Director goes back to Dales roots with new film

The Westmorland Gazette: CHANGE OF DIRECTION: Dan Hartley trained in law before finding his feet as a director in the film industry CHANGE OF DIRECTION: Dan Hartley trained in law before finding his feet as a director in the film industry

A former Austwick man who trained in law before finding his feet in film is looking for local actors to take part in a film he is shooting in the Dales, called Lad.

Dan Hartley, 36, was brought up in the village and attended primary school before going to Settle Middle School and High School.

When he was 16, his parents, who ran Benjamins, in Settle, and later the Cove Centre, in Malham, decided to emigrate to Australia for a better life and climate.

Dan and his younger brother, Joe, went with them and were joined later by his elder brother, Ben.

However the “sensibility” of England was too deeply rooted and the family returned four years later and settled in Cumbria.

Dan finished school in Adelaide and took a law degree at Newcastle University when he returned to the UK.

His degree, however, did not inspire him to work in the judicial system and instead he followed another passion – film.

“After a couple of years as a runner, I managed to get a job on the first Harry Potter film as a video trainee.

"This rapidly led to me becoming a video playback operator – a job which involves recording the cameras and playing them back for the director and I’ve kept that position ever since.

“It’s now about 12 years since I joined the film industry and have worked on all the Harry Potter films as well as The Bourne Ultimatum, Batman Begins, Sweeney Todd and many others.

“But ultimately my passion lies in directing and so I’ve also shot a number of short films, including a film called Love You, Joseff Hughes, which was BAFTA nominated in 2005, and White Other, which I just completed and which stars two Harry Potter actors – Tom Felton and Imelda Staunton.”

Dan, who lives in London, added: “Now it’s time to tackle a feature film, Lad, and it feels right to return home and film in North Yorkshire.

"I have, of course, been back many times and I’m always delighted at how little it has changed.

"The landscape and weather are still as humbling as I remember from my childhood.”

“Lad is a story about a teenager growing up in the Yorkshire Dales who forms a friendship with a national park warden when his dad dies.

"It’s a coming of age story that celebrates the Dales and its characters.

“The idea for Lad came about through my own experiences growing up in Austwick.

"At the time our neighbour, Al Boughen, was a national park warden and I used to accompany him most weekends as he went about his work.

“I think in many ways Al represented all the best things about North Yorkshire. He was a hard worker with a great sense of humour.

"He loved the landscape and he really cared about the community. I think that’s a story worth telling and I look forward to showing the world why Yorkshire folk are so proud.”

Shooting for the film is planned to begin in February with auditions starting in December.

For details of the acting parts, particularly two teenage boys who are central to the film, email dan@roguerunner.com.

“We’re going to need as much support as we can get, particularly crew and actors, but also people who can help with transport or accommodation and anyone who has interesting property or land that we might be able to film on.

"Anything and everything,” said Dan.

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