"When Steve Deery came to me with his story of writers across multiple time periods struggling against supernatural influences, I was immediately drawn to the material. As a life-long "Back to the Future" fan, the opportunity to show history repeating itself in a single location was a very appealing one. I also relished the challenge of working in a genre new to me: the ghost story.
One of my first decisions was to give "Amelia's Letter" a gothic flavour, stemming from the idea that Amelia's idol was Mary Shelley. Sophia Ramcharan, the producer, secured a perfect location in the form of the gothic gatekeeper's cottage at Newstead Abbey, Lord Byron's ancestral seat, and costume designer Sophie Black took the work of Tim Burton as her cue in creating Amelia's striped dress. The stripes tie into another of the film's themes - the idea of being trapped - trapped by writer's block, and trapped in the inevitability of history repeating itself.
Through each of the time periods the film visits, production designer Amy Nicholson kept the key elements of the set dressing in the same place, even as the details of that dressing change - a gramophone becomes a valve radio, then a transitor one, then a digital one, but always in the same place. In the same way, each character we meet is just another incarnation of the last.
M. R. James' Victorian ghost story "The Turn of the Screw", and its classic film adaptation "The Innocents" were key touchstones for me in finding the look and tone of "Amelia's Letter". An old book on ghost hunting, espousing the theory that spooks are merely tape recordings of past events captured on the natural magnetic fields of water, provided a working logic for the supernatural events which seem to emanate from the lake.
Inspiration for how to approach Amelia's character came from an unlikely source. In a 2013 podcast interview with Richard Herring, Stephen Fry spoke very candidly about his battle with bipolar disorder. Without giving too much away, some of Amelia's actions, plus her innate creativity, seemed to fit with the profile of this mental illness. Although it's not at all explicit in the finished film, the highs and lows that Georgia Winters so heart-breakingly performs as Amelia reads her letter came from this creative decision.
I hope "Amelia's Letter" gets viewers talking, debating the whys and wherefores of the story, and looking over their shoulders when they're temporarily stymied in their own creative endeavours!"
Neil Oseman - Director
Dubbed “The Spielberg of Hereford” by The Guardian, filmmaker Neil Oseman secured his first paying directing job at just 19. At 23 he co-wrote, directed, produced, photographed and edited Soul Searcher, an extremely ambitious microbudget feature film with a full orchestral score, numerous martial arts sequences, 250 visual effects shots and a climactic chase between a 1973 Ford Mustang and an express train to Hell. Neil was subsequently named a winner of the Channel 4 Ideas Factory’s Creative Class 2005-06 and Soul Searcher went on to be distributed internationally. In 2008 Neil shot a 35mm pilot for The Dark Side of the Earth, an ambitious fantasy-adventure starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The director’s next project was the moving fantasy-drama Stop/Eject, which premiered at Raindance in 2014 and was long-listed for the Bafta Short Film Award. Neil is also an experienced cinematograper, with credits on numerous features, shorts, web series and music promos.
Georgia Winters - Actress
Trained with Sam Rumbelow and National Youth Theatre. Theatre includes: 'The Lonesome West' (Tabard Theatre), 'Trading Faces' AND 'Supernatural' (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), 'Blackbird' (The RAG Factory), 'The Jungle Book' (The Scoop). Feature films include 'Zombie Resurrection' and 'Jupiter Ascending' and various short film including Film London's award winning 'Daisy's Last Stand' and 'Brace'.
Frank Simms - Actor
Frank Simms is an actor and producer based in Derby. Frank’s became co-producer and creative director for Ashrow Theatre prior to their productions of The Importance of Being Earnest and The Merchant of Venice in autumn 2014 while playing the roles of Jack and Bassanio respectively. Following ‘Earnest’ and ‘Merchant’ Frank led the script development and workshop direction for new writing - Troublesome People and will be continuing in his role as Director for the production in 2015.
He first worked with Ashrow as an Actor playing the roles of Biondello and Curtis in The Taming of the Shrew and Telegin in Uncle Vanya as well as providing choreography where required and assisting in pre-production.
Frank trained at ArtsEd London following 15 years at the Rollo Academy of Performing Arts in Nottingham. Screen credits include; Gordon in Amelia’s Letter (Stella Vision); Simon French in The K Initiatve (Dimension2) and Daniel Truman in Elder Jackson (Box Productions Switzerland).
Theatre credits also include; She Loves Me (All Star Productions); Elegies (Language Laid Bare); PC Ping Pong in Aladdin (Blue Genie) and Pirates of Penzance (Union Theatre). Additionally Frank has worked as a dancer for The Milo Miles Dance Company; recorded voice over for Clapham South Productions; directed and choreographed for a number of children’s groups and has recently launched new environmental drama and film projects into schools in London.
Tina Harris - Actress
Tina has worked extensively in all areas of the industry since leaving drama school in 1991. Just wrapped as Ivy Tullock in BBC’s new comedy drama Cradle to the Grave based on Danny Baker’s bopics and will soon be filming as Majella Riordan in Lenny Hanry’s Danny and the Human Zoo (Red productions for BBC).
Recent film includes working with David O’Hara in Extremis to be released later this year. Louisa in Elaine Constantine's BAFTA nominated feature Northern Soul alongside Steve Coogan & John Thompson (best feature at NME Awards) and lead role Elizabeth Cathcart in Napoleonic period feature The Regiment. Elizabeth is based on a historical figure – wife of General William Cathcart – they had 10 children and lived to be 86!
Other favourite films include Ethel the Hooker period comedy short Bristles, the very emotional role of Elizabeth in a new version of Richard III, A Memoir of a King’s Love and Daphna, single mum and kosher butcher, in Happy New Year also for Stella Vision. Echo directed by Lewis Arnold (humans Banana) and cast by Amy Hubbard won best short 2015 at the National Film Awards.
Other TV credits include Doctor Kate Simmons in hollyoaks (lime pictures/C4) lead regular Carol Platt in Channel 4's Say What You Think, Sonia in Harry's Mad, Mrs McKenzie in Peak Practice and a regular role in Benefits Britain 1949 again on C4. Other TV includes Shameless, Playing the Field, Emmerdale, Laura & Disorder, Tales of Sherwood Forest and BBC Film Sign's and Wonders written by Nottingham’s Michael Eaton.
Comedy is a particular passion and Tina plays lead regular Lisa Fullerton in new sit com Knockers and Patricia in brilliant new comedy pilot Jobseekers.
Favorite theatre roles include Beverly in Abigail's Party at Manchester Library Theatre, Yvette in Allo Allo at the Lowry Manchester, when she took over from Vicky Michelle for a sell out five week run and the feisty yet vulnerable New York waitress Frankie in Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune, for which she received outstanding reviews. Tina has returned to theatre twice this year as Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Irish artist Deechy Flynn in the sharing of a new musical play “Saving Declan Clare” – a poignant love storey exploring passion and obsession.
About Cast and Crew
Directed by: Neil Oseman
Produced by: Sophia Ramcharan
Written by: Steve deery
Director of Photography: Alex Nevill
Edited by: Tristan Ofield
Production Designer: Amy Nicholson
Amelia- Georgia Winters
Gordon - Frank Simms
Barbara - Tina Harris
Charles - Francis Adams
Amelia has hopes of becoming a writer. The arrival of a package at her cottage from a publisher brings with it high hopes. One hundred and ten years later Gordon’s publisher has packed him off to a secluded writer’s retreat. While there he struggles with writer’s block. But it appears he is not the first writer to visit the cottage and struggle to write. Can Gordon conquer the demons which have caused his writer’s block? Would it be better if he didn’t?