A film, produced by Staffordshire University film lecturers and shot on location in and around Stoke-on-Trent, is to get its first live screening.

Running Naked, is a movie about Mark and Ben, friends since meeting as teenage cancer patients. After showing at Beijing and Portland International Film festivals, the film by North of Watford Films premiered online in February during World Cancer Week. It is showing at Mitchell Arts Centre in the City Centre on Thursday 21 October from 7pm and includes a Q&A with the producers.

The film, was made in conjunction with the MA in Feature Film Production at Staffordshire University and successfully brought together a crew of industry professionals who mentored students throughout the shoot. 

It rejoins Mark and Ben twenty years after their friendship develops. After receiving a dramatic piece of news, the film charts the friends as they embark on an adventure that will change both their lives.

Course Leaders Andy Paton and Mike Knowles produced the film which is directed by Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Victor Buhler. Written by Victor with Mike and his wife Jennifer Knowles, the heartfelt story draws on Jennifer’s personal experience as a cancer survivor.

Andy Paton, Senior Lecturer in Film Production, explained: “We believe that it is incredibly important for students to get hands-on experience working on a professional film shoot.

“We wanted to make an independent British film with a heart and hope that Running Naked brings a positive and hopeful message to anyone whose life has been touched by the cancer.

“The project is an amazing example of how the University’s resources can be used to create a professional feature film which is now being distributed across the world – something that is invaluable to our students as they forge their careers in the industry.”

The film stars Matthew McNulty (Domino), Andrew Gower (Carnival Row), Rakhee Thakrar (Sex Education), Tamzin Merchant (Carnival Row) and features a score by Craig Potter of Elbow.

Funding came from private equity and more than 60 postgraduate and undergraduate students worked on Running Naked which was shot over 20 days in summer 2018.  However, the film’s release was delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recognisable Staffordshire locations in the film include Staffordshire University, Baby Russets restaurant, Stoke Town Centre and Stafford Hospital.

Head of Department of Media and Performance Dr Rob Marsden said: “It’s a big night for Running Naked as it’s the first time is has screened out of lockdown and shows off the talent we have here at Staffordshire University as well as showcasing our city as a fabulous location for contemporary film. We hope people will feel confident to come out and celebrate the return of cinema to our city.”

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