Co-produced by The Space, and Kestrel Dance Film Production Ltd
Based on the novel ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines, a new film by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins and International Emmy award-winning director Ross MacGibbon
- Inaugural screenings in Leeds, Sheffield, Halifax and Newcastle upon Tyne, autumn 2019
- Screenings coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes
Kes Reimagined - Official Trailer
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes, also adapted from Hines’ novel, Kes Reimagined, co-produced by The Space, and Kestrel Dance Film Production Ltd, premieres at Leeds International Film Festival (7 November), followed by screenings at Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (8 November), Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax (9 November) and Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne (10 November).
With its themes still relevant today - family relationships, education, opportunities, weaknesses and hidden strengths – Kes is the story of boy and bird, set in a Yorkshire mining community and takes audiences on a journey with Billy Casper and his dysfunctional family. The young working class boy, troubled at home and at school, finds solace when he befriends and trains a kestrel. As the beloved Kes swoops and spins freely in the Barnsley countryside a special bond between boy and bird unfolds. Billy’s potential is finally recognised and the boy’s self-confidence begins to soar.
Kes Reimagined reunites the creative team behind the 2014 stage production. Choreographer Jonathan Watkins is winner of ‘Best Classical Choreography’ at The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards (2016) and ‘Best New Dance Production’ at The South Bank Sky Arts Awards (2016) for Northern Ballet’s take on George Orwell’s 1984. An original score is by Tony Award nominated Alex Baranowski. Puppetry design and direction is by Rachael Canning. Set and costume design by Ben Stones has been reworked for film and adds video elements by Daniel Denton. Lighting design is by multi Olivier and Tony Award winner Mark Henderson.
Six members of the Crucible Theatre production’s original cast return for the new film. Chester Hayes reprises his role of Billy Casper and is joined by new cast members, Kristen McNally (Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet) plays Mum, and Tobias Batley (formerly Northern Ballet Principal, Winston Smith in Watkins’ 1984) plays Jud, Billy’s wayward brother. Also returning for the screen are Dom Czapski as the sympathetic teacher Mr Farthing, Anton Skrzypiciel portrays Headmaster Mr Gryce, and Phil Snowden is Mr Sugden, the self-loving P.E. teacher.
Laura Careless and Barnaby Meredith play multiple roles and master Kes puppetry to symbolise Billy’s escape from the harsh realities of his daily life.
Watkins, like Hines, grew up in Barnsley and the novel and subsequent film has been a big part of the choreographer’s life: “The film takes this familiar northern story and reimagines it through dance to uncover the poetic journey between boy and bird, isolation and freedom, disconnect and passion. Being from Barnsley, the book by Barry Hines and subsequently Ken Loach’s film feel like they are almost part of my DNA. I grew up with family and friends quoting from them. When considering the stories I want to tell through dance on film this has always been the frontrunner, and through music, puppetry, video and movement hope to uncover a new way of seeing this iconic narrative.”
Fiona Morris, CEO and Creative Director of The Space, said: “As the 50th anniversary of Kes the film approaches, The Space is delighted to be able to bring Jonathan’s re-telling of the story to a new audience. The themes contained within Kes Reimagined still resonate today and the capture of this production continues the organisation’s desire to work with the cultural sector to present a wide range of arts content to the broadest possible audience.”
Kes Reimagined was filmed in August 2019 at Production Park in Wakefield.
Kes Reimagined Cinema Listings
Thursday 7 November at 6.30pm
Leeds International Film Festival, LEEDS
Venue: Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall
Post-screening Q&A with choreographer Jonathan Watkins and composer Alex Baranowski
Tickets available via www.leedsfilm.com
Friday 8 November at 8pm
Showroom Cinema, SHEFFIELD
Saturday 9 November at 5.15pm
Square Chapel Arts Centre, HALIFAX
Sunday 10 November at 5.30pm
Tyneside Cinema, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
Duration: 70 minutes // Rating: Recommended PG / 12