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Stratford to star in new feature film

Eagle-eyed residents may well have noticed cameras rolling in Stratford earlier this month, as shooting on a new feature film took place in the town.

The crew from Stratford-based Bad Penny Productions, were spotted On Henley Street, Bridge Street, the riverside and in other locations, before filming wrapped up at the weekend.

The movie itself, entitled ‘There’s Always Hope’, is due to premier at the Cannes Film Festival in May before being released in the third quarter of next year.

Filming during the pandemic has been no easy task, but Bad Penny, who previously shot the film ‘You, Me & Him’ starring David Tennant, Lucy Punch and Faye Marsay in Stratford, took special precautions to keep the crew and actors safe.

‘There’s Always Hope’ stars Colm Meaney, Kate Ashfield, John Light, Hannah Chinn and Brenda Meaney.

It tells the story of a successful author named Jonathan so obsessed with trying to pen his magnum opus that he has let his marriage to Samantha, who is also his agent and editor, break down to the point where she announces she is leaving him for her business partner Luke, a hapless control freak who has loved her forever.

Gobsmacked Jonathan abandons the family home in Stratford and drives his ancient jaguar to the family villa in Portugal, where he is joined by young daughter Emily, who has abandoned her studies to find out what has gone wrong.

Enlisting the help of human rights lawyer half-sister Amelia and their Portuguese housekeeper Gabriella, Emily launches a determined effort to get her parents back together again, despite Luke attempting to stop that happening.

The Herald spoke to producer Harriet Hammond about the filming in Stratford.

Harriet said: “We shot a production in Stratford called 'You, Me & Him' a few years ago, so I already knew of a number of locations that would work well for 'There's Always Hope' - I took the Director on a recce around Stratford and he quickly agreed that Stratford would be an ideal setting. The script was then developed with Stratford as the home for Jonathan.

“Filming went really well, it was harder than a normal shoot due to all the COVID protocols that we had to implement and adhere to - like testing all cast, crew and extras - even down to the caterers and security before they were allowed to step onto set - but we had a fantastic COVID team who managed this for us and the crew worked really well to keep to the regulations.

“We had positive feedback from anyone that saw us filming - they were excited to know what was going on and who was involved - and the locations that we used, like Cox's Yard, were extremely grateful to be able to keep their doors open for a week - as we were filming during the 2nd lockdown - so most of the locations were not able to operate as they would do normally. The local businesses were all very accommodating.

“We have finished all filming now. We started off over in the Algarve in Portugal and came to finish off the shoot in Stratford-Upon-Avon and actually just wrapped this weekend. But we love working in Stratford and hope to keep coming back with other projects.”

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