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Award-winning short Their War filmed in Norfolk and Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 16:02 30 January 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 30 January 2019

Their War Credit:  Paddy Bartram

Their War Credit: Paddy Bartram

Archant

The debut film from a Norfolk director, created to mark the Armistice centenary, was shot entirely in East Anglia.

Max Mason, aged 24, from Hingham, is the writer, producer and director of Their War which follows a British and German soldier in the First World War and explores the differences and similarities between them.

The film is currently doing the festival circuit and has won nine awards in America and the UK including Best Narrative Short at the Independent Short Awards and Best Director at the LA Film Awards.

Max shot the film, which debuted at Norwich Film Festival, with a 40-strong crew in April last year, after the Beast from the East meant February filming had to be cancelled.

The 22-minute short was shot in north Norfolk, Culford School in Bury St Edmunds and the battle scenes were filmed at Trench Farm in Akenham, near Ipswich, which has also featured in Downton Abbey and 2017 film Journey’s End.

Their War Credit: Oliver NewmanTheir War Credit: Oliver Newman

Max previously spent a year working in LA for a producer and when his visa ran out he came back to the UK and freelanced whilst he created his first film.

Max said: “It was the most stressful thing I’ve done in my entire life but it was brilliant and we had a fantastic crew.

“I’ve always been interested in the war and with the centenary of the armistice last year it felt the right time do it.

“I started writing in March 2017, with various other jobs going on in the meantime, and getting money together and sorting the cast and crew.

The crew for Their War Credit: Oliver NewmanThe crew for Their War Credit: Oliver Newman

“I asked a few people I had worked on at other jobs for recommendations and there was a lot of people that helped me out and worked for beneath their pay grade.

“Most of the cast came from adverts I posted online and one actor had even played a fighter pilot in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

“It was quite hard as I didn’t have any money to organise rehearsals so I did as much as I could do over the phone as possible but everyone came up the day before and I rented the boarding house at Culford school and we went for it over four days.

“It made sense logistically to film in the area as it is near home and had the trenches and we also needed open space.”

Max Mason, director of Their War Credit: Molly MasonMax Mason, director of Their War Credit: Molly Mason

The film is split into two halves with the British and German soldiers, played by Hamish Riddle and Des Carney, at their homes with their families on the eve of their departure.

Then it follows them in the trenches and shows how they have changed and how war has affected them.

Max added: “It is important to create films about the war as it is one of those things that we can’t possibly fathom.

“We were filming at night and it was two degrees and standing on top of the trench and someone said how miserable it was and it made me imagine how much worse it was for them.

Their War soldiers Credit: Hannah EvansTheir War soldiers Credit: Hannah Evans

“The Director of Photography Paddy Bartram also showed the film at Norwich Castle as part of the Armistice services.

“It’s important everyone talks about what happened and sees that all these people went to war because they were told to and there is not a lot of difference between the two sides.”

To find out all the latest news about Their War and its public release date follow theirwarfilm.com and @TheirWarShort on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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