Star of classic film Kes gives boost to film project for Bradford teenagers

INSPIRE: Actor Dai Bradley helps students with their filming, (from left), Ryan Sharkey, Bobby Dewar, Jack Cornwell, and Connor Chapman

STAR: Dai Bradley as he appeared in Kes.

First published in News

YOUNG people in Bradford met the star of big screen classic Kes at the start of a summer school offering them chance to make their own film.

Hollywood in Yorkshire is run by Bradford-based production company Pocket Projects in association with Bradford youth charity JAMES (Joint Activities and Motor Education Service), and funded by the British Film Institute.

The course was started at a session attended by special guests Dai Bradley, who starred as Casper in Ken Loach's much-loved 1969 film Kes, and rising Bradford actor Conner Chapman, who starred in The Selfish Giant, set and largely shot in Bradford.

Bradford film-maker Rad Miller, who runs Pocket Projects, said: "Hollywood in Yorkshire is open to 14 to 19-year-old NEETS (not in education, employment or training) and gives them chance to learn about the film industry in Yorkshire and films made in the region.

"This is an exciting opportunity for young people and begins with a series of guest visits and film club sessions. They can then go on to script, shoot and edit their own short film in a week-long intensive Summer Film School at the JAMES Frizinghall venue in August.

"Meeting Dai and Conner, and hearing about their life and work, has been a great boost for the young people, especially as they are both from Yorkshire."

Dai Bradley starred in a film made by Mr Miller, shot last year in Bradford. Called Ratzilla, it was based on a 'monster rat' said to have been spotted at Ravenscliffe estate in 2010.

Mr Miller was inspired by Telegraph & Argus reports on alleged sightings of the rodent to write and direct the film, about a teenage boy who discovers a giant rat.

Mr Bradley said there were parallels with Kes. Comparisons have also made between Kes and The Selfish Giant, about two boys who turn to horses and scrap metal dealing after being thrown out of school.

The film, written and directed by Clio Barnard, of Otley, won several awards, and a Bafta nomination this year. Its young stars, Conner Chapman, 15, of Buttershaw and Shaun Thomas, 16, of Holme Wood, won praise for their powerful performances.

Conner learned to ride a horse for the film, just as Mr Bradley learned to train a kestrel for Kes, made more than 40 years previously.

* Places are still available for up to 18 young people on Hollywood in Yorkshire. The Summer Film School runs from August 4 to 9. For more information email rad@radmiller.com

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