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Whitechapel cinema in red carpet debut

PUBLISHED: 13:04 21 September 2010

WHEN a small family-run Whitechapel cinema decided to have a crack at making a movie of its own, its producers never could have guessed they would debut at one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world.

But this week Genesis Cinema, run by the Walker-Hebborn family, was celebrating after its first ever film was selected for the BFI London Film Festival.

Produced on a meagre budget of £100,000 and shot in just 18 days, feature film Edge follows a disparate group of characters holed-up in a hotel on the Devon coast.

Musician Glen (actor Paul Hilton) is in search of inspiration, Phillip (Joe Dempsie from Skins) and Sophie (Nichola Burley from Street Dance 3D) have set up a date over the internet, Wendy (Marjorie Yates from Shameless) has locked herself in her room with a grim objective and Elly (Maxine Peake from Criminal Justice) just wants to be alone.

Executive producer Tyrone Walker-Hebborn, who bought the cinema in 1998, admitted he didn’t know a thing about production when he launched Genesis Entertainment just over a year ago.

But on the advice of friend and Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, he decided to have a go. He told the Advertiser: “Local filmmakers Carol Morley and Cairo Cannon said: ‘I hear you’re going into production.’ I said: ‘I’ve got no money and I don’t know what I’m doing.’ But I thought I’d get on board.

“Now, within a year we’ve opened a production company and got a film into the London Film Festival. We’re thrilled.”

For writer and director Carol Morley, the inspiration for the movie came from her parents’ own dark time holed-up in hotels.

She said: “My dad once checked himself into a hotel as John Ford and took an overdose. He was unsuccessful, but later, when I was 11, some other time and place, he really did succeed in killing himself.

“Since then I have been pre-occupied with suicide, why people do it, how people do it, what it all means. In Edge, all the hotel guests are caught up in contemplating what the point of their lives are. I suppose there has always been a part of me that wonders what would have happened if my dad had met some stranger the day he committed suicide. Could a chance meeting have changed the course of events? In Edge, each character becomes a catalyst for another and through these chance encounters, each are saved.”

Edge will premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 24, 9pm and at the Genesis Cinema on October 26, 8.45pm.

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