High Tide – Long Arm’s first feature-length film

So then. We’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks now but it is time to tell those who may be interested. And even those who are probably not.

We are making a film. A proper film. We are going to be spending other people’s money and will be working with professionals in all departments of the production. In terms of money, the budget is actually tiny. It will cost roughy ten thousand times less than Skyfall to make (I have had to check that sum three times such is its ridiculousness) so it is a proper stripy-black-t-shirt-and-converse-wearing INDIE film. If it were a record it would be Ride’s 1991 “Today Forever” 12 inch single on white vinyl. But with cameras and actors instead of floppy-haired musicians from Oxford.

The film is called High Tide and we are both extremely proud of the script and absolutely beside ourselves with excitement that it is going to happen.

I probably can’t say too much more than is on our website at the moment about the actual production side of things. I will go into some more detail about the origins of the script below but suffice to say that with backing from a production company and having to talk to casting directors, DOPs etc it is all feeling slightly surreal. Surreal, terrifying and brilliant. We are grateful that Bob and Co. are backing the film and although we still have money to raise it does feel like a massive leap forward for Jimmy and me.

So then, what can I say about the script? Well it was written to be feasible as a first feature length project. Don’t expect exploding helicopters or exploding Aston Martins, or exploding anything really. There are no exotic locations, aside from the stunning South Wales coastline, and the cast is relatively small. That is not to say it lacks ambition, on the contrary, it is emotionally complex and is going to require some top-notch acting from the cast.

Gosh, I am rubbish at writing about our own stuff! Who says “top notch”? Honestly! Apologies. There are currently two summary paragraphs attached to the film. I am not entirely happy with either but here they are.

Number One:

Bethan has one day left. One day to put things right. One day to repair the damage caused to her troubled son. One day to say sorry. One day to explain.

Because tomorrow both of their lives will be changed forever.

Note the producer-pleasing hyperbole in the final sentence! Or if you prefer there is Number Two:

HIGH TIDE tells the story of one final day during which a mother must mend the broken relationship with her son. Set along the stunning Welsh coastline, it is a moving, powerful and tender portrait of a vital twenty four hours in two people’s lives.

HIGH TIDE is a story of love, forgiveness and change. 

Good rule of three in use there. Although I hate the phrase “in two people’s lives”. I need to improve that.

Regardless of the inelegance of my prose you will glean that the film is about one day in the life of a Mother and her son. We’ll leave it at that for now. We hope to shoot in some beautiful locations along Gower peninsular which is going to look amazing.

The idea at the centre of High Tide is not a new one and not mine. Jimmy had been mulling over a version of this story since long before Stuart and Kate and we’d written a few notes that had been filed under the title “The Swansea Project”. We had always planned to make three short films before attempting a feature-length project and the story of the Swansea Project was going to be the third of these. I went to stay with Jimmy in early August (I was on a train when Andy Murray won his gold medal; this was announced by the train manager and everyone cheered. It was lovely. And then twenty minutes later the same train manager announced that the train was now going only as far as Cardiff and we’d have to wait for an hour until a connection to Swansea. The mood soured and everyone reverted to type and began swearing about the rubbish service) with the intention of making a very short film about a man who performs the Duchess of Malfi to himself in his head, and to to spend some time working on the script for the Swansea Project.

Being August in Climate Change Britain meant that it poured with rain for the duration of my stay and so the “Malfi” project was binned and instead we talked and talked about the idea that was to become “High Tide”. It became clear pretty quickly that a short film was not going to be sufficient to properly render the idea in the way we wanted so with expressions of fear and wonder we decided that it needed to be feature film.

We then played a very competitive round of pitch and put golf (and you’ve never seen a pair of more unlikely golfers), overcame a few plot problems and then drank lots of wine during a showing of Miami Vice. A film that Jimmy adores and calls its many detractors “witless arseholes” or suchlike.

And then I went to France for three weeks and wrote the screenplay. My progress each day was perused and improved by Jimmy in daily feedback sessions and well, we ended up with something of which we are both very proud.

So there you go. High Tide is going to be our new film. There is staggeringly large amount of work still to do before we even get to the shooting stage, let alone the shoot itself and the post-production, distribution etc etc. But for this one very brief moment, we are going to allow ourselves to pause, reflect on what we’ve achieved to get even this far and be quietly pleased.

And then we need to get back to it.

More as and when I have things to report. And probably even when I don’t.

P.S. – I have spent some minutes trying to extract a photo of one our locations from document that we made for a production meeting. But I have failed so here is a video of Ride playing “Sennen” from the aforementioned Today Forever EP. Enjoy the pasty-faced, floppy-haired aesthetic of every jangling second!

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2 thoughts on “High Tide – Long Arm’s first feature-length film

  1. If I hadn’t seen such riches . . . a plea for a few quid – James Gillingham - Long Arm Films

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