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Penzance's Savoy Cinema hosts premiere of romantic drama Summer in February

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: June 09, 2013

By Josh Barrie

  • A photo call for, from left, Pippa Cross, producer; Jeremy Cowdrey, producer; Mia Austen, Dolly; Max Deacon, Joey Carter-Wood; and Jonathan Smith, author and screenwriter.

  • Jeremy Cowdrey and Jonathan Smith outside the Savoy.

  • From left, author Jonathan Smith and producer Jeremy Cowdrey talk to The Cornishman's Josh Barrie about the film.

  • Guests mingle at the champagne reception.

  • Stars Mia Austen (Dolly) and Max Deacon (Joey Carter-Wood).

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PENZANCE'S historic Savoy Cinema was the setting for the glittering world premiere of the west Cornwall-filmed Summer In February on Monday evening, as stars from the film, the writer and producers all came out to present the romantic drama to a VIP audience.

Merlin Cinemas and Cornwall Film Festival had joined forces to present the independent film at an 8pm screening, which followed a champagne reception and a chance to meet many of the people behind the picture.

Producers, actors Mia Austen (Dolly) and Max Deacon (Joey Carter-Wood), as well as writer Jonathan Smith held a live question and answer session after the film was screened, with an opportunity for guests to quiz the team on the adaptation.

The audience heard about production, filming and creative stages, including how Mr Smith had gone from author to screenwriter, and about Mr Cowdrey being encouraged by his late wife to get the film produced after being "emotionally affected and touched" by the book.

Based on Jonathan Smith's novel of the same name, Summer In February was shot in January and February at spots around west Penwith last year and is a project with Cornwall at its heart.

"The premiere had to be here," said Mr Smith. "This is where it all happened – it just felt right."

Mr Cowdrey echoed the sentiment and said that after the story itself and filming took place in west Cornwall, to showcase it in Penzance felt as if the process had "come full circle".

"The story happened here," said Mr Cowdrey.

"We had to come to Cornwall to film and to premiere it.

"There is a real connection with the story and the people who lived in Lamorna at the time."

The film stars Dominic Cooper (The Devil's Double) as the renowned artist Alfred Munnings, Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) as the young and naive painter Florence Carter-Wood, and Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) as a prominent figure in Lamorna, all of whom are part of a group of bohemian artists living in the area in the Edwardian era leading up to the First World War.

Stevens plays landowner Gilbert Evans, whose diaries, found many years later by his son, helped Mr Smith write the novel.

The film also co-stars Austen and Deacon and the two were excited to be at the screening and back visiting west Cornwall in the summer, after filming throughout the cold winter months.

"It's so beautiful here," said Austen. "The local people were so welcoming – we drunk in The Wink [pub] nearly every night. We really got into the characters." she said.

Summer In February is distributed by Metrodome and was taken to Falmouth for a second special screening on Tuesday evening.

It opens to the public nationwide on June 14.

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