Feature: Movie-making family starts its first feature

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A father and son filmmaking team are hoping to raise £500,000 to fund their first feature.

Cinema-savvy Andy and Callum Burn, who form one half of local film company Tin Hat Productions, already have a dozen or so short films to their names.

L-R Andy and Callum Burn, local filmmakers looking ahead to making their first feature film.

L-R Andy and Callum Burn, local filmmakers looking ahead to making their first feature film.

Now the pair are hoping to utilise so-called “crowdfunding” to get cameras rolling on their first full-length motion picture aboutlocally-based Bomber Command.

It is an approach used by such filmmakers as Garden State director and Scrubs star Zach Braff to bankroll productions and involves collecting small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the internet.

Andy, 48, said: “It’s a way of getting funding for your movie without being controlled by the industry.”

The Burn boys have set themselves a target of £500,000 for their first feature (a war film called Our Shining Sword), which Andy describes as “very, very little”, especially, he says, in light of the Hollywood-level production values they hope to achieve.

Much of this sum, he says, would go on paying cast and crew for the length of the project, which would be too long to rely on volunteers.

He said: “If you are not paying people you save a fortune.”

Our Shining Sword is set during the Second World War and takes Bomber Command as its subject matter.

The title is a reference to a comment made after the conflict by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur Harris, the Commander in Chief of Bomber Command, about the Lancaster.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, based at RAF Coningsby, and Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, at East Kirkby have expressed an interest in supporting the production, Sleaford-based Andy says.

Even if the crowdfunding falls short of the £500,000 target, the film will still go ahead, he says.

Andy said: “The way that we work is we make the film regardless. We have been brought up on that ethos because if you always rely on getting your budget you often will end up doing nothing.”

He added: “It will mean a drastic re-think, but we can still do it.”

Callum, 21, who has recently graduated from London’s Met Film School with a first in practical filmmaking and would direct the film, said he was not daunted about calling the shots on their first feature.

He said: “I’m not worried about it. I know I can do a short film. It’s just a longer shooting period.”

Producer Andy says he hopes the film will raise awareness of the actions of Bomber Command, increase their profile as filmmakers, but also show Hollywood-level productions can be achieved on a relatively small budget.

He said: “The established wisdom of doing things is you can’t make a really high-end product for less than £5 million. We maintain yes you can. With modern technology, you can produce an incredibly high-end product for much less than the current wisdom dictates you can.”

And while recreating the period faithfully is important, says Andy, foremost in the team’s mind is entertaining audiences.

He said: “If it’s not entertaining, people won’t go and see it and then you have got no chance of getting the message across.”

Crowdsourcing is expected to begin later this year with a release date of 2016.