From the new generation of superstars like Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington, to the old guard of Maggie Smith and John Malkovich, the Isle of Man has attracted many British and international actors since the nineties. And some Manx talent has emerged internationally, like Samantha Barks on Broadway and Amy Jackson in Bollywood.
While the Island’s strategy for the local media industry in broadcast, film and video has made a complete U-turn, from a former film shooting location for one-off film projects, towards becoming a base for media companies to locate their business, we can now enjoy some Manx made movies through Video on Demand services. Interestingly for the UK and the Isle of Man, all feature films are streamed on Amazon with one exception being available on Netflix as well. If you spot that we have overlooked a movie, or if the streaming platforms permanently update their video library, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go on and spot a bit of home on your next movie night!
“Calling all cars: genuinely funny British comedy on the loose, approach with enthusiasm.” Alison Rowat, The Herald (Scotland), Rotten Tomatoes. A tongue in cheek look at life, culture and policing on the Isle of Man through the eyes of has been actor Richard Thorncroft. Made famous in the 1980s series for his role as Mindhorn, suave detective with a robotic lie detector eye, Richard’s career and notoriety has all but disappeared. That is until he’s called upon to return to the Island and assist the local police force in catching a delusional serial killer who insists on only dealing with “Mindhorn” himself.
British thriller filmed largely in the Isle of Man starring Jeremy Sumpter, Phoebe Tonkin and Ed Westwick. Spoiled and rebellious rich kids sent to a remote wilderness boot camp find themselves taken hostage for a one billion pound ransom. Rather than go along with the kidnappers demands, they decide to band together and fight back.
When a high profile terrorist escapes during what should be a routine handover, Harry Pearce (Peter Firth), Head of Counter-terrorism for MI5 is blamed. He and his protégé Will Crombie (Kit Harington) must do whatever it takes to prevent an impending London terror attack. A continuation from the British spy series, Spooks.
A heartwarming tale of triumph over turbulence when the modern world, in the form of David Richmond, a young forward thinking minister, meets the traditional old world village of Gladbury. Christmas miracles are guaranteed. Isle of Man born and bred multi-talent, Samantha Barks also stars. Samantha is currently playing Vivian in the Broadway adaptation of Pretty Woman.
A British film crew travel to a remote area of Central Asia intent on capturing what they think is a leopard attacking the local wildlife. What they find is much more terrifying. A documentary-style horror full of homegrown Manx talent, which is sure to deliver on the scares.
Robots have taken over earth in this children’s Sci-Fi adventure. Surviving humans are locked in their homes at the mercy of the Sentry and it’s up to a gang of children to save the world. “The secret to Robot Overlords is that it isn’t a big action thriller about a colony fighting evil robots, but it’s a family film about a group of young people mixing mischief with destiny …" Andrew Jones, HeyUGuys. Critics on this movie, which flopped at the box office, are diverging. Some find the movie a rather witty family entertainment, compared to traditional Sci-Fi’s which have ten times more budget. Starring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson.
A British gangster thriller with a good dose of comedy, profanity and a side of violence. Dom (Jude Law), a career safe cracker, has been imprisoned for 12 years. Newly released, he sets out to collect on the debt he is owed for his silence and to seek an ultimate retribution.
Belle is the story of a mixed-race girl raised in aristocratic England in the 18th century. It focuses onher relationship with a young, promising lawyer and examines the matters of race, class, politics and the struggle for equality of the era. Directed by Amma Asante, this film is one of the three movies which broke even in its return on investment by the former Isle of Man Media Fund. It also proves that in the film business, the narrative and production quality are more important than big names. This film is also available to stream on Netflix.
A gripping tale of two men reconnecting. Frank Barron, once hard man, is locked away in a care home with memory loss due to Alzheimer's when he receives a visit from his estranged son, James. When James breaks him out to return him to his family, their journey reveals that neither men are really who they seem, as the past comes to light. Starring Jodie Whittaker, the first woman to play Dr Who.
A BBC police detective mini-series. Harvey Wratten, a high profile crime boss, has been murdered. Both sides of the line are seeking answers. Detective Inspector Jonah Gabriel, assigned to the case and still suffering amnesia after a botched police operation, soon learns things are not what they seem, and he can trust no one, including himself, as the lines of law are increasingly unclear.
Chico, a young, ambitious musician falls in love with the beautiful, talented singer, Rita in 1940’s Havana and chases her to New York to win her love. An animated musical romance in the style of the Latin bolero, full of sweet, spice and heartbreak, with a soundtrack to match. Winner of a Goya Award for Best Animated Film and nominee for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, this film is well worth the watch.
Two ex-convicts meticulously plan the kidnapping of Alice Creed, millionaire daughter, played by Gemma Arterton. During her abduction, an entangled connection between the three is revealed, throwing all plans into chaos.
Listed in the top ten independent films of the year by the National Board of Review, ‘Me and Orson Welles’ tells the tale of young Richard, played by Zac Efron, luckily assigned a part in the Broadway production of Julius Caesar after a chance meeting with Orson Welles.
This movie, embraced by film critics, was the biggest investment of the former Media Fund, and its biggest write off. Big names do not guarantee success.
Two inexperienced criminals seek to make some quick money, kidnapping Tracey, daughter of an underlord crime boss and holding her for ransom at the cottage. While her father organises two hitmen to follow her brother along with the ransom, there’s another player about to enter - a psychopathic farmer. The real terror is about to start.
Carter Page III (Woody Harrelson) plays a high society “Walker”, paid to escort the wives of rich politicians to social events in this American-British drama. When one of his client’s high profile lovers turns up dead, Carter is dragged into an investigation that delves into the dark and dangerous innermost levels of government power. An A-lister cast with Lauren Bacall, Moritz Bleibtreu and Willem Dafoe.
Renée Zellweger portrays Beatrix Potter in this biographical drama of the author of the bestselling children’s book series, Peter Rabbit. Set in Victorian England, Miss Potter strives to overcome the chauvinistic culture of the time to seek success and happiness. “Miss Potter, right to the end, is the definition of a "nice" movie, and that makes it a genuine oddball in a universe of increasingly distressed and uncivilized pop culture.” Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly.
Famous actor Orson Welles, moves to Italy to film the movie ‘Black Magic’ after his marriage to Rita Hayworth falls apart. There, he falls in love with a promising young actress on the set. When her stepfather, also an actor, is murdered during filming, Orson finds himself more and more involved in an investigation fraught with danger and extortion.
This British-German horror/dark comedy begins with what is sure to be a boring team building weekend at a remote rundown forest lodge. It soon takes a turn for the worse when the group realises there’s a killer on the loose with a personal vendetta. The film didn’t achieve much at the box office, perhaps the German sense of humour doesn’t export well?
Conman and gambling shark, Jake Green, takes revenge for his recent jail time by beating and humiliating crime boss Macha in a game of chance. Macha immediately decides to have Jake “taken care of”. Jake teams with Macha’s enemies for protection and finds himself involved in a game with ultimate stakes.
A drama starring Penelope Cruz, Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas in which a wealthy, privileged family falls apart under the changing values of modern London society. The film follows their story as they struggle to change and rebuild.
Five children are sent away to live with their odd uncle by the seaside while their father is at war and their mother is nursing the injured. They’re sure they’re facing a boring summer, until they find a secret passage in the house that leads them to the last sand fairy alive. “Live this up, a wholesome family film this delightful doesn't come by very often.” Joe Utichi on Rotten Tomatoes. Cast includes Kenneth Brannagh and former child star, Freddie Highmore (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
Two estranged brothers find themselves competing against one another at the finals of the All Ireland Ceili band competition in County Claire in this Irish comedy drama. “An irresistible Irish comedy, lovingly told, beautifully acted and graced with the perfect balance of chuckles and bittersweet heartache.” Sid Smith, Chicago Tribune, Metacritic. The film was nominated for Best Music at the Irish Film and Television Awards and won Andrea Corr from the famous band The Corrs, the Best Actress Award at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For lovers of Celtic music and a good pint of Guinness.
Ray Speight, time honoured British lawn bowls champion, is forced to pair up with his nemesis “Bad Boy of Bowls” Cliff Starkey to compete in the World Lawn Bowls Championship. The boys must put aside their differences to win in this classic sports comedy.
A classic English novel come film told through the eyes of teenage heroine, Cassandra Mortmain. Living in a decaying castle, Cassandra accounts the events and actions of her eccentric family - Bill Nighy the icon of eccentricity - to save them from poverty and ruin in her diary. “Funny, sad, moving and, above all, astutemaking Capture the Castle a fabulous film. Even the cars are tasty.” Gregory Weinkauf, Dallas Observer, MetaCritic
This is the tale of the toxic friendship of two girls Natalie, unpredictable and unstable, and Holly, overprotected and reserved, over the 1970s and 80s. The girls grow up together, experiencing all that life across the decades has to offer and the ever present obstacle of Holly falling in love with Natalie’s brother.
In this star studded comedy featuring Julie Andrews, William Baldwin, Stephen Fry and Colin Firth, a man brings home his new fiancé, much to his mother’s, the Countess of Marshwood’s disproval, only to discover his new fiancé is also the estranged sister of the family maid. Throw in the arrival of a former jilted lover, and chaos and hilarity ensues. The film was filmed largely at the Nunnery, with scenes at Kirk Braddan featured.
A child fantasy feature length film, starring Thomas the Tank Engine and Alec Baldwin as Mr Conductor. The pair embark on a quest to find more gold dust to help them return home to Sodor, meeting a young girl called Lily and many other magical characters to help them along the way. The book, which the world’s most successful train film franchise is based on, was actually inspired by a visit of the author Wilbert Awdry to the Isle of Man.
Young, starry-eyed, Eva is trapped in her small village life in 1958, England. She dreams of art, travel and Joseph Lees, her father’s cousin who was injured in an accident working abroad. However, Harry, a pig farmer, is the only available suitor in her immediate view so they soon begin a relationship. That is until Joseph Lees arrives and a bitter love triangle begins.
Ned Devine wins the Irish lottery but immediately dies of shock. Jackie O’Shea and Michael O’Sullivan devise a plan full of mischief, impersonation and mishaps to claim the money before the lottery officials learn the truth. “Charming performances and easygoing humour are the strengths of Jones's enjoyable Irish romp.” Trevor Johnston, Time Out, Rotten Tomatoes
Andrew White and the team from Walks Around Britain highlight some amazing and often lesser traveled walks right here in our own backyard. All walks are 2-8 miles, relatively easy terrain for the average walker and reveal some fantastic stories about our Manx history and of course spectacular views a plenty.
The world’s oldest, most famous and notoriously dangerous road race, the Isle of Man TT, features in several titles on Amazon. Just search for TT!
So, the final question is, will we see such an array of international mega stars filming on the Isle of Man in the future?
The last project of this film focused era, number 107, Where Hands Touch is directed by Bafta award winning, Amma Asante and will hit the UK box office this May. It won’t be the last movie produced on the Island, but new films, video or TV productions will meet different objectives going forward.
By all the controversy of the political debate about the true economic value of the former film sector versus the investments made, we have inherited a whole ecosystem with creative talent, infrastructure, education and training. This is a tremendous asset and we should leverage in the best possible way on this. On this foundation, we are now building a new and sustainable digital media sector, by attracting production, post-production, distribution, video and broadcast technology companies, consultancies and service providers rather than one off-film production projects.
The Creative Industries are the fastest growing sectors in the UK. We want to participate where it plays to the strength of the Isle of Man and for this we have gathered the wider island’s industry support.
Isle of Media is a 2-year-old, not-for-profit, industry driven partnership with the Isle of Man Government set up to achieve this.
The author, Richard Arning, is vice president business development and director of SES Satellite Leasing, the Isle of Man based entrepreneurial investment arm of SES Satellites. As chairman and representative of IsleofMedia he is a non-executive board member of the Digital Executive Agency. Richard is a graduate of RWTH Aachen University in Germany with a doctorate degree in aerospace. He is a director of MICTA and the Leeds and Manchester based business angel network @NorthInvestUK
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