Following Brassed Off and Little Voice, Purely Belter is director Mark Herman's third film to be rooted firmly in the North of England - in this case Newcastle. And like his two critically-lauded hits, it uses a comic energy to tackle serious, gritty reality. "That is his talent as a director - taking ordinary people and successfully combining the comedy and tragedy that make up their lives," says producer Elizabeth Karlsen, who also worked with Herman on Little Voice.
The film, based on Gateshead teacher Jonathan Tulloch's debut novel The Season Ticket, follows two Geordie lads whose wild ambition is to get season tickets for their football team, Newcastle United. Gerry (Chris Beattie) and Sewell (Greg McLane) are broke but they are also resourceful, devising schemes and scams in their attempts to raise the £1,000 they need. However, real life - Gerry's violent dad, Sewell's pregnant girlfriend - keeps getting in the way.
"Football does form the backbone of the story, but it is less a film about football than a film about the boys' dream," says Herman. "It captures the spirit of being a working-class teenager on Tyneside," adds Kevin Whately, who plays the boys' teacher.
DoP Andy Collins helped catch the energy of the story - and of the two young unknowns playing the leads - by using a lot of natural light and shooting with a hand-held camera on a dolly.
Purely Belter, the first film from Mumbo Jumbo, was selected to screen in Directors' Fortnight at Cannes this year.
- Type of film
- Mark Herman
- Ian Broudie,
- Mark Herman.
- Exec prod
- Stephen Woolley.
- Elizabeth Karlsen.
- Mark Herman, based on Jonathan Tulloch's novel "Season Ticket"
- Andy Collins.
- Prod des
- Don Taylor.
- Michael Ellis.
- Main cast
- Charlie Hardwick, Tim Healy, Roy Hudd, Kevin Whately, Chris Beattie, Greg McLane.