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Director Dominic Burns' 'joyous experience' of filming in Derbyshire

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: May 14, 2014

Dominic Burns spoke at the Derby Film Festival about directing the Second World War film Allies, which was shot in Derbyshire.

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THE director of a Second World War movie filmed around Derbyshire said that he was excited about taking part in the Derby Film Festival.

Dominic Burns gave a talk at Derby's Quad arts centre and told the audience how he made action drama Allies.

It was filmed at various locations around Derbyshire – including Calwich Abbey Estate, near Ashbourne, Brailsford and Ednaston.

The Derby-born director was joined by cast members, including Matt Willis, of pop rock supergroup McBusted, and Downton Abbey star Julian Ovenden.

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Also on the panel – which discussed independent cinema – were Chris Reilly, known for Game Of Thrones and Everest; Edmund Kingsley, who starred in The Borgias and Eliza Graves; and Leon Vickers, of Doctor Who.

Dominic said: "It was exciting. What I wanted to do was give people an insight into the business, from our perspective.

"But we also thought it would be nice to give people advice on things like how to get into acting, if that's what they want to do."

Allies tells the story of parachutists from England dropped behind enemy lines on a mission to recover sensitive documents. On their journey home, they are met by French resistance.

Dominic – best known for directing films UFO, Airborne and How to Stop Being a Loser – said his grandfather inspired his latest movie.

He said: "My grandad was a bomber pilot in the Second World War and he lost a leg in a crash, so it's always been a subject matter which has fascinated me."

Allies also stars former footballer Frank LeBoeuf as the leader of the French resistance.

Neither he, nor ex-Busted star Matt – who plays a "good guy" sniper – made their names through acting but Dominic said they excelled in the film. Dominic, of Allestree, said: "Both Frank and Matt auditioned. If I'm completely honest, giving them the parts was a bit of a policy shift but we chose them because we felt it was important to up our game in terms of casting.

"They both have a very high public profile for reasons other than acting but the way they threw themselves into their roles was breathtaking.

"Their performances were really strong."

Dominic was not the only Derbyshire man on set. Assistant producer Patrick Hardy, of Littleover, Derby, and production co-ordinator Ed Lloyd, of Duffield, were also involved in the making of the film.

Dominic said he enjoyed shooting the film in the county. He said: "It was just a joyous experience.

"I didn't realise that, 25 minutes out of Derby city centre, you can turn 360 degrees and not see anything related to technology. Instead, it's all wonderful scenery."

The film festival runs until Sunday. For more details, visit www.derby filmfestival.co.uk.

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