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Isle of Man Film Announces Next production 'Belle' 7 September 2012

Hot on the heels of the recent BBC/Isle of Man Film collaboration The Knot, Isle of Man Film has announced the start of the next film production to arrive on our shores. Lavish period drama BELLE will start shooting at various locations around the Island on Monday 24th September.

Directed by BAFTA Award Winner Amma Asante and produced by Damian Jones whose previous credits include the Academy Award winning ‘The Iron Lady’, BELLE will star Gugu Mbatha Raw in the title role, alongside a cast which boasts an impressive ensemble of Britain’s finest actors including Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Matthew Goode, Penelope Wilton and Emily Watson. Also starring will be some of the most exciting up and coming international stars, including Sarah Gadon, Sam Reid, Tom Felton and James Norton.

BELLE is a tale of passion and romance in the face of overwhelming adversity. Inspired by a 1779 painting of Dido Elizabeth Belle, and her life story, BELLE tells the tale of a mixed–race girl raised as an aristocratic lady in 18th Century England. Battling social prejudice against the backdrop of a controversial slavery case, BELLE brings to life the love story of Dido Belle (Gugu Mbatha Raw) and John Davinier (Sam Reid), in a world where one of England’s most powerful men stands between them.

Laurence Skelly, Department of Economic Development member with responsibility for Isle of Man Film said, “We are delighted to be working with Damian and such a star-studded cast and crew on this film. BELLE is particularly significant as it is our first collaboration with Pinewood Studios, one which we expect to be the first of many, and heralds the start of a fruitful and exciting period for the Island and its film industry. In addition, the cast and crew will be leaving approximately £1million in the local economy, revenue that is always welcome, particularly outside the traditional ‘tourist’ months of the year.”

Producer Damian Jones said: “This is an important story which still has great resonance today. Amma has created a powerful tale inspired by true historical events and adds a fresh and unique twist to this Jane Austen-esque romance.”

A number of local ‘extras’ are required to appear in the film and Bev Lawley from the Island’s extras and actors agency Ex-Isle Casting Agency will be holding casting sessions for existing Ex-Isle members and new recruits in the Cowell Suite in the Sefton Hotel on Sunday 9th September from 12noon to 8pm and again on Monday 10th September between 3pm and 10pm. Bev is looking for people aged 16-60 for a variety of background roles; in particular, ladies with shoulder length hair or longer for one category and ladies with short hair to be wigged for another. Men can either have longish or short hair which is not an obvious fashion cut as the film is set in the 1700's. Filming will be taking place between September 24th and October 10th and extras will be required for 1, 2 or 3 days during this time, with possibly additional time for costume fittings. Interested people should please register with Ex-Isle via www.ex-isle.com or telephone Bev Lawley on 835100 or 415096 for further details.

Following the three week shoot around the Island, BELLE will move to Pinewood Studios, Oxford and London to complete production.

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