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New film has paranormal theme
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HERE’S a somewhat spooky-looking shot from the film. (Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)
   HERE’S a somewhat spooky-looking
shot from the film.

(Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)
A NEW film with a paranormal theme has just been released after John West, a regular contributor to Psychic News, joined forces with director Jason Figgis to make films and documentaries.

Their first feature film together, Winifred Meeks, was released by Bayview in America and Canada last month. A British release is to follow in September this year.

The film was shot entirely on location in Suffolk and features Lara Belmont (Rise of the Footsoldier and The War Zone) as successful writer Anna James, who rents a remote farmhouse called Seaview House to begin work on the latest of a series of teenage crime novels called The Emma Hart Mysteries.

Initially, the setting seems perfect, but soon Anna’s idyll becomes unsettled by the presence of an unquiet spirit being – that of Winifred Meeks, the former lady of the house.

As Anna delves into her writing, while a deadline looms she also determines to uncover the history of the property and with that unwittingly moves closer to a disturbing confrontation with the tragic figure who continues to hold sway within the walls of Seaview House.

The film was written and directed by Jason Figgis, and was heavily inspired by the stories of M. R. James and films such as The Haunting and The Legend of Hell House.

JASON FIGGIS: “There was more than one hair-raising experience.” (Photo: Jason Figgis)
JASON FIGGIS: “There was more
than one hair-raising experience.”
(Photo: Jason Figgis)

Jason, who teamed up with John in 2018, told Psychic News: “For several years, I wanted to write and direct a feature film looking at a haunted house scenario with only one onscreen character driving the narrative.

“When I wrote Winifred Meeks, there seemed only one likely candidate for this film – Lara Belmont – who created a blistering performance in Tim Roth’s controversial film The War Zone where she more than held her own opposite Ray Winstone and Tilda Swinton.

“Thankfully, Lara agreed to read the script, loved it and decided to come aboard.

“After several attempts to find the right location, it was only when I teamed up with writer and broadcaster John West, who was publicising my feature documentary Simon Marsden: A Life in Pictures, that everything clicked into place.”

John acted as the producer and also appears in the film as the landlord of the haunted house.

Other cast members are Bill Fellows (Lady Macbeth, Downton Abbey), Darren Travers (Don’t You Recognise Me?), Sally George (Casualty), Steven Jess (Red Rock), Gerry Hughes (Acrebury) and newcomer to the screen, Julie Abbott.

THIS atmospheric picture shows John West and Lara Belmont in the film. (Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)
   John West and Lara Belmont in a scene from the film.
(Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)

“John,” said Jason, “found a fabulous location in the village of Dunwich in Suffolk and before long the cast and crew were ensconced on set and making the film.

“The whole team was committed to creating the most atmospheric film that we could realise.

“There was more than one hair-raising experience during the proof production – not least when I had to sit at the bottom of the basement steps in complete darkness and call ‘Action!’”

Jason and John are now working on a documentary devoted to the life and work of Colin Wilson, famed author of The Outsider and many titles devoted to the supernormal.

Colin was originally a sceptic when it came to the subject, but this changed when he was commissioned to write The Occult in the late 1960s.

A POSTER for “Winifred Meeks” sets the scene. (Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)
POSTER for “Winifred Meeks”.
(Photo: October Eleven Pictures Ltd)

He quickly became a firm believer in the paranormal and went on to write many more titles on the subject, including bestselling books on Atlantis, UFOs, ESP, life after death and Uri Geller.

Both Jason and John have been admirers of Colin Wilson since their teens and decided it was high time that a feature-length documentary was made about his life and work.

“I first became aware of Colin’s work when I was a young boy, as my father’s bookshelves were lined with his publications,” said Jason. “It was many years later that I got to meet him when he invited me to visit him at his home in Cornwall in 2002.”

Colin “had seen a documentary that I directed called The Twilight Hour (which featured narration by John Hurt) and provided a quote for the publicity material.

“I remember vividly sitting at Colin’s feet in his study where so many of his classic books were written, as he read to me the opening chapter of his memoirs Dreaming to Some Purpose – the very book on which our documentary is now based.

“We are producing this film in collaboration with Martha Rafferty of Metanoia Music. The film features original music from her father, the celebrated composer and singer, the late Gerry Rafferty.”

The documentary is set to be completed later this year. It will then be offered to TV companies for broadcast. A DVD and VOD (video on demand) release is also planned.



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