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Film shot at Norfolk US air museum set for world premiere

PUBLISHED: 15:14 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:32 10 September 2018

Scenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Jon Wilson/Paul Cook Film

Scenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Jon Wilson/Paul Cook Film

Jon Wilson Photography

A film partly shot in South Norfolk and telling the story of the friendly invasion of US airmen during the Second World War is to receive its world premiere at IWM Duxford.

Independent British drama Magpie has been four years in the making and was filmed on location at former US airbases including the 100th Bomb Group Memorial Museum at the RAF Thorpe Abbotts airfield near Dickleburgh.

Directed and co-written by Bury St Edmunds based filmmaker Paul Cook and fellow co-writer Carmel Hannant the film is a labour of love that was partly funded through a Kickstarter campaign and features cast and crew almost all from East Anglia.

Scenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Jon Wilson/Paul Cook FilmScenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Jon Wilson/Paul Cook Film

The trailer that includes footage shot at the Norfolk museum, which still features the original control tower and other remaining buildings, was recently released.

Now the film is set to be premiered at Duxford Imperial War Museum on September 29 at a special immersive event will include live big band jazz, period food and cocktails, the cast and crew, historical re-enactors and some very special pin-ups

Scene from Magpie being shot at 95th Bomb Group at Horham near Eye. Picture: Paul Cook FilmScene from Magpie being shot at 95th Bomb Group at Horham near Eye. Picture: Paul Cook Film

Paul Cook said: “We are really excited about it. We have already had a fantastic response to the trailer. It has been really humbling to get some of the content of the film out there and to receive messages saying it looks great and that they can’t wait to see it, some from as far afield as Canada, Australia and America.

“It is exciting because it is at the end of a very long four years for us. It has taken a lot personally to get it to this point, not just time but financially as I’ve had to continue the funding of it even after the Kickstarter funding ran out.

Magpie director and producer Paul Cook and writer-director Carmel Hannant. Pictures: Paul Cook FilmMagpie director and producer Paul Cook and writer-director Carmel Hannant. Pictures: Paul Cook Film

The film is set in 1943 as US troops and airmen arrive in the region as part of the so-called ‘friendly invasion’ bringing hitherto known pleasures like chewing gum, peanut butter, Coca-Cola, ‘donuts’ and jitterbugging.

Its protagonist Lily, played by Cambridge-raised actress Hannah Morrish, sees her usually attentive and loyal husband, George, played by Matt Downton from Bury St Edmunds, devastated by his experiences on the front line.

Scene from Magpie being shot at 95th Bomb Group at Horham near Eye. Picture: Paul Cook FilmScene from Magpie being shot at 95th Bomb Group at Horham near Eye. Picture: Paul Cook Film

Finding comfort in the companionship of Charlie, played by Mateo Oxley who grew up in Bressingham, an American serviceman with the Eighth Air Force, Lily struggles to make sense of her feelings for both.

Mr Cook said: “We wanted to explore the woman’s perspective in the war trying to get along with life amid this American invasion and having a British soldier as a husband who has come back from war suffering terribly with post-traumatic stress.

Scenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Paul Cook FilmScenes from Magpie were shot at Thorpe Abbotts Airbase 100th Bomb Museum in South Norfolk. Picture: Paul Cook Film

“It is about the behind closed doors drama of it, rather than those stories of the obvious heroism of soldiers and airmen that have been told time and again.”

Shooting on location added to the historic accuracy. “The entire film was shot within Norfolk and Suffolk,” said Mr Cook.

Joseph Phelps as Sam in Magpie. Picture: Rob Holding/Paul Cook FilmJoseph Phelps as Sam in Magpie. Picture: Rob Holding/Paul Cook Film

“The locations include four Eighth Air Force museums, the 100th at Thorpe Abbotts, the 95th Bomb Group at Horham, near Eye, the 390th Bomb Group Museum at Parham, and also the 95th Bomb Group Hospital Museum also near Eye.

“All the other locations were in the region as well, including Southwold’s Electric Picture Palace, the main house location in Aldeburgh and other house locations and exteriors that were filmed in Bury St Edmunds.”

• For full details of the premiere of Magpie visit houseofcambridge.com/united/

• For more about the film visit magpiethefilm.com

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