Death-bed clues...

Screenwriter Hugh Stoddart will be in the city to introduce the screening of his new film Waiting for You at this year's Chichester International Film Festival at the Chichester Cinema at New Park (August 23, 1.30pm).


When Paul’s (Colin Morgan in his feature-film debut) father utters some death-bed clues to a past his son knew nothing about, it triggers a journey of discovery that leads him to a house situated amongst the foothills of the French countryside.

Here lives Madeleine (Fanny Ardant), a secretive musician, who might be the key to unlocking the dark secrets of his childhood.

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Eventually he locates the house in question, blagging his way in as an architecture graduate student looking to survey the house for a project.

Madeleine, the frosty Madame in residence and daughter of the colonel mentioned by Paul’s father, puts him up for the week, but keeps him under her suspicious eye. When he gets a chance, he’s rummaging through her things to find answers to his father’s wartime French experience…

Hugh, who is hoping for a cinema release for the film this autumn, co-wrote it with Charles Garrad who directed it. Both hope to attend the Chichester screening.

“He had some ideas and I had some ideas, and we got together. I was interested really in the idea of secrets and how they can be difficult and damaging and hold people back.

“It was this idea of a father whose secrets hold back his son who can’t move forward in his own life because of the secrets his father has hidden.

“I was also interested in the idea of traumas so intense that people can’t get past them.

“I was also interested in the military life and things that affect people’s normal life afterwards.

“The film is about this son who has to undertake this journey that takes him out of his comfort zone and normal life into a different place. He needs taking away from that comfort zone.

“He is working in a dead-end job and he is not happy in his life. His conscious reason for going is that he is curious about what his father has hidden, but unconsciously he is looking for something that will move him forwards in his life.

“His father was in the British army in Aden and it was one of those counter-insurgency situations that are very bad.

“He went into the army quite a young man and stayed in the army for many years. There were potentially quite traumatic events that he was involved in…”

Hugh is delighted that the film has now come to fruition: “It has taken a while. It usually takes a few years trying to set up a feature film. It is so hard. You are waiting for people to make decisions. Someone might be interested in talking to you but then they are not because something else has come up, and then you all go round again, but then we found some private investors who were interested in it.

“This is my tenth film, and what you usually find is that you reach a point where it is all happening very quickly.

“Once you have got the funding, you are able to talk to the actors and ask them when they are available.

“And then you are moving forward.

“But the nice thing about working with somebody else, which I have mostly done, is that when there are two of you, nobody wants to be the one that says ‘OK, let’s give up now.’ You are roped together and that makes you both want to keep going!”