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Wanstead filmmaker uses obscure Finnish sport for comedy gold

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 September 2020

Marc Coleman, left, shot the comedy film The Hobbyhorser during lockdown. Picture: Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman, left, shot the comedy film The Hobbyhorser during lockdown. Picture: Marc Coleman

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While the rest of us were learning to bake sourdough bread and binge-watching old box sets, a Wanstead filmmaker used lockdown to make a Covid-safe short film.

Grace Skinner (purple t-shirt), Isabella Lynch-Brown (grey t-shirt) and Myffi Gammon (pink t-shirt) are all from the Redbridge Drama Centre. Picture: Marc ColemanGrace Skinner (purple t-shirt), Isabella Lynch-Brown (grey t-shirt) and Myffi Gammon (pink t-shirt) are all from the Redbridge Drama Centre. Picture: Marc Coleman

As soon as he was given the green light it was safe to do so, Marc Coleman shot a comedy called The Hobbyhorser in locations throughout the borough.

The film is about a middle-aged man seeking redemption through the Finnish adolescent sport of hobby horsing. Marc described the sport as “essentially dressage and show jumping but with toy horses. I promise you it’s a real sport in Finland!”

The film was shot in the Redbridge Drama Centre and various locations across the borough. Picture: Marc ColemanThe film was shot in the Redbridge Drama Centre and various locations across the borough. Picture: Marc Coleman

The film was going to be shot in March but ended up being delayed until the end of August.

Marc has spent many years as a prop maker so all his films incorporate “weird and wonderful props” – which has become a signature of his filmmaking. There were lots of oddities on display for his last venture, which was featured in the Recorder, when he directed The Wanstead Christmas Music Video last year.

The cast and crew was eager to take on the challenge of shooting a short film safely during the pandemic. Picture: Marc ColemanThe cast and crew was eager to take on the challenge of shooting a short film safely during the pandemic. Picture: Marc Coleman

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The cast for The Hobbyhorser was handpicked and auditioned by Redbridge Drama Centre (RDC) theatre director Gemma Eves.

Grace Skinner (purple t-shirt), Isabella Lynch-Brown (grey t-shirt) and Myffi Gammon (pink t-shirt) are all from the Redbridge Drama Centre. Picture: Marc ColemanGrace Skinner (purple t-shirt), Isabella Lynch-Brown (grey t-shirt) and Myffi Gammon (pink t-shirt) are all from the Redbridge Drama Centre. Picture: Marc Coleman

Redbridge actors Liam Nobel and Grace Skinner play the lead roles. All the girls in the cast are from the borough and attend classes at RDC.

The Hobbyhorser was filmed at RDC and Wanstead Youth Centre, and some exterior scenes were shot at Roding Valley Park.

Marc is planning to submit the short to festivals to try to secure funding for the feature film. He said selling a comedy is difficult to do with just a script, so having a short film will hopefully entice potential investors.

Shooting a film in lockdown and ensuring the safety of the cast and crew was challenging but one that everyone involved was eager to pull off.

“It was tricky and definitely slowed us down but everyone was so excited to get out there and shoot something after being stuck inside for so long,” he said.

“Everyone was keen to get back to it.”


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