Film company giving actors share of profits

YOUNG STAR: Isabelle Bush, 6, is the youngest cast member, with producer and director Michael Munn.
YOUNG STAR: Isabelle Bush, 6, is the youngest cast member, with producer and director Michael Munn.

A Sudbury-based film company has a novel way of attracting new local stars, by offering them a stake in the film’s success.

Sudbury-based Martello Films’ first feature-length movie, The Haunted, will start filming in August featuring a cast of local actors.

“We have a cast recruited almost entirely from within the Sudbury area,” said producer and director Michael Munn, who himself hails from Acton.

“I had interest from actors from all over the country including one who had an important role in Game of Thrones, but I only wanted actors from our region.”

The actors themselves will have a particular interest in seeing the film succeed.

“Our actors have a vested interest in our films because they will earn a percentage of the income from DVD sales and other income such as on-demand TV,” said Mr Munn.

“I don’t know of any other company doing that in Sudbury or anywhere else.

“Our film is a real springboard for actors who want to make it a career. Too many films get made but never seen, but our film and the others we will be making will be released first of all on DVD.

“We are not reliant on any major studio, cinema chain or television broadcaster. We are a truly independent British film company.”

Mr Munn decided two years ago to launch Martello Films to make docudramas but said the focus would now solely be on making feature movies with The Haunted being followed in November by Demons and three more films the following year.

With more than forty years’ experience, having worked at Cinerama, Columbia, EMI and Warner Brothers, Mr Munn said: “We have chosen a niche market with horror films. A lot people like to be scared.”

The new film was first tried out as a play in Boxford in March. With one lady even fainting during the performance.

Mr Munn added: “I knew then we had the makings of a great little British horror film.”

The cast includes six-year-old Isabelle Baldwin, from Great Cornard, and her mother Laura, who is playing the ghost. The leading roles are played by Mark Littlewood from Edwardstone, and Rachael Lowe of Acton.