A Lincoln screenwriter and director are both feeling the excitement as their debut feature film prepares for its world and Lincolnshire premiere, and UK cinema release.
Lapwing is set in 1555 on the isolated Lincolnshire coast, exploring the female experience of emotional abuse and coercive control in relationships. The film tells the story of a young woman called Patience, who is played by Hannah Douglas, confronting the physical, verbal and emotional abuse she has suffered from her brother-in-law, and falling in love with a gypsy called Rumi.
The film is written by Laura Turner and directed by Philip Stevens, who were both born in Lincoln and have worked on several short films together. The cast and crew are largely made up of people from or with connections to Lincolnshire, as well as some well-known names – Emmett J Scanlan from Hollyoaks and Peaky Blinders, and Sebastian de Souza who featured in Skins.
Lapwing will be released in selected cinemas from November 26, with the list currently being confirmed, as well as on demand through Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Sky Movies.
Before the film’s general release, it will have its world premiere at the Leeds International Film Festival on Saturday, November 13. The local premiere will be held at the Everyman Cinema in Lincoln, followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew, on November 17 – limited tickets are still available here.
The film was the idea of Lincoln’s Laura Turner, a playwright and screenwriter who has written more than 40 original plays and adaptations of classic novels commissioned by theatres.
She is also passionate about bringing unheard female stories to the stage and screen across all her work. In March last year she established her own theatre company – Fury Theatre. The 33-year-old also recently worked with Phil on a short film called Going Country, which won best UK short film at the Manchester International Film Festival and best indie short at the LA film awards.
Filming for Lapwing started back in 2017, with the Lincolnshire locations used including Saltfleet beach, Woodhall Spa, Gainsborough Old Hall, and a Saxonhouse in East Firsby and the cast and crew of over 120 people are getting excited to see their long journey end on the big screen.
Laura, who also works at the University of Lincoln as a lecturer in script and screenwriting, told The Lincolnite: “Phil and I have been working together on various short films. I had initially written Lapwing as a short film, but we decided to take the plunge and make our first feature film.
“Most of the actors and people we have collaborated with are from Lincolnshire or have strong connections to the county. It was great that we were able to work with people like Emmett Scanlon and Sebastian de Souza too.
“I’m all about the female experience and I knew very clearly this was the story I wanted to tell. I also wanted to write about Lincolnshire, it’s where I’m from and I feel connected to the landscape and it isn’t seen on screen often enough.
“For us all on the creative side, it is our debut feature which is really exciting. It has been quite overwhelming recently, but we are reaching that point where we are so ready to share the film with a bigger audience.
The film’s director Philip Stevens started his career as a theatre actor, which he still does including voiceover work, and around 12 years ago he started directing. He also owns his own production company called Urban Apache Films and is passionate about his local county saying “I could probably make any film in Lincolnshire as the landscapes are so diverse.”
Philip, 41, said: “It is incredible. The independent film market is a hard nut to crack, so to have the journey we’ve had and be able to release a film is a massive privilege.
“It’s every filmmakers dream, especially as a director, to be able to go in a cinema and watch your own film. It’s been a very long journey, every step takes an enormous amount of hard work from everyone involved.
“Laura came to me with an incredible script, which started as a short film, but there was so much scope that we realised achievable to be a feature film. We have an incredible team that rallied around us and we were surrounded by great talent in Lincolnshire.
“Lincoln/Lincolnshire has an enormous amount of potential and the university have done a great job in putting the city on the map. As a location, I could probably make any film in Lincolnshire as the landscapes are so diverse. People are often surprised by just how awe-inspiring Lincolnshire is.”
Laura and Philip have already started the early works for their next project – a second feature film which will again represent the female voice and a connection with the landscapes of Lincolnshire.