Burnley girl and Nelson woman star alongside Bank of Dave's Jo Hartley and Burn Gorman of Game of Thrones and The Dark Knight Rises in short film about the Pendle Witch Trials
and live on Freeview channel 276
Emma Swinton’s The Witch’s Daughter will be shown online on Monday, November 13th at 7-30pm.
Based partly on true events, the film is set in 1612 and tells the story of how Lancashire nursemaid Sarra played by Bank of Dave star Jo Hartley helps to groom an impoverished nine-year-old, Jennet Device, to testify against her own family as they stand trial for witchcraft.
Burnley girl Esme Whalley and Nelson woman Maureen Roberts join big names among the cast, including Jo and Burn Gorman of Game of Thrones and The Dark Knight Rises. Esme was cast as Jennet in her first film role, while Maureen took the part of Elizabeth Southerns, both rubbing shoulders with Burn Gorman as Roger Nowell.
Emma said: “We had an amazing cast. I think it’s a testament to how important this story and this moment in history are, and the injustice that happened. Burn Gorman really connected to the script. Jo Hartley came on set and did a really emotional scene, and I was just crying because I was really feeling what she was channelling.”
For Emma and co-writer Emily Carlton, the film has been a long time coming, with the Barrowford director dreaming of bringing the story to life since her teens.
“It’s nice that it’s done now, and out in the world. We have been writing this for seven years on and off so it’s surreal that we have finally done it. I’m really happy and so proud of everyone as they worked so hard to get this made and have been really driven.”
Although the project was filmed in Yorkshire due to budgeting costs, the film-maker, who grew up in Colne and Barrowford, said it meant the world to her to cast two local actresses and showcase the East Lancashire accent.
And it seems the movie has resonated not just in this corner of the world but also nationally within the industry, as it is even in the running for three British Short Film Awards in London tomorrow. Emma is up for Best British Director, while Burn has been nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Karen Grover for Best Costume Design.
"I’m so happy everyone’s hard work has been recognised and validated. I feel it means the film has had an impact, which feels really good.”
Emma will speak at the screening later this month where Charlotte Meredith will discuss the Justice For Witches campaign to legally pardon the witches.
"It feels really powerful. I really hope the film can be a visual testament to what happened as the trials were so corrupt, especially as a child was used as part of the evidence. The trials were a huge part of history but not many people talk about them, and I hope we have done justice to the people who were killed.”
To join the screening, head to https://www.thewitcheshouse.org/
And to sign the Justice for Witches petition, visit https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/640686?fbclid=PAAaZhaZMsuwGbWtKaPCPcTnnYNY9sWg_eQb5jy5GEIXwp15pzT1stFpygytM
The Witch's Daughter was made with support from the BFI Network and National Lottery.