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Film Premier ‘Charlie’s Plan’ screened at The Theatre Of Dreams

Cast members & Guests at Fim Premier of Charlies PlanManchester United’s theatre of dreams was the setting for The Film Premier of ‘Charlie’s Plan’ made up of members from the Better Things group based at Benchill community centre. Stars of stage and screen were amongst the audience for the screening of a project that had started 5 months ago.

After the speakers for the sponsors from Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, Manchester United Foundation and Better Things had done the dignitaries the anticipation was over and so the film began.

The comedy drama feature film ‘Charlie’s Plan’ is a unique film; most of the Cast are learning disabled or have a disability. The plot follows feisty Charlie Gooding as he battles to get his short film ‘Shipwrecked’ made.
The film premiered at Manchester United Football Ground on 25th March with several celebrities attending.

The synopsis of the feature film is; ‘Charlie recruits his mates who all have a learning disability, to be in his short film ‘Shipwrecked’, but they face many battles, with the disinterested Day Care Community Centre staff.’

Several professional actors are in the cast, such as John Henshaw and Stephanie Bishop who were both principal cast members in Ken Loach’s film ‘Looking For Eric’. Also starring is Robert Maxfield from many TV programmes
such as ‘Coronation Street’ and ‘Emmerdale’. ‘Charlie’s Plan’ creator, Director and Producer, John McCormack also acts in the film; he has produced and directed four other Movies, two of which premièred at ‘The Cannes Film Festival’.
‘Charlie’s Plan’ was achieved with John McCormack’s outline story and is totally improvised by the cast, as many cannot read.

The film was shot during a 5-month period in the summer of 2014 with post-production completing in February 2015. Much of the shoot was achieved with 2 cameras.

Each morning of the shoot, Director John McCormack would explain to the cast what the scene was about. They would then create the dialogue together, usually running the dialogue three times. Much of the film shoot was achieved with 2 or 3 ‘takes’ therefore keeping the Cast ‘fresh’ in their performances. John McCormack says: “Each day of the shoot – as well as directing, I operated the 2 cameras and sound recording equipment. I also acted in the film, so the difficulty I had, was ensuring the Cast were framed correctly. In many ways, the shoot was more complicated than films I’ve produced before, but the results are now on screen and I’m very pleased with how brilliant the Cast performed.”
“I decided to make this film because I work freelance for the Learning Disability Charity ‘Better Things’ to give people with a learning disability a ‘voice’ and for them to be seen in a way they have not been seen before.” “I knew the film was achievable by using fast production techniques I’d used when making my past feature films and several films in Spain with a young cast – all requiring a very fast turnaround time – from shoot to première.”
“The ‘Charlie’s Plan’ cast give superb natural performances and the comedy in the film will lift the audience’s spirits.”

The story is based in the ‘Benchill Community Centre’ on a large Council Estate, which is a real Community Centre in Wythenshawe, Manchester. It was once
Europe’s largest council estate. The unfolding story shows people with a learning disability attending the Centre to take part in Art Classes, run by disinterested
‘John’ who is grumpy with the learning disabled and he is pre-occupied about his matrimonial problems. Charlie is a feisty determined young man who attends the Centre; he has decided he is going to make a short film called ‘Shipwrecked’ but he faces opposition from the strapped for cash Community Centre staff John and Hazel. Charlie ‘appoints’ his learning disabled mates to be his ‘Cast and Crew’. His twin brother Archie also acts in Charlie’s film, with great on screen friction between them. (Charlie Gooding plays both roles). John is having friction with his Boss Peter, further causing him stress, whilst the mild mannered Hazel, the Community Centre Manager, tries to keep everyone happy.

Against the odds, Charlie goes into production with his short film ‘Shipwrecked’ after the Caretaker played by John Henshaw, gives him some camera equipment. Charlie also raises £10,000 investment from a Millionaire investor, played by actor Alan Martell, which further upsets John and the Community Centre Staff.

The story follows John McCormack, who has been working with the learning disabled for 8 years in the Community Centre. He carries out Art Sessions that
usually take the form of ‘colouring in’ drawing ‘pussycats and houses’, like children do.

Comical and constant arguments occur on screen between the determined leader of the pack Charlie Gooding and John McCormack who plays the Community Centre staff member; John is disinterested in his job and is always
grumpy, compounded by the fact his wife has left him. He escapes to the Greek island of Skiathos where ‘Mamma Mia’ was filmed, to take a holiday, only to return to Charlie’s fast paced film production, occurring on the Community Centre car park.

Other strong characters give comic performances such as Darren and Hugh, who are constantly in a power struggle with Charlie.

The story is a relentless comedy following Charlie’s gang of strong characters with learning disabilities as they lay down the law to the Community Centre staff;
making it clear they have a ‘voice’ that will be heard and acted upon and-they-will-be-making-their-film.

The feature film shows the untapped talent of people with a learning disability at their best, with perfect performances and comic timing; complimented by the
professional actors in the film. This film is unique with a ‘feel good’ factor that will lift the audience’s sprits.

The film was full of comedy and shown how both amateur and professional actors gelled together nicely. Let’s hope that the film can be screened for all to see and be enjoyed
Credit must be given to all involved the actors, staff, and sponsors who made it all possible. Well Done!

Information about the film can be obtained by emailing John McCormack, Producer / Director at

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