Pub lands lead role in award-winning film

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A MORPETH pub will be making its debut on the big screen with a leading role in an award-winning film.

The Tap and Spile is one of several local locations to take centre stage in Young Hearts Run Free — the first feature film venture of Ashington director and producer Andy Mark Simpson.

Set in a mining village in the 1970s during a violent strike, it follows teenage artist Mark (Andy Black), who falls in love with the new girl from London, Sue (Jennifer Bryden). However, their love story sets them against their families, community and best friends, leaving them with difficult choices.

Various areas of Northumberland were used for shots, including Pegswood, Lynemouth and Linton, and of course, the Tap and Spile.

Nicola Phillips, whose mother owns the pub, said: “I remember the filming being done and the locals were quite pleased about it.

“The pub had to be shut for some of the filming, but sometimes only the front door was used and at other times we could let people in the back to watch what was going on. I think they were intrigued by it all.

“It was something a bit different. Nothing else like this has happened in the pub.”

Mr Simpson funded the venture himself and produced the film, complete with 1974 detail, a location down a coal mine and a full riot scene, for less than the cost of a family car.

He said: “The film really explores life in the region and celebrates our culture and heritage. I would like to thank the talented north east cast and crew for their great performances and hard work, and local communities in Northumberland for their help in making the film and achieving its authenticity.

“I’m looking forward to showing it around the country. 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 film will be released in cinemas next month with a national tour beginning at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle, but it has already impressed the critics, winning festival awards and commendations in the UK, United States and India.

“This is my first feature film and I’m quite pleased with it. It is starting to get my name out there. Getting awards and recognition is what you hope for when you set out to make a film,” said Mr Simpson.

“I’m looking to meet other producers who I can go into partnership with to get more films off the ground and hopefully make films with a bigger budget, where I’m not putting up all of the money myself. I’m writing a couple of scripts at the moment so I’m hoping to maybe start a new project later this year, but at the moment I’m concentrating on the film release.”

The film premieres at the Tyneside Cinema on Sunday, April 3 at 3.10pm, with tickets available from the venue. It will also be shown there on Tuesday, April 5 at 12.45pm.

Each screening will be followed by a question and answer session with Mr Simpson and selected cast and crew so audiences can meet the team, discuss the mining heritage of the area and learn how the film was made.