FILM – Edie Director Simon Hunter “Make as many films as you can”

Following our 5 star review of the wonderful film EDIE, we caught up with the talented director Simon Hunter to find out more about the film.

Following a successful festival run, Director Simon Hunter and Producer Mark Stothert’s Edie will receive a welcome cinematic release. Filmed by stunning Scottish mountains the film is as beautiful as it is inspirational, with a breath taking score created by the award-winning composer Debbie Wiseman. Edie stars BAFTA nominee Sheila Hancock (The Boy in Striped Pyjamas), Kevin Guthree (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Amy Franson (Torchwood) and Paul Brannigan (Love/Hate).

At the tender age of eighty three, a gruff old woman (Sheila Hancock) sets out to try and capture a little of the magic she had as a young girl. The story is a tale of triumph over adversity as Edie embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.

Director Simon Hunter made his first film at the tender age of 7 and went on to make nearly fifty films. At 18 Hunter made his first documentary in Central Africa Zaire, an African River Journey and his graduation film Click garnered several awards. His first feature Lighthouse had an impressive budget and was praised by the New York Post. Whilst directing commercials Simon created his second feature, a sci-fi movie called Mutant Chronicles and then Edie, a passion project of Hunter that tells the tale of an old lady heads to Scotland to climb a mountain.

Congratulations on the great movie. Where did the idea for this story come from?

It came from a student who I knew and once asked when they were studying a course at university that they didn’t like “why don’t you change courses?” and they replied “it’s too late I am stuck with doing medicine,”   I could not believe it, they were 21 years old! I thought surely it’s not too late to change direction at any age?? This was the starting point for the idea. The mountain came second.

In most of the scenes in the movie, it’s about Edie and Jonny. Both Sheila Hancock and Kevin Guthrie are great in their roles. How hard was it to find them? Was there any scene they had to act out as part of the casting?

Kevin sent me a self tape which was amazing and I knew immediately he was Jonny. It was incredibly hard to find an actress who physically would be up to climbing, rowing, cycling and acting for 6 days a week for six weeks straight. I mean physically able to climb one of Scotlands most iconic mountains? A fourteen kilometre walk in then a long scramble on hands and knees! It was incredibly difficult and I doubted if we would find anyone. Sheila told asked me at the first meeting “you don’t expect me to climb the thing do you?” … I kind of just looked at the floor and mumbled “well yes” She then put herself through weeks of training in the gym and in Richmond park with an army officer….all at the age of 83. I have never met a woman like that before in my life. She was incredible.

In the movie, we see a lot of amazing shots regarding the incredibly beautiful nature. Was it really shot in Inverness or was this in another place?

It was mostly shot in Lochinver, Sutherland about two hours north west of Inverness and it was an incredible canvas for the film. There was no mobile and wifi access and the crew had to climb the mountain with rucksacks laden with cameras and lenses, it was an incredible effort from everyone. Not least Sheila who walked and climbed every single inch.

Making a movie is a very difficult and hard process. What was the most difficult thing about making this one?

Taking a film crew up a remote mountain with an access of 83. No one knew if we could pull this off. A bit of luck, Sheila’s mental power and an amazing effort from an utterly dedicated crew won the day….just !

When did you know that you wanted to become a director?

When I was seven and my father bought me a super 8 film camera. I actually was in Lochinver at the time so I imagine that (our location) the mountain of Suilven was in my first film! It’s slightly better filmed in EDIE !

Do you have any advice for other directors who want to start in the industry?

Make as many films as you can. Go out and shoot and then shoot some more. Keep going and enjoy it. Make what you love, you will always understand that subject matter better and be able to listen to your internal voice with more clarity.

The movie will come out in the UK this Friday. Are there already any other countries you will go to with Edie?

Yes Many, Italy, The United States, France, Scandinavia, Japan and we open in New Zealand and Australia at the end of June,

Just one last question: Are there already news ideas/movies in the pipeline?

I want to make a movie about poaching in Africa, it’s a subject close to my heart and I want to make a character study movie there. Africa is just the most incredible continent and not shown enough in the cinema.

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