A writer and director from Horley is ready to release an enchanting new feature film.
Gary Andrews, who works as an animation director for television, presents Tales of Albion, which is available on DVD from Monday, December 12.
The movie, produced by Egotrip Media Ltd, consists of eight separate short stories that explore British folk lore and mythology.
“There are eight festivals within the wheel of the year and each story is loosely tied to one of those,” says Gary. “In the olden days you’d sit around the campfire, the flickering light in the dark, and listen to the storyteller telling you the old tales. These days the flickering light in the dark is the TV in the corner.”
And through this modern medium, viewers will be regaled with stories of knights, battles, magic and gods.
“I wanted to pass on the old tales of myth that are being lost,” Gary explains. “A lot of people don’t realise that Britain has a mythology of its own.”
People are reasonably familiar with Greek and Nordic myths, he says, but Britain has its own ancient stories that don’t get told as often.
These legends are pre-Christian too, Gary explains, created when Britain had its own pagan religion and unique traditions.
“It goes right to the roots of who we are as a people,” says Gary, when asked why he wanted to explore this era. “I find that fascinating. I love the imagery of those stories as well, and just the earthiness of that whole genre.”
Set in the distant past, Tales of Albion offered Gary and his fellow filmmakers the chance to shoot many scenes in the beautiful Sussex countryside.
“Every shoot was an adventure,” says Gary. “Our first shoot was just a grabbed shoot. We had a bit of snow on the ground very briefly and I needed to film something that was supposed to be set in the winter in Scotland. So we dashed out to Ashdown Forest with two guys in kilts.”
“We got to film in some great places,” he continues. “We filmed at Michelham Priory and Reigate Fort and each one of these days was incredible.”
The film takes place in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Portugal, Greece and Afghanistan, but Gary reckons that about 90 percent was filmed within 20 miles of Horley.
Even the Afghanistan scenes, for example, were captured in a Sussex brick quarry.
The only real exceptions were shots captured at a Saxon longhouse in Kent and footage of the Cornish coastline.
Along with the scenery, Sussex audiences may also recognise faces from Horley’s Archway Theatre. It’s a venue that Gary is involved with, both as an actor and a director, and he was delighted at how the performers’ skills translated from stage to screen.
In fact, the previous independent film that Gary was involved with, The Spirit of Albion (2012), was actually based on a play devised by the Archway Theatre Young Adults Workshop.
Some of the characters even carry across to this new movie, but Gary stresses that Tales is a completely stand-alone film.
It’s also a step forward in terms of quality, finish and professionalism, says Gary, which is impressive considering the financial restraints.
“There was no budget as such from outside,” he reveals. “We had to dig into our own pockets and wherever possible we had to try to save money.”
Friends and acquaintances helped with costumes, locations and props, historical reenactment enthusiasts got involved and Gary was lucky enough to know someone with horses.
“A lot of the process was ‘okay, what’s the cheapest, most effective way of doing this while not making it look cheap’,” he laughs.
It’s an amusing and slightly self-deprecating observation, but the fact of the matter is that every penny the crew could raise is up on screen.
Now they plan to celebrate the end of this four-year challenge in style with an invite-only premiere at Crawley’s Hawth.
“I think everybody did a cracking job,” Gary says. “I’m very pleased with how it all turned out.”
Visit www.talesofalbion.com to find out more.
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