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Huge Rate of Interest in Loan Shark Film

Newcastle’s Tyneside Cinema is to premiere a new film made in the North East about sharks. However, unlike the Hollywood Oscar winning blockbuster “Jaws,” there’s no connection with the denizens of the deep.

The short film “Shark” has been commissioned by the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to highlight the devastating impact that loan sharks can have on the lives of their victims and advice and support will be on hand for those caught in the grip of these criminals.

Scenes from the film Shark which will be shown at Tyneside Cinema (Image: Barbara Hodgson)

More than 310,000 households in the UK are currently using illegal money lenders. Loan sharks destroy lives and can push victims to the brink of suicide due to the extreme misery they cause.

Loan sharks operate illegally, without the correct permissions from the Financial Conduct Authority. These criminals usually appear friendly at first but quickly trap their borrowers into spiralling debt. As the debts can’t legally be enforced many lenders will resort to the most extreme and callous methods to enforce repayment.

The IMLT have commissioned a team of three talented creatives from the North East to deliver their key messages and information in the form of a short film. The team comprising of TV scriptwriter Debbie Owen, Director Daymon Britton and Director of Photography Morgan Stephenson have worked with Gateshead based production company HT Media to produce the film “Shark” which will be premiered on June 5 at the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle.

Director of photography Morgan Stephenson; director Daymon Britton and scriptwriter Debbie Owen

The free event, which will run from 2pm until 6pm, will include a screening of ‘Shark’ followed by a question and answer session hosted by the IMLT.

The plot follows the lives of three people who are the victims of loan sharks. The characters are based on real cases and the film shows that anyone can be targeted depending on personal circumstances and the situations that people often find themselves in.

Shot over three days in Newcastle and North Tyneside, the Ouseburn, St Peter’s Marina and Wallsend all take centre stage. Indeed, the old Town Hall at Wallsend was transformed into a police station and a hospital for the production.

Scriptwriter Debbie Owen praised the IMLT for allowing the team to be so creative in getting their messages across.

“This is a unique project and very different to anything I’ve ever worked on before. The IMLT allowed us to be very creative and I believe that our short drama has a lot more impact than if we’d produced a standard documentary feature. They made a brave decision which we believe will help many people who are caught up in this terrible crime.”

Director Daymon Britton who has previously had acting roles in TV series such as Byker Grove and Emmerdale said:

“From a director’s perspective, I’ve brought in actors I’ve worked with many years ago as I knew they would be ideal for the parts. We’ve used many local actors but some were from outside of the region as this is a national issue and that has to be reflected in the cast.”

Director of photography, Morgan Stephenson is looking forward to the premiere.

“I’m really excited about the film premiere as it is the first time that any of my work has been shown on a big screen. It’s great to see your work on TV but this has been shot in High Definition 4K cinema ready format which along with Debbie’s scriptwriting will really bring the characters to life.”

Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said:

“We’d like to invite to the screening anyone affected by loan sharks, community groups who have day to day contact with potential victims and anyone who wants to know more about our work. By taking this unique, creative approach, the film’s powerful message will encourage people to learn more about this issue, report those operating illegally, and make use of the fantastic resources available that offer safe and affordable loans, such as local credit unions. We want people to know that they are not alone and we can help them.

“We would urge anyone who is involved with a loan shark to call us in confidence on 0300 555 2222. For more information and to report a loan shark online, visit www.stoploansharks.uk

To book your free tickets to this event, register on Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.com/e/shark-film-premiere-tickets-45675749396