As UK film industry cuts loom, Manchester shows its independent cinema talent

By Jonathan Brown, James Johnson, Anna Mauremootoo, and Anna Winter

A pioneering independent movie gave a welcome boost to Manchester’s film industry, when it premiered on Sunday.

The £20,000 feature film, Being Sold, which was shot in just two days in Cheadle, Manchester, debuted at Cineworld in Didsbury.

The exciting project comes in the wake of news of blanket government spending cuts on public bodies in the arts and gives Manchester’s film-makers hope for the future.

Mancunian comedian, Colin Manford, played his first feature film role in ‘Being Sold’ as a media chaser.

He said: “It is hard to get work in Manchester, movie-wise especially, so this kind of thing is great for the city’s independent film makers.”

The comic brother of One Show presenter, Jason, explained that the film was a great experience for him as a budding performer.

Being Sold tells the story of John Foster, who puts himself up for sale on eBay after being made redundant and features local talent like John Thomson, Terry Christian and Lee Boardman.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that the UK Film Council is set to be abolished has struck at the heart of the already struggling independent film industry in Britain.

Dozens of leading film-makers, including Clint Eastwood, Mike Leigh and Bill Nighy have written to the government protesting the decision.

The move has also led to the council’s chief executive, John Woodward, to announce his resignation.

The UK Film Council was set up in 2000 and it has since invested over £160m of lottery funding into more than 900 films, generating £5 for every £1 of lottery money it has invested.

Since 2000 the council has funded successful titles like Bend it like Beckham, The Constant Gardener, In the Loop and This is England.

Didsbury’s Cold Feet star, John Thomson, played the main character’s neighbour in the film.

He has struggled to find acting work in the Manchester area despite dabbling in writing and stand up.

Thomson said: “Since leaving Coronation Street in March I’ve only worked three days, I’ve not had a great deal of work this year.”

Due to the lack of projects in Manchester, Thomson has had to take work in Canterbury, taking him away from his family during the pantomime season.

The film’s producer, Mercedes Crescenti Brooks, said that the budget and schedule was a challenge but response to the film has been tremendous.

Film fan David Keane, attended the premiere of Being Sold.

He said: “It’s really refreshing to see so many actors in a film that gives a real Mancunian angle.”

Despite the decision to cut the body, which had an annual budget of around £60m, Mr Hunt has said that at least as much funding will go into British film making as before.

A percentage of the film’s box office sales are believed to be going to Amnesty International.

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