Trainees at a Shoreham charity are thrilled to be appearing in the Oska Bright Film Festival for the second time.
Following the success of The Gruntles, filmed at the SOLD charity shop in Shoreham High Street in 2017, a sequel has been produced, The Gruntles 2: Ghosts of the Gift Shop.
Carolyn Shrosbee, founder of the charity, said: “It has again made it into the Oska Bright Film Festival, which obviously everyone is thrilled about.
“The festival is now BAFTA accredited and received over 2,000 international entries this year, shortlisted to the 80 showing over the four-day event.”
The Gruntles was shown at a pop-up cinema in the shop window last January but the sequel will have a bigger screening, at the Ropetackle Arts Centre on Monday, alongside the original.
Carolyn said: “The Gruntles 2 has this time been written and directed by Richard Norris, one of our trainees with autism, as well as starring lots of new learning disabled stars from our team. It’s a slightly spookier tale.
“This film has been long awaited, so to announce its arrival, we are having a big ol’ premiere. We will show both films with bloopers afterwards, followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew hosted by a mystery guest, all finished off by a disco till 11pm with our own SOLD DJ Jack.”
The trainees could not be more delighted and they are all looking forward to dressing up for the evening.
Richard explained his story takes place two years after the events in the original film. The Gruntles’ old shop has been reopened as a gift shop and they are not too happy about it. A glass cabinet breaks and there is a floating mannekin, so spiritual detectives have to be brought in to investigate.
Richard said: “I wrote it up as a storyboard first. We made some moderations. We had a little mishap or two but it went very well. I just hope people like it. It will be exciting.”
Richard plays one of the detectives in the film and there are about 13 other trainees in the cast, including some acting as customers.
Charlie Nicholson and Sophie Boiling are back as Melvin and Mildred Gruntle, who are not too happy about the new gift shop.
Charlie said: “It was so good to film. We had to be cross and it is hard to be miserable all the time. I like the story. This one is going to be cooler.”
Sophie said they had the added challenge of having speaking parts this time, whereas the first film was silent.
Lucy Buckman plays Becky Petals, who runs the gift shop.
She said: “I had to pretend to be scared. It was the first time I had ever tried acting. I didn’t believe I could do it but I did. I am so excited to see myself on screen.”
Darren Thompson also plays a detective, while Stephen Eldridge is one of the staff in the gift shop.
Stephen said: “It was brilliant, it was. It is the first time I have done any acting. I met lots of nice people. I enjoyed it. It has been really good fun.”
Darren added: “I found it quite scary. I was a bit nervous but I liked playing a detective.”
Jack Bruce had a small role this time but he will be a big part of the premiere evening, as he is the DJ, something he has been doing for about 11 years.
He said: “We had fun.”
Carolyn said they had tried to make it fair, so people who had small parts last time could play a bigger role, but it was very much Richard’s project and they went with his decisions.
Andy Gibson filmed and edited the sequel, including the special effects. He was also on hand to give technical advice but was happy to take a step back and let Richard take the lead.
Tickets for the premiere, on Monday at 7.30pm, are free. Contact the shop to be put on the guest list. There will be DVDs available to buy on the night.
The Oska Bright Film Festival takes place at The Old Market in Brighton from Wednesday, October 23, to Saturday, October 26.