Michelle Billington founded Foot In The Door Films, a community interest company, in 2016 after a career as a casting agent and line producer, working with top actors such as David Morrissey. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool movie producer Michelle Billington says production on a new film will begin in the city in March driven entirely by Merseyside talent.
Ms Billington founded Foot In The Door Films (FITD), a community interest company, in 2016 after an extensive career as a casting agent and line producer, working with top actors such as David Morrissey.
Liverpool has provided a backdrop for many TV and film productions but they usually just come to the city, film here and then leave. She was keen to build a thriving independent film industry in the Liverpool city region.
Next month FITD will start filming in co-production with Elegance Productions to produce 12 Days in September, written and starring Kerry Williams, a local writer and author of the children’s books Big Brenda and the Rainbow of Colour.
The film will be directed by Liverpool-born former Brookside and Eastenders actor, Leon Lopez, who has also gone on to achieve acclaim as a writer and director. After gaining a Master’s degree in filmmaking at The University of East London, Mr Lopez went on to produce a collection of award-winning shorts.
This includes his self-funded micro budget feature film Soft Lad, which reached number 10 in the iTunes chart. He uses his filmmaking to talk about issues within society that he feels are neglected by the mainstream media.
Mr Lopez’s work has premiered at BFI Flare, Scottish Queer International Film Festival, The Iris prize film festival as well as several international festivals.
Through their Big Film Project, Ms Billington and Ms Williams’s goal is to give script writers a chance to have their scripts seen as an opportunity for their production as well as bringing in local directors, crew and artistes.
Ms Billington and her team have been searching for the next big film stars, having hosted auditions at Box Studios and The Shankly Hotel in Liverpool during 2017.
She said: “We need help to preserve our local arts and culture, and to support the development of our local film industry.
“Individuals, groups and businesses have a stake in seeing this industry grow and thrive, not just have our city used as a filming location by outside firms. We need to stand together to create a sustainable independent film industry that our young and older people can engage with and develop careers.”