Students are gearing up to premiere a new short film to friends and supporters in Elland.
The Messenger was written, directed, edited and produced by 17-year-old Josh Bywater, who studies film and photography at Calderdale College in Halifax.
What began as an project for fun has become a final piece for his course involving fellow students and collaborators.
The film stars Harry Lovatt, Louis Connell and Mark Davison and features Tia Birch, Xav Paine and Joseph Jablonski. Bywater himself appears in a 30-second cameo. All the cast are first-year students aged between 16 and 19.
Bywater, Lovatt, Connell and Davison are together known as Platinum Productions. They have already produced a teaser trailer for the drama, which is earmarked to be screened at the 290-seat Rex Cinema in Elland on Wednesday, July 12.
The film has been shot on location in Halifax, Boothtown, King Cross and on the moors at Blackstone Edge. It features a character named John Dawson who, says Josh, begins to smell a rat about his employers.
“John has been working as a messenger for an organisation for ten years but he knows nothing about it,” he says. “Curiosity takes over as he is delivering his final letter. He comes to realise what sort of an organisation he works for and the more he digs, the less he wants to know.”
He adds: “We have been filming every other Saturday to fit in with different people’s timetables. We have the second half to film so we will be getting in as much shooting as we can in the weeks to come. We have used cameras and tripods from college. They have been very good and trusting.”
Drama runs in the Bywater family. Dad Ian has experience as an actor and scriptwriter and, says Josh, has been something of an inspiration. However the son will not be following the father in front of the camera.
“I like to be behind the camera,” says the former Ryburn Valley High School pupil. “I want to be up there in the future. That’s a big goal I know.”
The one-off screening for cast, crew and the general public will begin at 6pm. Doors open at 5.30pm. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased on the door. Students can also take advantage of a free preview at an Exhibition Evening at Calderdale College on June 20.
“I’d like to see as many people there on the night as possible. The experience will be great.”