Famous faces have been in Falkirk shooting a poignant new film about assisted suicide.
Killing Me Softly With Her Love, written by local film maker Katie White and directed by Colin Ross Smith, tells the story of terminally ill teenager Jessica who wants to take control of her body after years of ill-health and, on her 18th birthday, asks her mother to help her take her own life.
The film contains high drama as well as some comedic elements while exploring the complexity of human relationships.
The all-star cast includes Kevin Guthrie, of Fantastic Beasts and Dunkirk fame, Game of Thrones and Prometheus actress Kate Dickie and Briony Monroe who starred in popular horror-thriller, Matriarch.
Another famous face is Natalie Simpson from hit TV show Outlander and the BBC’s dramatisation of Les Miserables.
Highly acclaimed actors Ross Maxwell, Joe Cassidy and Rebekah Lamb also star in the film which is set in Katie’s cousin, Nick Watson’s house in Laurieston.
Briony (21) who plays Jessica said: “It was great to finally start filming as the script is absolutely amazing – it just flows effortlessly and is very moving – it makes me cry every time I read it.
“The sentiment of the whole film has so much relevance and is so important. It is obviously about a controversial subject but this will hopefully get people talking and open up the discussion even more.”
Kevin, who plays Jessica’s nurse, Mark, said: “As soon as I was given the script I knew I wanted to be involved and it’s great to be here in Falkirk finally shooting the film. “There’s one scene in particular which I won’t go into but as soon as I read it I thought I have to do this. It’s a real responsibility to tell a story like this. You can see quite clearly on social media there is a need for this story to be told so there’s obviously a bit of pressure to do it justice.
“I play Jessica’s nurse and it is a very profound relationship and I’m conscious that other nurses are going to watch this and relate. Just like mothers, fathers, daughters and sons are also going to watch this and relate to every single one of the characters.”
Kate Dickie, who plays Jessica’s mother, Angela, added: “It’s important not to demonise these very real characters who are just trying to do their best with good intentions.
“Katie has written such a beautiful script which is also very real and that’s what makes it appealing.
“It’s about real issues that are happening to real families and it’s not written just for effect – there are no tricks to make the audience cry yet the scenes are incredibly powerful and emotional.”
Local girl, Mia Robertson (9) also stars in the film in her first professional acting role.
The Wallacestone Primary School pupil, who plays the character of Jessica when she was younger, said: “It was so exciting being on set and working with Kate and Kevin and all the other actors. They were all lovely to me and I even got my picture taken with them afterwards. I definitely want to do more acting after this.”
Former Scottish BAFTA nominee, Katie said: “The shots I’ve seen are stunning. I actually started crying after the filming as I was so blown away! I’m incredibly honoured to have such a high calibre of actors in my film and also a brilliant film crew.”
Katie said she wanted to thank everyone “from the bottom of her heart” who donated to her crowdfunding page which helped fund her film.
She added: “There is actually a very long list of people I’d like to thank as without their help and support none of this would be possible!
“Firstly I have to say thank you to Nick for allowing his house to be turned into a film set and all the neighbours who were so kind and patient.
“Thanks also to local nurse Joyce Mair for her valuable assistance and medical advice on set and to Bulldog Removals in Falkirk for helping empty the house free of charge and keep all Nick’s furniture etc in storage while filming went on. I am so grateful too to Progressive Broadcast for supplying the camera and lighting equipment.
“I also have to say a huge thank you to my friends, Alison, Anna, Helen and Carol for making breakfast and soup for everyone on the filming days and to Behind the Wall for kindly supplying delicious complimentary lunches for everyone.
“Also thanks to the local community in general –everyone in Falkirk has been so supportive of my project and that makes me feel very proud.”
Katie is now seeking support from local businesses to help with post production costs and film festival entries and she can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.