Disused line to star in movie for Tinseltown

A film crew making the short feature The Light were in Thornton to shoot scenes using the railway tracks and indoor locations at Poulton and Wyre Rail Society.'Director Simon Cookson (with glasses) runs through a scene on the tracks.  PIC BY ROB LOCK'15-6-2013

A film crew making the short feature The Light were in Thornton to shoot scenes using the railway tracks and indoor locations at Poulton and Wyre Rail Society.'Director Simon Cookson (with glasses) runs through a scene on the tracks. PIC BY ROB LOCK'15-6-2013

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The Fylde coast isn’t a million miles away from the dusty plains of California, according to this budding film director.

Simon Cookson brought his production of The Light, a short film set to be shown in Hollywood and at prestigious film festivals, to the disused train tracks at Thornton on Saturday.

And the setting was perfect, according to industry professionals too.

Simon said: “The location easily doubled up as America ... with a few tweaks.”

The 34-year-old, originally from Hesketh Bank, won the chance to write and direct his own ‘short’, with a budget of £25,000, after entering The Pitch Film Competition.

The Pitch film entries have to based on the Bible, retelling a tale in a modern way – the competition is supported by The Bible Society.

Simon’s film idea is based on the conversion of Saul on the road to Damascus, telling the tale of a police lieutenant suddenly rejecting his former oppressive ways, but realising the biggest struggle will be to convince everyone else he’s truly a changed man.

Simon said: “My vision for this story is finally taking shape.”

The first-time film writer, who works at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, has only ever written and directed for theatre before.

Producer Luke Walton, who was joined animator Nick Park on a panel of experts to choose the winning competition entry, was on set too, off Red Marsh Industrial Estate, Thornton.

He said: “It’s a fantastic location – it’s amazing how this part of the world doubles for America.”

Filming continues in Manchester today and tomorrow before the finished product is taken to Hollywood for feedback from, amongst others, Ralph Winter, producer of X-men and Fantastic Four, in the Autumn.

Poulton and Wyre Rail Society (PWRS) has said it is honoured to be able to host Hollywood-destined film makers on the disused railway it looks after.
Geoff Ogden, PWRS secretary, said: “It is a bit of a privilege to have filming done here. When we got our clearance licence Network Rail said we’d get people making offers for filming.
“We’ve been busy making this look like California for now, but what we’re looking for is if we can do a good job we can start to open trains along this line, from Poulton to Fleetwood.”

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