Micro-budget movie filmed around Cambridgeshire looks to generate the feel-good factor.
World premiere of 'Any Major Dude' achieved with a little help from friends
When he asked friends and their families ‘do you want to be in a movie?’ John Holdsworth had an enthusiastic response. Over 50 people from Cambridgeshire villages got involved and the result, the full-length comedy-drama ‘Any Major Dude’, is to have its world premiere at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse on Monday 13th March 2017. The trailer can be viewed here
John wrote the screenplay with the support of friend Peter Tomalin and together they approached a number of production companies, but fell into the familiar problem that scripts won’t be read unless they come from an agent, and you can’t get one of those without a track record.
John, an economics teacher, explains: “I was on holiday, thinking about what I wanted to achieve in life, and had an idea for a film. Cautiously I got a few people to read the first draft – and they all laughed in different places, which gave me confidence. Pete is my greatest critic so I got him to help me polish the script before we tried to do something with it. But I knew deep down that if we didn't do it ourselves, then it would never happen.”
With no budget and little experience John looked for talent in the local community and soon found amateur actors, musicians, film crew and production team who were up for the challenge. The local pub, shops and neighbours’ houses became film venues and the cameras started to roll.
The comedy, which has an original soundtrack, charts the midlife crisis of Colin Coombs. Simultaneously supported and ridiculed by friends, the 42 year old gardening journalist tries to impress his wife by showing off talents she didn’t know he had.
Over the last two years, John – along with assistant producer Peter Tomalin, director of photography Mike Swain and director Sean Baker – has stuck to the task even when things proved more difficult than imagined.
John is now under no illusions about how difficult it is to make a movie.
“I had naively assumed that it would be a bit like putting on a pantomime. You have a cast, they learn their lines, turn up, and then roll the cameras. How difficult could it be? The answer was ‘nearly impossible’. But that makes it even more satisfying that together we've produced a great little movie that people will thoroughly enjoy.”
The villages of Swavesey and Over have a great community spirit and John wanted local people to feel a sense of ownership. Most films set around Cambridge are concerned with the University but this one is different. It's charming, poignant and laugh out loud funny.
And as John points out: “There's a lot going on in the world at the moment that is not that amusing. Most of the stuff that comes out of Hollywood doesn't do much to lift the spirits. Maybe it's time for an original micro-budget film like ‘Any Major Dude’ to cheer people up a bit.”
‘Any Major Dude’ synopsis:
Colin is facing a crisis. He’s 42 and a gardening journalist. But it’s even worse than that. He’s starting to suspect his wife, Freya, of harbouring secret yearnings for her ex, the ageing pop star Gordon ‘Midge’ Midgely, best known for the novelty hit "Be My Bear". And there’s one more thing. Tomorrow morning, the eccentric colonoscopist Dr Woolf will insert a camera and find out whether Colin has bowel cancer.
Colin has, however, made a solemn vow. If he gets the all-clear, he will sing in a rock group as a surprise at Freya’s 40th birthday party. Only one small detail can prevent him stealing the show – he doesn’t actually have a band. But with help from Freya’s dad, former session musician Erwin Beyer, he persuades his oddball group of friends to help him out.
Can Colin overcome all the odds? His band has little talent, and the path to rock and roll glory is rarely a smooth one. When step-son Jake takes the mike and announces: ‘Please welcome on stage…’ will Colin’s mouth go dry? Will he be able to go through with it? What if he falls flat on his face? Or what if there’s a twist in the tale that no one has seen coming?
To see the film
The premiere of ‘Any Major Dude’ is at the Arts Picturehouse in Cambridge on 13th March at 8pm. There are a small number of tickets for media.
Subsequent showings can be found (and seats booked) at ourscreen.com/film/any-major-dude
More details about the movie (including the trailer) can be found at www.anymajordude.co.uk
John can be contacted on 01954 202789 or 07941 642326
Holdsworth Associates is a Cambridge-based PR consultancy with a creative approach to PR programmes. We support a broad range of science and technology companies with innovative, cost-effective campaigns that achieve results.