Writer: Aaron Nelson
Director: Jack Spring
Starring: Matt Sheahan, Dan Shelton, David J. Keogh, Tom Gilling and Michael Kinsey
Jack Spring, Britain's youngest film director, talks to Movie Parliament about how he's putting Dewsbury and Grimsby on the cinematic map...
The film is about four old school friends who come together for a road trip in order to see their friend Frankie one last time before he dies from cancer. Its influences are clear from the get-go, with an opening title sequence that’s reminiscent of The World’s End. Speaking exclusively to Movie Parliament, Spring confirmed that director Edgar Wright was an inspiration. This can be seen through some of the film’s quick cuts and one boozy, beer-fuelled montage.
The film's gross-out humour makes it something of a middle-aged The Inbetweeners, as the road trip involves an inadvertent detour to a swingers hotel and a cat-and-mouse chase with a Russian gangster. However, it comes to a surprisingly emotional conclusion, where the strength of the lead performances really shines through. In particular, David J. Keogh brings depth to the brash Adam, and Tom Gilling is an endearing presence as the lovable Smithy. While the characters do reach Dewsbury, the film itself ultimately ends up in a rather unexpected place.
This echoes the film's own unconventional journey to the big screen. Spring explains on his website how, being so young, financing was initially hard to come by. In order to impress potential investors, Spring started a hot tub hire company. Starting with just one hot tub, Spring and his friends grew the business to the point where they were renting out over sixty hot tubs across nine cities. Such success meant that Spring could return to investors with a proven record for financial returns.
With one feature film now under his belt, Spring says how financing for his second has proven far easier, raising in minutes what it took years to accrue for Destination Dewsbury. This is particularly good news as far as this site is concerned, as Spring’s next feature film, Three Day Millionaire, will be set and shot in my hometown of Grimsby.
Similarly to Dewsbury, Grimsby is a town that gets a bad press. It doesn’t help that, internationally, the place is best known for the Sacha Baron Cohen film The Brothers Grimsby. I recently wrote an article for Film Stories magazine about that film, which called for more productions to base themselves in Grimsby so that the town could receive a much-needed boost to its image.
Unlike Baron Cohen, Spring has shown with Destination Dewsbury that he isn’t out to mock his film's setting. While there was some skepticism at first from locals, Spring explains how when they saw the sincerity of his approach, they were incredibly helpful and happy to receive the attention.
Grimbarians can rest assured that Three Day Millionaire will have a similarly, if not even more, reverent approach to its location. Spring’s family comes from the North East Lincolnshire town, and he himself is a huge Grimsby Town F.C. fan. Spring remarks how “people in Grimsby are very proud of where they’re from and it’s a big part of their identities. Grimsby Town is certainly a big part of mine.” While Three Day Millionaire’s script originally set the action in Hull, when reading it, Spring could picture the exact places in Grimsby where he wanted to film.
"People in Grimsby are very proud of where they're from and it's a big part of their identities. Grimsby Town is certainly a big part of mine." - Jack Spring
The film will be more of a drama than Destination Dewsbury, with Spring mentioning Shane Meadows’ This is England as another reference point. Meanwhile, he’s hoping that the higher budget will allow him to do more ambitious things with the camera.
With a visual style influenced by Edgar Wright and thematic concerns similar to Shane Meadows, Spring has the potential to combine two successful strands of modern British filmmaking. Meanwhile, in setting films in locations such as Dewsbury and Grimsby, he's giving British towns some much-needed exposure on the big screen. With Grimsby MP Melanie Onn pushing for the town to become Britain’s first Town of Culture in 2023, Three Day Millionaire could show Grimsby’s cultural potential, and finally provide a cinematic counterpoint to Sacha Baron Cohen’s film.
Destination Dewsbury is currently screening at Showcase Cinemas across the UK and Three Day Millionaire is scheduled to start shooting in June.
By Movie Parliament Prime Minister,