Exmouth filmmaker recruits TV stars and rock band for Christmas-themed movie

PUBLISHED: 12:05 21 December 2017

Exmouth filmmaker John Panton's film 'Sleigh' stars Matt Berry (left) and Nigel Planner (right) and is co-written by David Quantick (centre) a former Exmouth Community College student

Exmouth filmmaker John Panton's film 'Sleigh' stars Matt Berry (left) and Nigel Planner (right) and is co-written by David Quantick (centre) a former Exmouth Community College student


Exmouth filmmaker John Panton’s latest film ‘Sleigh’ stars Nigel Planer, known for The Young Ones and Matt Berry as well as music provided by Elbow.

An Exmouth filmmaker is hoping people will enjoy his star-studded latest ‘sentimental and festive’ project this Christmas.

John Panton, a teacher at Exmouth Community College, has created a new short film starring television stars Matt Berry and Nigel Planer, with music by rock band Elbow.

The 12-minute feature, named Sleigh, which was shot at The Phoenix in Exeter, follows the story of a ‘currently unsuccessful’ music band named ‘The Kindness’ who are trying to produce a Christmas single.

John said: “Their manager Martin (played by Matt Berry) is trying to get them bonding to find the Christmas spirit.”

During the course of the film, tempers start to fray and when Nigel Planer’s character, Gerald, turns up, it makes matters worse.

The band’s lead singer Rob, who is also Gerald’s son, is played by former Exmouth Community College student Aiden Casey and fellow former pupil Sam Pike also stars.

John told the Journal that current staff and ex-pupils at the school also helped with the film.

“A lot of my films are generally darker, but I wanted this to be warmer and festive,” added John.

“It was a chance for me to do a more character-based piece.”

The music is provided by the acclaimed band Elbow, who have written a track specifically for the film.

John previously worked with Elbow when he directed the music video for Lost Worker Bee – shot in and around Exmouth last year.

John came up with the idea for the film after reading about how seventies rockers Slade came up with their festive hit Merry Xmas Everybody.

He added: “Slade recorded their hit during the height of summer in the United States, which fascinated me.”

After writing the script, he sent it to former Exmouth Community College pupil David Quantick, best-known for penning television series Veep, who made minor changes which John felt improved the final product.

He then approached Elbow to see what they thought of it and they replied ‘almost immediately’ saying they were in full support of the movie and were fully in favour of Nigel Planer and Matt Berry being cast.

John is hoping this will lead to possible feature-length productions in the future, with the Exmouth and Exeter area earmarked for shooting locations.

See Sleigh by clicking here

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