War film all ready for take-off

After four years' dogged effort, a small, plucky band of Sleaford filmmakers have realised their dream of making their first feature film.

Tin Hat Productions have completed work on Lancaster Skies, a Second World War tale inspired by the missions of Bomber Command.

For much of the production, the film went by the name Our Shining Sword, but at the start of the year gained a new title. This was done on the advice of distributors to foreground the world-famous star involved in the picture, the Lancaster (the surviving Second World War bomber at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre, at East Kirkby, was used for shoots).

About the same time, a decision was also taken – for artistic reasons – to make the film black-and-white.

Now, the filmmakers are looking ahead to the release stage of the production; they are applying to festivals and are in talks with distributors.

Tin Hat Productions is Andy Burn, 52, son Callum Burn, 26, both of Sleaford, and Sam Parsons, 28, of London, who attended film school with Callum. The trio have also had loyal support from Scott Ellis, 26, of Lincoln.

The last four years has seen them band together in the spirit of, appropriately enough, a classic British war film to overcome numerous obstacles in their path through determination and resourcefulness.

They have made costumes, built sets (including a replica Lancaster), crafted models for special effects sequences, and held fundraisers again and again and again – achieving a number of high profile endorsements along the way, including from TV personality Stephen Fry.

Now, with the film in the can, Andy finds it a somewhat surreal experience.

He said: “You wake up every day and all you think about is [the film] for four years and suddenly you wake up and haven’t got to think about it. It’s a bit strange.”

In January 2014, when the Standard first spoke with Tin Hat Productions about the film Andy told the paper he wanted Hollywood-level production values for it.

The finished product has exceeded his expectations, he says.

“I absolutely love it,” he said. “It’s better than we possibly ever imagined.”

The film also proved a hit at a cast and crew screening.

With a significant amount of money invested in the £80,000 production on credit, a similar reaction from the public would help financially. On this front, Andy is again aiming high.

“I’m a very ambitious person,” he said. “I will not be satisfied with it covering itself. I want it to be hugely successful because it deserves to be.”