BRIGHTON-BASED writer and director Charlie Weaver Rolfe and producer Martyn Holmes’ production company is called John Said after an important piece of advice they received from a future cast member while making their debut feature.

“He just said: ‘If you want to do something you’ve got to do it’, ” says Rolfe, explaining the predicament the production had been in up to that point.

“Neither of us had ever done this before. Nobody is going to give you any money when you haven’t shown you can make a feature film.”

The genesis of My Accomplice came from a 2010 film screen writing course at Lighthouse in Kensington Street, Brighton, where the pair met.

At the end of the course they had a script, which developed right through the crowd-funding-support- ed shooting and editing.

“I had experience of writing unpublished novels and short films, so writing the first draft was not such a difficult thing, ” admits Rolfe.

“Getting it right after that was an on-going process.” The Brighton-set My Accomplice tells the story of good-natured Scot Frank, played by Stuart Martin, and German café-worker Ilse, played by Alexandra Kalweit, who meet on a train replacement bus service.

The movie has been billed as a sceptical romance. “The whole film is about what if two people who probably weren’t supposed to be together, get togeth- er, ” says Rolfe.

“And it’s also about two people who are supposed to be together but aren’t aware of it – they’re not quite ready for their own silly stock reasons.

“I wanted to make a film about our lives in Brighton to give a more authentic take on the city rather than a tourist picture postcard or the gangsters that I haven’t come across in 15 years of living here. I wanted a bit of the silliness of Brighton and the sense of tran- sience, that a lot of people live here who aren’t from here. It’s a holding cell for people trying to work out what to do with their lives.”

Like Rolfe himself, the character Frank works with people with learning disabilities.

“I get frustrated with mainstream films like Forrest Gump where peo- ple with learning disabilities have to be redemptive or have an extraordi- nary life, ” says Rolfe.

One of the central characters is multiple gold-medal winning Special Olympian powerlifter Kevin Woolley.

He is one of many non-pro- fessional actors in the finished film, alongside Bulgarian former café owner Dimitrina Elliott and John Fitzmaurice, the original catalyst for making the film, who takes a non- speaking role.

Aside from Martin, now to be seen playing Tony in Channel Four police drama Babylon, and established Berlin actress Kalweit, who was inspired to join the cast after read- ing a line about Wivelsfield, the only other professional actor is Alan Gilchrist, who plays Ilse’s grumpy landlord Jim.

His CV includes roles in Leon The Pig Farmer, The Bill, Doctors, and most excitingly for Rolfe a classic 1991 Tracker bar advert. The finished film has already been shown at the Edinburgh Film Festival, where it was nominated for the Best British Film award.

After CineCity it is going to festivals in San Francisco and Nantes. “The funny thing is we expected
all these doors to suddenly open after Edinburgh, ” admits Rolfe.

“They didn’t really. It went down well with audiences though.” His long-term aim is to make enough money so he can pay every- body back.

“We have a budget of £100,000 if we paid everybody the money we owed them, ” he says. “In reality it’s less than half of that. We want to recoup the budget so we can do right by everyone.”

And as for the future he hopes to make a second film. “Now we don’t have any spare money to put into it, ” he says. “If we do it again we will have to go down a different route.”

The makers of My Accomplice are running a Twitter competition to win tickets to the CineCity screening, alongside an original soundtrack CD and a film poster designed by the city-based Our Art collective of artists with learning disabilities.

Simply tweet something about love to @myaccomplice – whether it is words, lyrics, an image or a link. Winners will be announced on Sunday, November 30, and prizes awarded at the Duke Of York’s screening on Wednesday, December 3.

CINECITY: MY ACCOMPLICE (PG, 92 MINS) Duke Of York’s Picturehouse, Preston Circus, Brighton, Wednesday, December 3