Solihull teacher's film dream realised with Birmingham showing

Image source, James Mason Productions
Image caption,
The film premieres at Birmingham's Millennium Point

A teacher's lifelong dream of having a film premiere is set to be fulfilled when his movie plays later.

Director and writer James Mason saved up his day job salary to finance "To Catch A Fish", to be shown at the Imax in Birmingham's Millennium Point.

It tells the story of Noel, a young, failing writer, coming to terms with the reality of his talent.

Mr Mason said he was "determined to be sole financier", with the 30-minute film costing about £7,000 to make.

"While my friends have been saving for mortgages, I have been saving for the film," said the English and media teacher at St. John Henry Newman Catholic College in Solihull.

Although the project left Mr Mason financially "dry", he was able to find a production crew through online forums and spend money on "a high-end production team".

Television and film scriptwriter Tim Prager, whose credits include Silent Witness, said the 25-year old's project was "nothing short of exceptional".

Image source, James Mason Porductions
Image caption,
James Mason cast his mother and father in his horror film

The film is a family affair, with the teacher's father being cast as evil character "The Gent", and his mother as a voice-over artist. The family home in Stratford-upon-Avon was also used as a set.

It was not just the budget that was tight for Mr Mason, but also "the seven-day shoot itself".

"During one scene, we had to stop halfway through and allow my mum to finish her dinner at the table," he said.

"As the director, it felt a bit awkward telling the crew that my mum had to eat her bowl of pasta before I could say 'action' again."

The film is the first of an anthology series called The Unfortunate Tales, with university friend and actor Huw Brentnall playing the main part of Noel.

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