The story behind the production of In Our Name is a heartening one in these difficult times for the UK film industry.
The film is a low-budget production, tackling a theme with personal resonance for writer-director Brian Welsh - the plight of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their attempts to readjust to society.
Shot in the Northeast with a crew largely composed of graduates from the National Television School, the film seemingly came out of nowhere to be selected for the London Film Festival while also acquiring Best British Newcomer nominations for Welsh and producer Michelle Eastwood.
In fact Eastwood has been a producing acclaimed short films for many years through her company Escape Films, while also working with the disability filmmaking group 104 Films. (She’s also a former participant of the Skillset Trailblazers scheme.) Brian Welsh is also a highly experienced writer, editor and director. The pair are both NFTS graduates and decided to pool their contacts and resources from the filmmaking school to help with their debut feature, and found a crew all too eager to join the project.
The resulting film is powerful yet nuanced, looking at how returning servicemen struggle to interact with their families and surrounding communities. The main role of Suzy is taken by Joanne Froggatt (in a remarkable performance), but although the issue of women in the military is touched upon, the film wisely downplays the theme, focusing on the universality of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
It could be said that the film was unfortunate to play in a London Film Festival that contained so many other hyped new British films (Submarine , The Arbor , Achipelago , The King's Speech ), but hopefully In Our Name will still benefit from its increased profile.
The film's raw theme should also resonate with mainstream audiences, and it's an issue that experts from across the political spectrum believe needs more attention.
In our interview Welsh and Eastwood discuss the film's genesis, production and how they identified the cast and crew they wanted to work with.
In Our Name is released on Friday 10th December 2010.