Appeals for aid to finish movie

A Wigan film maker is angling for an Oscar with his latest movie.

Chris Jones is putting the finishing touches to a 12-minute subject called Gone Fishing which has links to his own childhood in Billinge and has already won a rave national review for its screenplay.

And the 40-year-old is so enthusiastic about how it is turning out that he plans to take it to the Cannes Festival in France and also put it into contention for a short-film Academy Award.

It is billed as a moving story of a young boy and an old man as they deal with bereavement through their love of fishing.

The tale is wrapped around Old Bill's story of how when he was a boy, he tried to catch the world's biggest pike called Goliath.

It stars the veteran Scottish actor Bill Patterson reminiscing to 10-year-old movie newcomer James Wilson, while Harry Potter regular Devon Murray (Seamus in the films) plays Bill's younger self.

The film is being made on a shoestring budget with much equipment and some participants' services provided free of charge.

And most of the cash has been raised by a skint Chris through urging every friend, colleague and family member to donate 50 apiece.

Shooting took place at the world-famous Ealing Studios and on location in Dorking in August and now Chris' London-based Living Spirit film company is doing the sound and editing.

But there is still a shortfall of 5,000, so anyone wishing to make a donation can do so via this link and this will entitle them to attend the January premiere planned at the Bafta cinema in London.

Making the film is a means to an end for Chris. He dreamt it up to prove to a major production company that he has not lost the directing knack since he took several years out to write his internationally successful Guerilla Film Makers' Handbook series for would-be movie-makers.

Chris rose to prominence in the horror-thriller genre, with films such as White Angel starring Peter Firth and Urban Ghost Story with Jason Connery.

Now he is trying to get back into the groove. He said: "I have been planning to make a film called Rocket Boy – a rights of passage story about a boy who falls for a deaf girl – for some time now, and I sent off the script to a major production company who have agreed to make it on a 12m budget.

"But for me to have a chance of directing it myself I had to show some recent work, so this is where Gone Fishing came in.

"I am really pleased with it. The Sunday Express was kind enough to review the script and its critic Henry Fitzherbert described it as 'a truly wonderful screenplay' which gave us a big boost.

"There are also Wigan links to the film. For Goliath read Oscar, this huge pike who, when I was a boy, was alleged to live in The Blue Lagoon in Billinge."