Movie maker gets ready to hit the road and run free

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ASHINGTON film-maker Andy Mark Simpson will be touring cinemas nationwide next month to show off an award-winning movie he made on a rock-bottom budget.

Andy claims to have made the self-funded feature film Young Hearts Run Free for less than the price of a family car.

Produced by Bede Films, it is set in a north east mining village in the 1970s and was filmed in Ashington and other south east Northumbrian locations.

Andy, its director and producer, said: “The film really explores life in the region and celebrates our culture and heritage.

“Although it is set in a north east mining village in 1974, it has universal themes of community, friendship, first loves and teenage rebellion.

“The cinema release of the film is unique as it will be touring the country with each screening, followed by a question-and-answer session with selected cast and crew and me, so audiences can meet the team, discuss the recurring economic situation and mining history and learn how the film was made.”

The film, set against the backdrop of a miners’ strike, tells how teenage artist Mark, played by Andy Black, falls in love with Londoner Sue, played by Jennifer Bryden.

Their attempts to run off together lead him to betray his family, community and best friends, however, forcing him to choose between his old pals and his new love.

Andy added: “It’s a coming-of-age story against the backdrop of community bonds strained under a crumbling economy. The 1970s setting is very relevant for today.

“Young Hearts Run Free is an uplifting and soulful mix of cool 1970s styles – warm-hearted romance and gritty social realism.”

The film has won numerous awards and commendations at festivals around the world, including one for best low-budget feature at America’s Houston Worldfest and an outstanding actress award at India’s Stepping Stone Film Festival.

Andy’s tour begins with a premiere at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle on Sunday, April 3.

A screening and Q&A session will be held at 3.10pm. Another will follow at the Pilgrim Street cinema on Tuesday, April 5, at 12.45pm.

Andy added: “I would like to thank the talented north east cast and crew for their great performances and hard work, and the local communities in south Northumberland for their help in making the film and achieving its authenticity.

“I’m looking forward to showing it around the country.”