26 August, 2023
Mark Rylance to star in environmental short film, 'Spirit of Place'.
On the Edge is thrilled to announce that principle photography has wrapped on ‘Spirit of Place’, a scripted short film that is set in and amongst wetland environments starring Academy Award®-winning actor Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk).
The film is a meditation on identity and follows two young protagonists as they spend time in and around inner-city wetlands.Through chance encounters and some curious discoveries, they begin to learn about themselves and their relationship with the natural world. This is a film that puts wetlands firmly in the spotlight and makes use of these important yet under-appreciated spaces. The film is executive produced by On the Edge and being made in association with WWT (Wildfowl and Wetland Trust) of which Mark Rylance is an ambassador.
Mark Rylance said: “As a proud ambassador for the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust I’m delighted to be involved with ‘Spirit of Place’, exploring our vital but under-appreciated wetlands habitats and the crucial role they play within our precious ecosystem.
In this era of ecological crisis, I hope this story inspires audiences of all ages to go out and spend time in nature, to discover for themselves the power of reconnecting with our planet, and helps to promote the conservation and creation of wetland spaces.”
Spirit of Place stars Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk), Hannah Chinn (Domina, There’s Always Hope), Jordan Peters (Pirates, Everything I Know About Love), Rakhee Thakrar (Sex Education, My Happy Ending) and Sam Thorpe-Spinks (Sexy Beast, A Spy Among Friends).
It is written and directed by Jack Cooper Stimpson (Alex’s Dream, Way Down Bundy, Extinction), and produced by Lewis Brierly and Izzy Meikle-Small with cinematography from Pip White (Annette).
Sustainability is at the heart of this production. Cast and crew are implementing new tools to help reduce the carbon footprint of theproduction, without compromising on high production standards across all departments. At the heart of this, is Equity’s Green Rider, which launches this week. A new tool for talent, that generates better environmental standards and expectations forworking on TV and film projects.
The Green Rider Campaign Team said, “We're thrilled the Green Rider is being used on Spirit of Place. As the climate crisis bites,the UK film industry has a leading role to play in healing our planet.
Actors, like Mark, can use their voices to champion theleadership needed to revive our world, including vital government action tophase out fossil fuels.”
The writer and director Jack Cooper Stimpson (Alex’s Dream, Way Down Bundy, Extinction) said: “Writing and directing this film has been an enormous privilege.Our wetland habitats were not on my radar before this project. It has been fascinating researching them and learning more about their quirks and characteristics, alongside their scientific function. Putting that on screen has been a wonderful challenge.”
“Collaborating with Mark Rylance on this project has been a very special experience. Working closely with Mark on the initial drafts of the story helped unlock new textures and themes that have totally transformed the end product. His generosity and care towards the characters and story has been a joy to participate in.”
“This intersection of science and art is anincreasingly urgent part of our culture of storytelling. Now, more than ever,we need stories that will inspire audiences to acknowledge and exist in nature. Not apart from it. On The Edge are a company working at this intersection and Icould not have hoped for a better team to have partnered with. Their trust and support has been vital to getting this project made."
The film is being funded and executive produced by Beth Blood and Karen Vermeulen at On the Edge. A multi-media not-for-profit organisation working to emotionally reconnect people with nature through storytelling.
Founder and CEO of On the Edge, Beth Blood said: “At On the Edge, our focus is almost always on lesser known endangered species and habitats, trying to not only raise their profile but to also use them to encourage a greater appreciation and love of nature.
When Jack Cooper Stimpson approached us about creating a film about wetlands, a lesser known ecosystem compared to forests and oceans, using a scripted live action format over documentary, we jumped at it. It was 100% in line with our mission and what wetry to do with all of our content.”
Spirit of Place is being shot entirely on location, at Woodberry Wetlands in North London and WWT London Wetland Centre in South West London. The film is produced by Lewis Brierly and Izzy Meikle-Small.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) is a leading global wetland conservation charity. Laura Williams, WWT Campaigns Manager, said: “We were very excited to get Mark on board as WWT ambassador last year to champion wetlands. He’s really helped us tell the story of wetlands and why they matter to a wide variety of people.”
"We can’t wait to see the results of this amazing collaboration and have been pleased to be able to help shape this film – bringing to life the superpowers that wetlands have to fight climate change, connect us with nature, provide homes for wildlife, improve our health and wellbeing, protect us against flooding and drought and clean our water.”
“We are building a movement of wetland champions – led by ambassadors such as Mark. This will help us achieve our ambition of creating 100k more hectares of wetlands in the UK, unlocking their potential and benefiting even more people. Find out more at wwt.org.uk/wetlands-can”
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