£60,000 pledged for film about disabled Darlington man

TENS of thousands of pounds has been pledged in a matter of weeks towards a film of a severely disabled football fan.

Give Them Wings is an upcoming feature film about Darlington FC fan Paul Hodgson and his battle with childhood meningitis, which left him unable to move or speak. Mr Hodgson and his film making colleagues have battled for years to attract enough interest to make the project a success, and began fundraising eight weeks ago.

In that time, more than £60,000 has been pledged for the film through an Enterprise Investment Scheme and fundraising events. Mr Hodgson said: “It is going really well – both options are proving really popular.

“Those who can’t afford the minimum £500 to purchase shares can still sponsor towards the catering and receive a credit, or a featured extra role, depending on how much they donate.”

Ian Carter, board member at PIMM Productions which is putting on the film, said: “Paul knows Brian Little, the former Darlington manager, really well, and they were talking about the project. Brian took an instant interest and offered to do what he can to raise funds. He also introduced us to Stephen Withe, the son of former Aston Villa, Newcastle and England striker, Peter Withe.

“As well as finding possible investors, he has agreed to help organise a high profile celebrity football match, and a Sportsmans dinner. ”

Mr Hodgson added: “Brian has been a huge help and has opened many doors in order to move the production forward, and we are extremely grateful for him for this.”

Musician and actress Toyah Willcox has already been conformed to star in the film alongside award-winning director Sean Cronin and Holby City actor Bill Fellows.

Mark Stobbart from Line of Duty, Katie Sheridan from Walking The Dead and James Baxter from Still Open All Hours and Emmerdale are also signed up. The production of the film is being directed by Sean Cronin, who has worked alongside many of Hollywood’s greats in blockbusters including the Harry Potter series, and Mission Impossible 5.

He said: “I am extremely proud to have been asked to direct this heart rending, through provoking story.”

Production will begin next year. For more information about sponsorship and investment opportunities, email info@pimmproductions.co.uk.

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Toyah Willcox to visit the region ahead of starring in film about Darlington man’s life

TOYAH Willcox is preparing to play the mother of a North-East football fan in a movie about his life. 

The popular musician and actor will visit the region next month to attend a showcase event hosted by the team behind Give Them Wings, an upcoming feature film about Darlington man Paul Hodgson.

Ms Willcox is the latest cast member announced for the project, which tells the story of Mr Hodgson’s battle with childhood meningitis, which left him unable to move or speak.

She will join a team including award-winning director Sean Cronin and Holby City actor Bill Fellows in bringing the PIMM Productions venture to the big screen.

Known as Flipper to his fellow football supporters, Mr Hodgson and his filmmaking colleagues have battled for years to attract enough funding to make the project a success.

The showcase event is being staged in a bid to keep supporters – who have helped to raise more than £50,000 – up to date with the progress of the film while giving the public an opportunity to enjoy a sneak preview of how it could look.

Hosted by PIMM Productions and the Darlington Film Club, it will see Ms Willcox join in a Q&A session following a screening of the trailer for Give Them Wings. 

To be held at The Forum in Darlington, the event will also feature a showing of PIMM’s short film, An Unfortunate Woman, which won the best narrative short film award at 2014’s Mosaic World Film Festival.

Mr Hodgson said he was thrilled to have Toyah Willcox – who has also starred in Quadrophenia and Jubilee – involved with PIMM’s labour of love.

She joined the project after being passed the script by the film’s director, and Mission Impossible actor, Sean Cronin.

Mr Hodgson said: “Sean worked with her and gave her the script, which she said she loved and now she has agreed to be in it.

“Managing to get Toyah Willcox is huge for us and to get her to come to our showcase event goes to show the faith she has invested in our project, we’re really excited.

“We hope that the event will show people how far we have come with this project, we’re really pleased at how it is all coming together.”

James Watson, who runs the Darlington Film Club, said he was thrilled and very proud to be part of the event, which is taking place on Monday, March 26 from 7pm.

Mr Watson added: “When the film club first moved to The Forum, the first showing we had was of Quadrophenia and I couldn’t manage to get Toyah Willcox to come then so personally, it’s amazing to know she will be joining us.

“She means different things to different people, whether you like her for her music or for her acting work. 

“To have her come up to Darlington to do this is a bit of a coup for us and it’s great to do something showcasing the work of a local film company.

“It’s good for them, good for us and good to show how the community can work together.”

Tickets for the event are £8. To book, or for more information, visit theforumonline.co.uk.

PIMM Productions are raising money to fund Give Them Wings in a variety of ways, including through grants, fundraising and the selling of shares.

To find out how to support the project or for more information about it, visit PIMM Productions on Facebook.

With thanks to Reporter, Joanna Morris. Link to article below:

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Film nets North-East filmmakers international award

A FILM documenting the tragic story of a Darlington woman who murdered her disabled son has netted an international award. 

An Unfortunate Woman, by North-East film company PIMM Productions, was recently named Best Narrative Short Film at the Mosaic World International Film Festival.

It follows the true story of Kathleen Mulraney who lived in Darlington in the early 1900s and killed her severely disabled son, Derek.

Ms Mulraney, who was brought up in a Catholic orphanage where she was treated brutally by nuns, murdered Derek in a bid to save him from being institutionalised, potentially suffering the same fate.

Initially sentenced to hang, she was released from prison after a year after a reporter took up her cause and campaigned on her behalf, saying it was a mercy killing.

The story came to light following family tree research by Darlington-based writer Ian Carter who later penned the script with fellow North-East writers Paul Hodgson and Margaret Collins, while Harry Potter actor Sean Cronin took on the role of director.

The film was shot around the North-East at locations including the BeamishMuseum, Consett Police Station, Darlington’s Queen Elizabeth College and the Forester’s Arms pub in Coatham Mundeville.

In May, it was screened at the Cannes Film Festival where it received positive reviews and has since been entered into several film competitions, beating off entries from 32 countries to win at the Mosaic festival.

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