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‘Rufus Stone’ reaches production stages

20 July 2011

‘Rufus Stone’ begins production Film which is being executively produced by BU’s Dr Kip Jones begins production.

Directed by Josh Appignanesi and Executively Produced by BU’s Dr Kip Jones, ‘Rufus Stone’ – a film depicting ageing and gay life in rural South West England – is now in production after years of planning and research.

The film was created by a research team led by Dr Kip Jones from the Centre for Qualitative Research and Reader at the School of Health & Social Care and the Media School and is a unique treatment of a three-year research project. Having started shooting from the week of 18 July, ‘Rufus Stone’ will tell the story of being gay and growing older in the British countryside and is being shot on locations in rural Dorset.

Starring the familiar face of television actor William (Bill) Gaunt, who is best known for roles in ‘Next of Kin’ and ‘Sergeant Cork’, in the leading role, ‘Rufus Stone’ tells the story of Rufus, an ‘out’ older gay man who was exiled from his rural village as a youth and reluctantly returns from London to sell his dead parents’ cottage, where he is forced to confront the faces of his estranged past.

Members of the cast including William Gaunt (far left)

The film forms the key output of a three-year research project, "Gay and Pleasant Land? - a study about positioning, ageing and gay life in rural South West England and Wales". The stories which form the foundation of the script of the film are entirely based upon research undertaken by Dr Jones and his team with the assistance of a citizens’ Advisory Committee. ‘Composite characters’ have been fashioned from three years of in-depth qualitative research, which included listening to the life stories of older lesbians and gay men who have experienced life in the British countryside.

Dr Kip Jones, Executive Producer of ‘Rufus Stone’ said, "Our hope is that the film will dispel many of the myths surrounding ageing, being gay and life in British rural settings. By engaging a prolific director in Josh Appignanesi, the film and the results of this important, in-depth research will have significant impact on a wide variety of audiences."

Filming on the set of ‘Rufus Stone’

Appignanesi recently directed and script edited the comedy feature film, The Infidel, written by David Baddiel and starring Omid Djalili and Richard Schiff, was released internationally in Spring 2010. He has written and directed several short films, most notably Ex Memoria (2006) which stars Nathalie Press and Sara Kestelman in a study of a woman with Alzheimer's disease, funded by the Wellcome Trust; and Nine 1/2 Minutes (2003), a romantic comedy starring David Tennant.

The Project was commissioned as part of the New Dynamics of Ageing Project, "Grey and Pleasant Land?: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Connectivity of Older People in Rural Civic Society" and funded by the British Research Councils.

‘Rufus Stone’ is being produced by Cecilia Frugiuele at Parkville Pictures in London. Annika Summerson, who shot the BAFTA winning short 'Until the River Runs Red', will be the cinematographer on the film.

Kip’s unique representation of his research was featured in the New York Times recently.

To find out more about the film and its production, visit its blog.

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