FUNDING is still needed to complete a feature film about the life of Lyme Regis’ famous fossil hunter Mary Anning.
‘Call The Midwife’ star Jenny Agutter is leading the cast of the biopic, playing Mary Anning’s friend Elizabeth Philpot in the full-length film about the palaeontologist who became known around the world for the important finds she made in Lyme Regis, including the first icthyosaurus.
But to complete filming of ‘Mary Anning and The Dinosaur Hunters’ the film-makers are appealing for emergency funding. They are looking for £110,000 to complete the film, but an online crowdfunding appeal failed to raise the funds last year.
Lyme Regis Town Council previously agreed to donate £5,000 towards the film, on the condition that West Dorset District Council and Dorset County Council also each gave £5,000.
However, it was reported at last week’s Tourism, Publicity & Community Committee meeting that the district and county councils were not so forthcoming with funding.
Councillor Cheryl Reynolds said that Dorset County Council wouldn’t “cough up” so she had instead found £5,000 funding from local businesses, but West Dorset was also undecided on whether to contribute.
Councillor Jeff Scowen said he thought a £5,000 donation was a “bargain” to have Lyme Regis credited in a professional film.
“We should not miss this opportunity. Spending £5,000 to be part of something like this is a no brainer,” he added.
However, mayor Michaela Ellis pointed out that councillors had already made a resolution to only donate on the condition of the two other authorities also contributing, and they would need to pass a rescinding motion if they wanted to change this.
Councillor John Broom said that £15,000 funding, if all three councils were to donate, was still only a “drop in the ocean” and questioned how the production company planned to raise the rest of the funds needed to complete the film.
Councillor Sean Larcombe added: “What if we give them £5,000 and they can’t raise the rest?”
The Mary Anning biopic has previously been compared to ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’, filmed in the town in the early 1980s, but Councillor Reynolds commented: “’The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ was a wonderful opportunity for Lyme Regis but no one asked us for any funding then.”
Councillor Scowen replied: “I wish I had the money, I would pay for it myself, that’s how strongly I feel about this.”