Rural film and TV company in Scottish production for the BBC

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Simple Films

RIVER JOHN - A film and TV company based on the rural north shore of Nova Scotia has just completed filming its first co-production for mainstream television.

Simple Films - and Skye Larke Productions, the company established to produce the 90-minute feature length documentary, has been working hard for most of 2012 to meet very tight deadlines on a co-production with Mediaco-op in Glasgow, Scotland. 

The film, 'A Bridge Too Far', will be shown on the BBC in January 2013. It tells the story of the protests and campaign of non-payment of tolls on the Skye Bridge that now links mainland Scotland with the Isle of Skye.

"The bridge toll at the time made it the most expensive toll road in Europe," said Josephine Cresswell of River John, in a recent news release.

Cresswell has worked on the project from the start in March 2012.

"It was an experiment in private financing of public works that failed dismally," she said. "They thought they could get away with it but the protests caught the government and the Bank of America on the hop."

Simple Films has not only been able to raise finance for this project, but ensured the project meets UK/Canadian co-production treaty regulations. They have had a film crew working on Skye throughout September and will also be responsible for much of the post-production work and have brought in composer Scott MacMillan to create a unique musical score.

Producer Stuart Cresswell, also of River John, was excited by the project from the start.

"We knew that part of Scotland so well, crossing the Skye Bridge ourselves many times, it's a great place," he said. "So it felt right personally to do this. But we also felt the story had strong universal themes: a small community taking on industry, big business, the government and the Bank of America - and winning. "It's a real David and Goliath story. I also think there's a warning in there for Canadians as our government is toying with similar private finance initiatives for public works."

The film will premiere on the BBC in January before being sold internationally and screened in theatres across Canada.

Simple Films, which recently moved into its new offices in the center of River John, already have a second co-production lined up and a feature film project for production along the north shore. Simple Films was formed in 2008 and has produced a number of film and TV projects in that time, creating work for local people and a boost for the local economy.

"It`s very important for us to be working within a rural economy," said Cresswell. "In fact our ethics and commitment to the rural economy was one of the reasons we were chosen by Mediaco-op - out of all the companies in Canada - to be their co-production partners."

Organizations: BBC, Bank of America

Geographic location: RIVER JOHN, Scotland, Nova Scotia Glasgow Europe Canada UK

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