Leave to Remain’s producer Kate Cook, who grew up in Nailsea, is returning to Bristol on Sun 21 June to screen her film as part of national Refugee Week, which helps celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK. Kate, who has worked on Glasgow Girls and Playhouse Presents, will be here for a Q+A, so you can ask about her own journey to becoming a top class independent film producer.
Leave To Remain is an inspirational coming of age drama that delves into the unseen world of teenage asylum seekers in the UK. It took Kate and director Bruce Goodison six long years to finish the film.
Producer Kate explains:
“It was incredibly hard to raise the funding for Leave to Remain because anything that comes under the banner of "immigration" isn't considered commercial enough. So much doubt was cast over the fact there would be an audience for this kind of film - but producing and distributing it completely independently has meant that we've been able to go out there and find our audience. It just goes to show that, given the opportunity, people of all ages can be inspired by drama that has a social issue at its heart.
I’m really chuffed to be showing our film at Watershed as, for me, it’s always been the benchmark for independent cinema in the region.”
The film features Omar, a charismatic Afghan teenager who is having his refugee status decided when the arrival of another boy from back home threatens to change everything. Shy and scared Abdul is placed in a shelter for young asylum seekers where he encounters a society and a system that is seemingly rigged against him. It’s via a fatherly English teacher (Toby Jones), who takes the teens under his wing, helping them to learn English, that the difficulties and emotions these vulnerable young people face are sensitively revealed.
Featuring an excellent soundtrack from Alt-J, this is a timely cinematic take on the experience of many seeking refuge in the UK and is one of surprisingly few films to explore the complex issues surrounding the asylum process and the plight of refugees living here, right now. Although a fictional account, the story is based on an amalgamation of real life experiences, and bringing the film to fruition has been a labour of love for Kate.
In addition to the special screening at Watershed, the film is being shown to students at Nailsea School on 19 June, followed by a Q+A with Kate at her old school.