New feature film brings Lewes to the big screen

Lewes takes centre stage in a film set in and around the town made by a local moviemaker.

Monday, 10th February 2020, 10:04 am
Ben, crew and performers from Incidental Characters. Picture: Toffee Hammer Films
Ben, crew and performers from Incidental Characters. Picture: Toffee Hammer Films

Ben Verrall’s film, Incidental Characters, will be screened at Lewes Depot this month. He feels everyone in the town will want to go along and see how many local sights, sounds and people they can spot.

He told the Express: “Some people say it’s a rom-com but I don’t see it entirely like that. The film tries to find out what we all mean to each other. Yes, it’s a rom-com with a twist and it’s really about what makes us feel fulfilled. It all comes clear at the end!”

Ben’s relatively low budget meant he had the opportunity to make the most of his home town. Incidental Characters is set on location in Lewes and he’s grateful for the ‘fantastic help’ he had from businesspeople and residents. Among familiar landmarks, he asks cinemagoers to look out for The Lewes Arms, High Street jewellery shop Tizz’s, The Swan pub, Lewes House, Landport Bottom and Lewes Castle. He explained: “It is 100% independent and made with more love than money – but punches above its weight, and has been very favourably compared to films with 1000% the budget! We worked with a small, but talented hands-on crew helped by us as husband and wife – me directing performances and editing, Amelia (a professional sculptor by trade) taking on the role of art director, making all sorts of props from artwork to puppets to cardboard robots.”

He went on: “I’m interested in stories about people and the impact we have on each other. Sometimes people who have the biggest influence are those we only know fleetingly.”

Ben, 43, runs a production company based at the Star Brewery and makes educational films for museums such as the V&A but he’s always wanted to make a feature film. He grew up in Hastings, studied media at Eastbourne College of Arts and Technology, film production at Surrey Institute of Art and Design and runs media agency and video production company Toffee Hammer Productions.

A Q&A screening of Incidental Characters is at 8pm on Thursday, February 27 at the Depot (Screen 1). Click here to find out more about the screening. It will also be available on DVD and to stream in May.

Four things to do in East Sussex. Click here to read more.

Four things to do in Hastings and Bexhill. Click here to read more.

An interview with Baxter Dury ahead of Hastings Fat Tuesday’s launch night. Click here to read more.

Four things to do in the Eastbourne area. Click here to read more.