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Norfolk director releases gothic film with all-star cast

PUBLISHED: 16:23 18 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 18 July 2019

Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Gwen Credit: DESWILLIE/Bulldog Film Distribution

Eleanor Worthington-Cox in Gwen Credit: DESWILLIE/Bulldog Film Distribution

DLW

An award-winning director has released his latest film Gwen and honed his craft growing up on a pig farm in Norfolk.

Gwen director William McGregor Credit: Bulldog Film DistributionGwen director William McGregor Credit: Bulldog Film Distribution

William McGregor, 31, was born in East Rudham, near Fakenham, and because of his rural upbringing his filmaking has continued to be "rooted in landscape".

The latest release from Mr McGregor, who has directed episodes of Misfits and Poldark, is Gwen which stars Eleanor Worthington-Cox, who won an Olivier Award for the title role in Matilda the Musical and was nominated for a BAFTA in The Enfield Haunting.

The cast also includes BAFTA-nominated actress Maxine Peake, known for Funny Cow and Peterloo, Richard Harrington, from Hinterland, Spooks and Poldark as Captain Andrew Blamey, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith who recently starred in Mary Poppins Returns.

The gothic period drama, which debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, is set in the stark beauty of 19th Century Snowdonia as young girl Gwen (Worthington-Cox) tries desperately to hold her home together.

Gwen is released on July 19 Credit: Bulldog Film DistributionGwen is released on July 19 Credit: Bulldog Film Distribution

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Struggling with her mother's mysterious illness, her father's absence and a ruthless mining company encroaching on their land, a growing darkness begins to take grip of her home and the suspicious local community turns on Gwen and her family.

Mr McGregor said: "I have always loved fairytales and folklore and I was inspired by landscape when I was exploring Snowdonia and it blurs the lines between fantasy and fiction.

"In particular I wanted to look at that moment when a child starts to question the narrative they are told by their parents and begins to find their own truths and the friction that this can cause between parent and child as naivety is lost and the realities of a harsh world come into focus.

Maxine Peake in Gwen Credit: DESWILLIE/Bulldog Film DistributionMaxine Peake in Gwen Credit: DESWILLIE/Bulldog Film Distribution

"Because I grew up in Norfolk I have always been rooted in landscape and have always had a fascination with how a sense of place affects the culture of the local community, informing traditions and beliefs.

"I started out making films on the farm with my handycam and my first film was Piglet Tails - my media teacher Jane Wells at Fakenham College encouraged me to pursue it as a career."

To celebrate the release, Cinema City will be holding a screening and Q&A with Mr McGregor on Wednesday, July 31 from 6.15pm.

The film is released in cinemas on July 19, rated 15, and Mr McGregor is also working with Film4 and BFI on a new project in the Norfolk Fens.

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