Norwich audience key to film's success

JON WELCH He began his career in cinema as an usher, but today a Norwich movie-maker will see his debut feature film shown on the big screen in his home city.Richard Bracewell is the director, producer and co-writer of The Gigolos, a dark comedy following the exploits of two high-class male escorts in Mayfair, and starring big-name actresses Anna Massey, Sian Phillips, Susannah York and Angela Pleasence.

JON WELCH

He began his career in cinema as an usher, but today a Norwich movie-maker will see his debut feature film shown on the big screen in his home city.

Richard Bracewell is the director, producer and co-writer of The Gigolos, a dark comedy following the exploits of two high-class male escorts in Mayfair, and starring big-name actresses Anna Massey, Sian Phillips, Susannah York and Angela Pleasence.

Norwich cinema-goers will be among the first to see the movie when it opens today at the city's Odeon cinema and could hold the key to its future success.

“Cinema is so fast-paced these days, and so much depends on the box office takings on the opening weekend,” explained Amanda Kane, technical manager at the cinema and a fan of the film.

“If ever there was a time to come out and support local talent, it's now. If the film does well in Norwich it could get a release in the West End, so there is a lot riding on it.

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“It's so surprising that this is Richard's first film: you couldn't tell. Anyone who likes a slightly more intelligent, arty film should come and see this - they won't be disappointed.”

Richard, 37, moved to Norwich eight years ago with his wife, Susie Phillips, who is originally from south Norfolk and designed the costumes for the film.

The couple met while working as ushers at The Clapham Picture House, London.

The film was shot on location in London but Richard produced it from his home in Norwich, editing it at a farmhouse near Wymondham.

The entire 95-minute movie was made on a budget of £280,000, raised through private investors.

The film has already been a hit at festivals and with critics, and on Tuesday night received a gala screening at the Odeon, ahead of its public release today.

Richard said: “The response has been terrific and I'm totally overjoyed to have got this far and to have received so much support.

I wanted The Gigolos to be shown in Norwich because so many people here have helped us.

“Usually films are released in London first, and if they do well they are screened in the rest of the country.

“In this case, it's totally reversed: if the film does well here, we could be looking at more London venues, so the eyes of the film world really will be on Norwich.”

Trevor Sather, co-writer and star of the film, said: “It's the story of a gigolo and his valet, who branches out to become a gigolo himself and they go into competition with each other.

“We're not offering a £200m glossy film,

but it's a story that might work in any movie.”

The Gigolos (12A) opens today at Odeon Riverside Norwich, and runs until Thursday, March 29. There are daily screenings at 12.45pm, 3.15pm, 6pm and 8.30pm, with late night screenings at 11pm tonight and tomorrow. For further details, contact the Odeon filmline on 0871 22 44 007.