" Campbell’s debut feature unleashes some extraordinary imagery"
Beth is a singer/songwriter. She has recently released her sixth studio album, Kidsticks. Esther invited Beth to act on Light Years because she was curious as to what a singer, someone who uses their body as a tool, might bring to the the part of Moira. In early work together Esther was drawn to Beth's compelling mix of great physical vulnerability and strength, and her willingness to dig down and feel out both known and imagined experiences. This is Beth's first role for film.
Muhammet Uzuner was born in Samsun, Turkey in 1965 and is one of Turkey's most prestigious television and film actors most known for Ceylan's Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (2011) winner of the Grand Jury Prize Cannes 2011. Esther, a huge fan of his screen work longed to collaborate. Imagining him with Beth... “I thought putting these two people together created a story. What happened in the past plays so heavily into the one day over which this story takes place.”
ZAMIRA FULLER, JAMES STUCKEY & SOPHIE BURTON / ROSE, EWAN & RAMONA
James, Zamira and Sophie were all born in Bristol, UK. James told his mother he wanted to be an actor at the age of 7. His agent put him forward for the role of Ewan in Light Years and Esther worked with him while casting the rest of the family. Zamira, meanwhile, was visited by Third Films at ITV Drama Group and a few workshops later she took the part of Rose. Sophie was accompanying her friend to the audition, she found herself in front of the camera. Esther was struck by her tape and later ran into her at a local cafe - soon after, Sophie was given the part of Ramona. Overall the casting team saw more than a thousand children.
ESTHER MAY CAMPBELL / WRITER & DIRECTOR
Self-taught, Esther is a writer, director and photographer. She has directed music videos, sex education films, as well as Channel 4 and BBC dramas including Wallander and Skins, but it’s her personal and captivating stories that shine, telling of lost souls, tragic lovers, limbo lives and daydreamers - all found in self-penned short, the multi awarded BAFTA winning September and most recently Light Years. Currently Esther is working with the Cube collective, mobilising a community cinema for displaced children in Haiti, Nepal and the camps of Europe.
SAMM HAILLAY / PRODUCER & KEITH GRIFFITHS / EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Samm founded production company 'Third Films' in 2001. He has premiered features at Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, Sundance, AFI, Edinburgh, London Film Festival and countless other festivals all over the world. Samm has produced films by Duane Hopkins, Mark Cousins, Gillian Wearing, Esther May Campbell and Joseph Bull & Luke Seomore. As well as developing new works with these directors, Samm teaches film production at Teesside University and works for The Venice College Cinema, EAVE, Film London, Creative England and Feature Expanded as a group leader.
Keith has been a crucial contributor to the UK Film Industry over the last thirty years, bringing to the screen work by talents as the Brothers Quay, Patrick Keiller, Chris Petit and the Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, as well as many outstanding documentaries on some of cinema and the art world’s more marginal figures. His credits include Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), Berberian Sound Studio (2012) and Greedy Guts (2000) and many more.
Zac Nicholson & Will Pugh / Director of Photography + Chris Barwell / Editor
A self-taught director of photography, Zac began cinematic life as tea-maker and has been honing his craft ever since. He took a foundation art course at Central St Martin’s before graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Sheffield Poly. He describes his approach to cinematography as “instinctive and organic”. Meanwhile, Will was raised in Nigeria & Malawi, where his father was working with snakes. He moved to Bristol to study painting and began making experimental Super 8 films. He fell into documentary in 2001 on a BBC shoot across West Africa, and found a natural aptitude & love for it, since then he’s shot several feature docs. Esther oftentimes combines a main shoot with a smaller crew. Will & Zac worked with her like this on September and Light Years.
Chris began editing film drama in 2000 and started working with Duane Hopkins in 2002. They collaborated on an art installation based upon the material shot for the short film Field (2003). This was followed by the multi-award winning Love me or leave me Alone (2003). He later worked on Duane's debut feature film Better Things which premiered at Critics Week, Cannes. Chris has also worked on a number of feature length television dramas including Wallander, Mr Selfdrige and Peaky Blinders.
"CINEMATOGRAPHY BY ZAC NICHOLSON AND WILL PUGH HAS A GOOD EYE FOR THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE IN THE EARLY SUMMER, THE CHANGING LIGHT, THE HEDGEROWS AND THE WOODS OBVIOUSLY BUT ALSO THE BUS STOPS, CAR PARKS AND INDUSTRIAL ESTATES.”
CHRIS WATSON & ERIC CHENAUX / Recording Artist & Music Composer
Eric Chenaux is a post-modern troubadour, with a body of solo work documented across five albums released on the Constellation label since 2006. His music centres around dexterous, fried guitar playing, juxtaposed with a gorgeously clear and lyrical singing voice. The esteemed sound artist Chris Watson also contributed to the sound of Light Years. His recordings of the area and locations used in the film took place before the film was shot. Chris is one of the world's leading recorders of wildlife and natural phenomena and for Touch he edits his field recordings into a filmic narrative. He was a founding member of the influential Sheffield based experimental music group, Cabaret Voltaire.
The music score for Light Years was composed and played by Eric Chenaux, in part inspired by locations and wild tracks recorded for Esther by sound artist Chris Watson who foraged for the sounds of roadsides, empty care homes and edgelands before a frame of the film was shot. After production, Esther then invited Eric score and record the film in empty locations (without Eric seeing a cut of the piece) - hoping he would respond to the themes in the script and the ghosts of the now empty spaces. This unique form of musical filmic field recordings were captured by Eric in an intensive period and engineered by Cyril Harrison.
Written and Directed by Esther May Campbell
Produced by Samm Haillay
Executive Producer Keith Griffiths
Editor Chris Barwell
Production Designer Jane Morton
Music Eric Chenaux
Music and Sound Supervisor Chiz Williams
Sound Artist Chris Watson
Make up and Hair Designer Jillian Conway
Costume Designer Maggie Chappelhow
Casting Director Shaheen Baig
Post Production Supervisor Edd Maggs
Sound Post Facility Wounded Buffalo Sound Studios
Final Mix Studio Films@59