The Fronts of War
|The Fronts of War|
|Directed by||Thomas Gardner|
|Produced by||Thomas Gardner|
|Written by||Thomas Gardner|
|Music by||Con Daniels|
|Edited by||Brendan Higgins|
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The Fronts of War is a 2021 British short war film written, produced and directed by Thomas Gardner.
The film follows two soldiers during The Somme in 1916. When one of the soldiers receives a letter from a mutual acquaintance back home in England, it puts their friendship in jeopardy.
The Somme, 1916 – Second Lieutenant Albert Draycott (Adam Grindley) receives a letter from his wife back in England, Grace Draycott (Olivia Lewis-Brown) to say that she has given birth to a son. When his best friend, Private William Mawlbury (Aaron Fraiser) comes into the dugout, he is elated by the news and the two celebrate by drinking whiskey. Enquiring whether he has any mail, William is handed a letter of his own by Albert and his face drops. Albert takes the letter from him and discovers the letter his from Grace, saying the baby is in actual fact William's. Before Albert can react, the over-the-top whistle is blown and William gets his gear to go over. Albert follows him out and aims his pistol at him, the camera slowly moves back into the dugout and a voice saying Albert has died in battle ends the film. Though, we don't know whether Albert shot William, or whether William shot Albert in reaction.
- Aaron Fraiser as Private William Mawlbury
- Adam Grindley as Second Lieutenant Albert Draycott
- Olivia Lewis-Brown as Grace Draycott
Development and Production
After watching Peter Jackson's documentary film They Shall Not Grow Old, Gardner was inspired to write a First World War film of his own, “I wanted to focus on the personal lives of the soldiers rather than the actual war itself, some of the personal trauma they had to go through they would have kept to themselves and I wanted to try and extract something from that to create tension in an already intense atmosphere.”.. Screenwriter and Actress Olivia Lewis-Brown helped structure the story further, adding additional dialogue into the script and received a co-writing credit in the final film. She was cast along with actors Aaron Fraiser and Adam Grindley.
Gardner contacted First World War historian Andy Robertshaw after seeing an article in a newspaper where Robertshaw constructed his own trench in his back garden and asked permission to film on location in Kent for the production. After permission was granted, the film was supposed to begin production in April 2020, however on March 23rd, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a television broadcast that the United Kingdom would go into a national lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the public ordered to stay at home and only leave for essential purposes.
On May 8th, 2021 production was finally under way with the crew shooting on location in Maidstone, Kent where Robertshaw constructed a new set of trenches and the crew became the first film production to shoot there with filming concluding four days later in the Lake District. The film was edited over the course of one week in May and was sent to be scored for approximately 2 weeks before the film was released.
The film is due to have its premiere at the 2021 Norwich Film Festival.
- Barnwell, Ross.“Filming 'The Fronts of War'” CEMA. 10 May 2021
- "Boris Johnson orders UK lockdown to be enforced by police". The Guardian. London, UK. 23 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
- “Shooting for 'The Fronts of War' begins”Instagram. 8 May 2021
- Nicholson, Savannah.“Route to Paradise filmmaker returns to the screen with new war film” The Westmorland Gazette. 25 May 2021
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