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PRODUCTION / FUNDING UK / France / Belgium

Ken Loach commences shooting The Old Oak

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- StudioCanal UK, Sixteen Films and Why Not Productions have announced the start of principal photography on the new opus by the two-time Palme d’Or winner, penned by Paul Laverty

Ken Loach commences shooting The Old Oak
Director Ken Loach (© Paul Crowther)

StudioCanal UK, Sixteen Films (UK) and Why Not Productions (France) have announced the start of principal photography on The Old Oak, directed by BAFTA and Palme d’Or winner Ken Loach and written by fellow BAFTA winner Paul Laverty. Shooting has begun on location in North East England. Confirmed to star are Dave Turner (Sorry We Missed You [+see also:
film review
trailer
Q&A: Ken Loach
film profile
]
) and newcomer Ebla Mari.

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The filmmakers describe The Old Oak as “a special place”. Not only is it the last pub standing, but it’s also the only remaining public space where people can meet in a once-thriving mining community that has now fallen on hard times after 30 years of decline. TJ Ballantyne (Turner), the landlord, hangs on to The Old Oak by his fingertips, and his predicament is endangered even more when the pub becomes contested territory after the arrival of Syrian refugees who are placed in the village without any notice.

In an unlikely friendship, TJ meets a curious young Syrian woman, Yara (Mari),who has a camera. Can they find a way for the two communities to understand each other? So unfolds a deeply moving drama about their fragilities and hopes.

The Old Oak is being produced by BAFTA winner Rebecca O’Brien, for Sixteen Films. She is thus continuing her acclaimed long-time collaboration with Loach and Laverty, following films such as Sorry We Missed You, I, Daniel Blake [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
and Looking for Eric [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Cannes 2009
Ken Loach

interview: Steve Evets - actor
film profile
]
.

The feature sees Loach return to North East England following his previous two efforts, which were both shot there:I, Daniel Blake, winner of the Palme d’Or and the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film; and Sorry We Missed You. Shooting will take place in locations including Murton, Easington Colliery and Horden, in County Durham.

Loach is one of the few directors to have won the Palme d’Or twice, having first won for his Irish drama The Wind that Shakes the Barley [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ken Loach
interview: Rebecca O’Brien
film profile
]
in 2006. The 85-year-old filmmaker announced his retirement in 2014, but made a dramatic return, scooping his second Palme d’Or in 2016 for I, Daniel Blake. Loach is known for his social-realist cinema that often deals with the plight of the working class.

Alongside the UK’s Sixteen Films, the movie is being produced by StudioCanal UK and France’s Why Not Productions. It is being made with the support of the BFI, awarding National Lottery funding, and BBC Film. Belgium’s Les Films du Fleuve is also co-producing, while Wild Bunch International is handling international sales.

The Old Oak will be released in 2023.

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