Silver screen could beckon for Sidmouth mum’s script

Local artist, Shelley Griffiths pictured in her studio, has received interest from a renowned produc

Local artist, Shelley Griffiths pictured in her studio, has received interest from a renowned producer for a screen play that she has written. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 9002-15-13AW - Credit: Archant

A RENOWNED artist from Sidmouth is set to swap her paints and canvases for the silver screen after her first film script caught the eye of an award-winning director and producer.

Shelley Griffiths, who works under the name Laurie Maitland, is to ‘semi-retire’ from producing international best-selling abstract impressionist works to concentrate on film-making.

Her artistic swansong will be a charity exhibition and auction next month in aid of the Sid Valley Food Bank.

Mum-of-one Shelley, 43, of Peaslands Road, said she was stunned when her East Devon-based screenplay, a romantic comedy entitled Summer at the Mill, garnered unexpected interest.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I sent off an email [to the director and producer] not expecting a reply – and he is really keen.”

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Shelley is keeping tight-lipped over the identity of the director and producer, as she does not want to jinx the script’s chances, but says he is an award-winner.

Her story, which centres on a girl who comes to the area from London to stay with her aunt for the summer, is based at Otterton Mill and has a big chunk set at Sidmouth FolkWeek.

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“It’s not your typical romcom and will have a real vintage feel to it,” said Shelley, adding that music will play a big part in the narrative.

She hopes filming could begin as soon as this year and wants a slice of any profits to go to a community cause – like free music lessons for children.

Shelley is aiming to get funding from the British Film Institute and said local businesses will have the chance to invest in what she hopes will be a ‘community project’.

Shelley undertook a screenwriting module while studying for a PhD in English at Exeter University – and Summer at the Mill was her first stab at a script.

Her charity art exhibition will take place at Kennaway House from Saturday, May 11, to Saturday, May 18 – with a gala evening and auction taking place on May 18, from 6pm to 9pm, when special guest Vicki Campbell will sing a vintage-style set.

Call Shelley on 01395 519555 for further details of the event.

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