Billy’s thrilled as film prepares to premiere

Todmorden film maker, music sudio owner and musician Billy Glew
Todmorden film maker, music sudio owner and musician Billy Glew

He’s perhaps better known for his work in the world of music, but an event next Friday will unveil another side to Billy Glew.

The owner of Robinwood Studio, Todmorden, has spent some time studying for his MA in digital film making at Bradford University and is now looking to screen the finished work at festivals next year.

From its academic premise, Auguste grew and became an ambitious, self-funded short feature film, costing around £1,000 to make with the majority of filming completed in Todmorden, Heptonstall and Hebden Bridge, in addition to some scenes in Salford and Manchester.

Auguste has been produced and directed by Billy with Tim Sheehan writing the screenplay.

The story focuses on a fired office worker who steals from a loan shark and is plagued by dreams that foretell a violent confrontation.

It has an impressive cast with some rising stars and local talent, including Craig Cheetham, shortly to appear in Shameless creator Paul Abbott’s new series next year, Peter Slater, Bill Rofe, Steven Hooper, and Matthanee Nilavongse of Todmorden’s Three Wise Monkeys bar on Water Street, who is also a performance artist. Mollina Rothwell took care of costume and make-up.

There is a chance for local film fans to sample the atmospheric thriller at Todmorden’s Unitarian Church, Honey Hole Close, just off Rochdale Road, next Friday, December 5, from 7pm to 10pm.

Billy says: “The aim of the Todmorden premiere is to promote the film and raise money to enable the film to be entered into independent film festivals.

“We also hope to attract investors for future projects that are currently being developed.”

The Calder Valley provided some excellent locations for filming, said Billy.

“For example, we filmed, all with permission, at the White Lion in Heptonstall and the graveyard and ruined church at the village was suitably atmospheric. We also used the moorland around Sourhall, Todmorden - the main fight scenes were filmed there.

“There were various places in Hebden Bridge then at the old Turn Leathers factory at Cornholme, which was memorable for me - that’s where I bought my first leather jacket! It was a brilliant building to use.”

With Billy still having his hand firmly on the controls at Robinwood Studio, inevitably music plays an important part in the pacing of the film.

“There’s jazz, blues, hip-hop and soul in there and a dream sequence features Steve Watts, who used to be the keyboard player with New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Demon. Attic Dogs, from Todmorden, have their music coming out of a juke box in the film, for example,” he said.

“There’s a lot of music in film soundtracks, you get a feeling, structure and dynamic.”

Also featured are Parlour Rollers, who are one of the bands and musicians who will provide the musical element of Friday’s premiere.

The doors open at 7pm, with Parlour Rollers, who have a hint of American rock band Pearl Jam about them, taking to the stage from 7.30pm to 8.10pm.

Auguste itself is screened from 8.20pm to 9.10pm, and then there will be more music from Diesler from 9.20pm to 10pm, when the event finishes.

Food will be supplied by Three Wise Monkeys.

He is pleased with the results on taking this new artistic direction, and one in which he will be able to offer extra services to bands using the studio - he has already produced a live video for Calderdale rockers Fez.

“I wanted to try something new, because I’ve been working in music colleges for 17 years as well as running my studio.

“I wanted to do something fresh, and now as well as running Robinwood, I am about to start a PhD in Film Studies at Lancaster University,” said Billy.

Next up for Auguste itself is a screening at The Corner House in Manchester in January, before taking steps onto the film festival circuit.