said he had chosen 27 from the 140 local actors who had come forward.

These roles are in addition to the three local actors James Mackenzie, Ria Moncrieff, and Dugald Gunn who had already won roles in the movie during auditions last year.

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Initially planned for spring 2011, the tale of a modern David against Goliath set-up in which a small island population fights tooth and nail against a corporate giant, will now be shot later in autumn 2011 and spring 2012.

Dubbed the 21st century version of the classic Local Hero story, Mr Brown said the investment of a “very large six figure sum” by George Stroud, an Ellon-based businessman with strong Shetland links, had resulted in a funding breakthrough.

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He said he was confident that the many pieces of the jigsaw were now falling into place: “It is going to happen, I am absolutely confident, it is going to happen.”

The four main lead roles for the movie have not been released yet, but speculation is rife that Mr Brown’s production company b4Films has been able to sign up some major stars.

The auditions last week were filmed by a team from the BBC’s The One Show, to be broadcast later this summer.

All the music for the movie will be recorded in the new Mareel, Shetland’s new music and cinema venue, due to be opened in March next year.

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The director hopes to premiere the movie at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2012.

He added that Mr Stroud’s investment had sparked off a lot of international interest.

 “We are now looking at a much bigger picture with a production company from Canada buying into the film big time.”

He said he could not reveal the name of the additional investor yet since contracts had not been signed, and added that a ”major network in Canada”, had offered a considerable amount of money for the television rights to Between Weathers.

Mr Stroud, who also was in Shetland last week, said he was impressed by the Between Weathers project as it tried to structure a social investment around shooting a movie.

“Parts of the profits will go back into the community. That ticked all the right boxes for me and gave me the opportunity to approach my board of directors and we agreed that this was a worthwhile investment.

“What we effectively have done is provide a sum of money that will facilitate the production of a movie. This is something that has not been done in Shetland before,” he said.

The production company b4Films and local arts agency Shetland Arts have formed a social investment company, where investors will get their money back once the film has been released and has turned a profit.

However, the major social return will be that profits from the film will be used to fund future film development, including support for Mareel and location filming in Shetland.

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