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Toilers of the Sea in Alderney

Toilers of the Sea in Alderney

Friday 11 February 2022

Toilers of the Sea in Alderney

MEDIA RELEASE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not Bailiwick Express, and the text is reproduced exactly as supplied to us

The producers of a film adaption of Victor Hugo’s novel, Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea) are keen to involve local talent as they finalise their plans for the project in Alderney as well as Guernsey.

Dave Shanks and Joy Mellins met with Alderney’s Economic Development Committee (EDC) to discuss the benefits to the Island, including enrolment both in front and behind the camera and a massive boost to tourism.

The production has been in development stage for three years and now the producers are seeking the final funding in order to start shooting later this year.

“The potential for the Bailiwick both in its economy and future tourism is an opportunity not to be missed, especially when you consider that of the money raised 30% will actually be spent in the Bailiwick,” said Joy.

She said locations have been secured in both Alderney and Guernsey and with interest from the USA, Sony/EMI and pledges of more than £5m so far received, the producers have now set their new schedule and are looking at casting which is expected to include A-list actors.

They are keen to involve local talent both in front and behind the camera and are exploring various trades including construction, engineering and painting to support Heads of Department once preparations begin. Notice of cast calls and the extras required on-island will be published nearer the time.

EDC Chair Annie Burgess said: “Dave and Joy have an infectious enthusiasm and we look forward to seeing the visually creative and atmospheric scenes unfold. Filming on the Islands with a full cast and crew out of season would provide a welcome boost to our Bailiwick economy and we were pleased to offer our support. We await further proposals for filming on Alderney with the potential for showcasing our built and natural environment.”

Alderney’s stunning marine environment, unspoilt locations and historic buildings are ideal for much of the storyline about a Guernseyman named Gilliatt who aims to win the heart of a local ship owner’s niece by salvaging an engine from a wrecked ship. Victor Hugo’s story explores the power of love, one man’s dream and his ultimate sacrifice, and is dedicated to Guernsey where he spent 15 years in exile.

The producers are confident of the film’s potential to not only recoup the initial costs but to return a good profit and pointed to the success of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society film as an example that recouped more than double its costs.

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