Award-winning film director, James Smith, originally from Canvey Island, has chosen to return to the Southend area to make his next feature film, a comedy called Best Geezer.
With previous films produced by James’ company, Raya Films, sitting in the thriller and horror genres, and shot in places as diverse as the Midlands, London and Spain, he has taken an about turn to make an all-out comedy set on Canvey Island and Southend.
The screenplay was written in 2018 and put on the back-burner whilst working on other productions. It wasn’t until Caroline Spence, producer and screenwriter with Raya Films, rediscovered the screenplay earlier this year, that Best Geezer was put into development.
“One day back in the summer, I heard Caroline laughing at something she was reading,” James explains. “When I asked what she was laughing at, she said she’d found Best Geezer, and having forgotten most of the plot, she was in stitches. It was then that we decided it just had to be made!”
Best Geezer follows the story of three hapless entrepreneurs who join forces to make a geezer movie. It’s described as The Full Monty meets Silver Linings Playbook, and splashed liberally with Only Fools And Horses, set in Southend, with plentiful music and dance. James even goes as far as to say that it could well be Southend’s answer to La La Land with a sprinkling of The Disaster Artist.
Best Geezer will introduce audiences to a group of down-on-their-luck characters determined to turn their lives around and achieve something everybody thinks is way out of bounds. They are complex, at times inept, but ambitious, and determined. This is a story with a heart that takes a satirical look at life and human nature, but that will – ultimately and most importantly – have you laughing and leaving the theatre in high spirits.
Despite having left Canvey Island in 2013, James has returned on a number of occasions for the Southend Film Festival where his debut feature film Do Something, Jake was screened in 2019 and Agent Kelly, set in Spain and starring Caroline, was screened in 2021. He will next return for the World Premiere of smartphone-shot feature film, Surveilled, in January 2022 at the Horror-on-Sea Film Festival.
“I’m really looking forward to spending more time in Southend and working on Best Geezer. The humour and sharp wit in this part of the country is unique, and I know this is going to be a cracking film. I can’t wait to start rolling cameras on it!”
James and Caroline are currently raising production funds through the crowdfunding platform, Indiegogo. If you want to support the project, head over to the page to learn more HERE.