FOR many in Stroud, memories of the last few days of secondary school at the beginning of summer will seem like a hazy dream or a very recent recollection.

Now the excitement and anticipation of this crucial step into maturity is set to be captured in a feature length film, which follows the story of a group of Stroud teenagers as they navigate the last five days of term.

This coming-of-age story of exams, parties and relationships will be directed than none other than Stroud’s very own young film maker Guy Davies, 25, who grew up in Randwick himself and attended Wycliffe College.

With skills and ideas honed from the success of his first four short films, he is taking up the role as director of a full length feature film for the first time in his career, and has chosen his old home town as the backdrop to his energetic and nostalgic piece.

This movie titled Philophobia will be released online and on Netflix next year, and will be filmed entirely in Five Valleys in August 2017 by a crew of more than 30 people.

“I have had an increasing interest in making films since I was about nine years old,” said Guy, who is quickly emerging as one of the UK’s most talented young directors.

“My friends and I used to shoot and direct our own little films when we were growing up in Stroud – so this is always where I wanted to shoot my first proper film.

“I’ve really enjoyed creating short, succinct films, it’s taught me so much – but directing a feature film is something I’ve wanted to do forever. I feel like the last 15 years have been building to this moment so I’m so excited to get started.”

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After working on films sets from the age of 16, Guy won a scholarship to study Cinematography at New York Film Academy for a year in 2009.

On his return to the UK he began working in the industry in London and set up a film production company in Stroud called Zebrafish Media with his best friend Matt Brawley.

Since then the company has grown massively and now has shared offices in London and New York, where it has shot commercials for brands such as Chevrolet and music videos for the likes of upcoming British rock artists such as Moose Blood.

It was then aged 19 that Guy, who is now the landlord of the Centre for Science & Art in Stroud, began making his own artistic short films with money crowdfunded on the internet.

Each of these pieces – filmed with budgets of around £20,000 - enjoyed huge success and many of them being accepted into Oscar qualifying film festivals around the world, including Palm Springs Film Festival in California.

With these experiences and achievements under his belt he is looking to take the next step in his career, continue his emergence into the film industry and fulfil a life-long dream in the process.

“We’re hoping to film in Stroud and the surrounding area at the end of August,” he continued. “People will definitely recognise many of the places we’re going to be shooting at – they will be very well known.

“The film follows the story of a boy called Kai and his friendship group during the last five days of school, during study leave before exams. I’ve always really liked creating hybrid genres, and this film is no different. It will be a mix of comedy and drama.

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“Everything is essentially based on my own experiences or my friend’s experiences of growing up in the area. In many ways it is a coming of age film – something very different to everything I’ve created so far.

“I have always been interested in people – and how people interact. That’s why I wanted to direct in the first place. So the film will be heavily dialogue based. There is a very intricate friendship between Kai and the other main characters.

“While I guess it will appeal mostly to a younger generation, I want it to be a nostalgic piece that people of all ages can recognise and relate to. I’m sure lots of people in Stroud will have got up to many of the things in the film in their younger days.”

While this story itself was originally conceived by friend Matthew, Guy has been carefully developing the characters and script for the last year and has been working on the pre-production on his own for months. He’ll be teaming up with London-based company Fablemaze to produce the film.

“This time around I’ve been lucky enough to attract enough investors from my previous crowdfunding campaigns over the years. Obviously it’s not a blockbuster budget but it’s enough to bring this project to life in the way we want to film.

“In August I’ll be bringing in a crew of around 30 people to help out on set,” he said. “Unfortunately I can’t give any of the locations away just yet.

“We’ll also be looking to use as much local talent for cast and crew as possible – It would be good if the Stroud community felt part of the film. After all it’s about their home, their experiences.

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“Eighty per cent of the actors will be aged 17 or 18. Over the last few months we’ve been doing a nationwide search for young talent and have had thousands of applicants. I’ve also visited schools and college around the Stroud district.

“We are casting for the three main actors at the moment. Nothing has been finalised yet so we’re still asking for people to come forward for auditions. I’d love fresh local talent to be a part of this project.”

After a summer shoot, Guy is hoping to have a finished cut ready by the end of the year in time for a release in 2018. At the moment he’s hoping to release the film on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“We’ll be releasing the film in time of the film festival circuit. Obviously it would be amazing to have some kind of big-screen launch too, but I suppose that depends on how good the film is,” he joked.

“It’s hard to say what the release will be at this stage to be honest but we would be looking to do online like Netflix and Amazon.”

Local actors who can play 17/18 can send headshots to for consideration

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