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Truly, madly, cheaply

Exclusive: Oscar winner Anthony Minghella joins the groundswell of high praise for a low-budget Garston film - as the battle goes on to get it released

Published on March 29th 2007.

Truly, madly, cheaply

First it was Kathy Burke who called the script “a beautiful read”, then Jimmy McGovern described it “a great achievement”. Now Anthony Minghella, a man who you could say knows the score where a decent film is concerned, has added to the growing applause for the film that everyone is getting excited about - but hopefully you might one day get to see - Under The Mud.

The Liverpool producers of the comedy-drama feature film about a dysfunctional family, written by teens from Speke and Garston, have just received a message from the Oscar winning maker of such movies as Truly, Madly, Deeply and The Talented Mr Ripley, congratulating them on their achievements and wishing them good luck.

“He said more but his handwriting isn't that legible,” Roy Boulter of Hurricane Films told Liverpool Confidential. “He'd heard of the film in his capacity as head of the British Film Institute.”And the word is spreading fast. Under the Mud, which was made on just £47,000 that the world's biggest drug company, Glaxo SmithKline, had already bequeathed to a Speke/Garston social fund, stars Drew Schofield and Kate Fitzgerald. It follows a fantasy day in the fortunes of a local family whose youngest daughter is making her first communion.

The film, directed by another local face-made-good, Sol Papadopoulos, was recently screened at the Victoria Film Festival in Canada – where the reviews simply stated “WOW!” It has also just been in Colorado’s Durango film festival and was the only British production accepted by organisers. Under The Mud has been showing on Liverpool’s BBC Big Screen after a packed out premiere at the Phil last month. But if you blinked and missed it, where can you see it?

Well that's the tricky bit. Sol and Roy, aka Hurricane Films, are ideally after a distribution deal that will see it shown in cinemas; a deal that includes cash to pay for copyright clearance on the soundtrack of Rod Stewart and Isley Brothers tunes. They all cost money – “more than it cost to make the actual film,” says Roy, one-time drummer with The Farm who also appear on the track list but who have waived their royalties, as did Pete Wylie who wrote the score.

In May the film is off to Cannes - but ironically the cash can only be found for one person to go, and, says Roy, it's important to turn up at theses things if the movie is ever to stand any chance of seeing the light of day.

Before that, Under The Mud is California bound, having won its place over hundreds of entrants at the prestigious Sonoma Valley Film Festival. And just last night, it emerged that the lovely people at South Liverpool Housing had dug deep so that some of the young writers, who Sol and Roy first met in an internet cafe, could go.

Said Roy: “We're determined to get to the Sonoma festival and spread the word among the likes of Robin Williams and the head of Pixar, as they are to be honoured there. What better way would there be of acknowledging and rewarding the work of these young and very creative people?”

Fingers crossed then for an export that the Guardian recently called “the best British film you may never see.”

The heady world of films, eh?

Angie Sammons

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