Why were feature film camera crew spotted in Diss?
PUBLISHED: 12:56 04 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:21 04 September 2019
Filming of a feature film that could eventually end up on the big screen has seen cameras turned on locations in and around Diss.
London-based production company Roarlight headed to the town to film the latest of a series of short films based around the modern retelling of five parables from the Bible.
The project, featuring cast members including Line of Duty and EastEnders actress Melissa Dean and Femi Houghton, who has appeared on US television shows, will eventually be made into feature film to be released in cinemas nationwide.
While shooting of the other parables, including 'The Good Samaritan' and 'The Rich Fool' have taken place in London, for 'The Hidden Treasure' they needed a rural setting.
Location scout Ben Mansfield, who lives in Diss and who is an associate producer for Roarlight, suggested the town would provide the perfect backdrop.
He said: "Obviously Norfolk is a bit of trek from London but because of the connection I had with them I suggested coming to Diss. The locations needed did seem to fit the bill. And I thought it would be great to have a young vibrant company come up to Diss and show it in the best possible light."
The story of 'The Hidden Treasure' required filming at a jeweller's shop, a posh restaurant, a car dealership and some farmland.
Ben eventually secured locations for scenes to be filmed at The Jewellery Workshop in Diss, The Auberge Restaurant in Yaxley, Scole Engineering and Tim and Heather Havers Farm in Roydon, as well as the Diss Baptist Church leader's residence on Croft Lane in Diss.
Filming took three days with the 12 professional actors and crew put up by Diss Baptist Church who also supplied the catering.
Ben, who was brought up in Diss and now lives on Shelfanger Road, said: "They were long days, 12-13 hours. It was serious filmmaking. The production crew were a professional outfit including people who have worked for the BBC.
"The company are now in pre-production for the fourth parable then the director, Paul Syrstad, is going to tie the stories together as a full feature film for cinemas. It would also be nice to see it screened at Diss Corn Hall so local people could see the results."