by Pete Ryan

The Bridge

‘Once Upon A Summertime…’

Muscial. Romantic Comedy.

In Cambridge, punting is big business, and Jonny and his friends want a piece of the action. They know the territory, and this summer they have the punts. With their charm, talent and abilities, they do well. Too well. Their success earns them the attention of some older, meaner, and more established tour operators. Competition is fierce and the confrontation escalates from verbal abuse through to criminal damage, leading to a finale that puts everything they’ve worked for on the line as the rival tour operators race each other for their boats.

As an ensemble piece, The Bridge also follows 4 undergraduate girls through the pressure and release of exam season at Cambridge University. An internationally recognised institution where excellence is expected. The female lead, Florence, has everything in order; until a chance encounter with Jonny leaves her questioning her priorities.

The narrative weaves between the two quartets, carrying the audience from May to August, where the resolution in the final act ends The Bridge on a high. Jonny and Florence finally hook up, the girls finish their exams, and the lads reach a Gentleman’s agreement with their rivals.

This coming of age story of love, rivalry and friendship, brings the city to life with chase scenes, race scenes, songs, dancing and more – all delivered against the picturesque backdrop of this historic city. The Bridge has charisma, and evokes a feel of nostalgia throughout. It could be the nineties or noughties; there’s no smartphones, internet, or mention of social media.

From intro to outro, we’re steered through the summertime by 10 original songs; Solos, duets, ballads and group songs.

The Bridge is the UK’s response to La La Land, and an overdue update of Grease.

Vlad the Impaler

Historical Biopic. Thriller. Drama.

In 15th Century Transylvania there was born a child who would grow up to inspire stories and nightmares for generations to come. This is a biopic. The real story of his life.

No vampires or fairy tales. ‘Vlad the Impaler’ blows the dust off one of the most fascinating characters of the 15th Century.

His father, Mircea, was inducted into an elite and specialised Order of Knights, set up by the Holy Roman Emperor to uphold the Christian faith and do battle with Islam. It was named the Order of the Dragon. It’s emblem? A dragon and cross. Mircea wore it about his neck as a collar and on his belt as a Toledo steel dagger given to him by a Hungarian Princess. He became known as Dragon, or Dracul in Romanian.

Vlad himself was raised in a European court and schooled in arts, languages, warfare and real politick. He seemed destined for great things. But on a diplomatic visit to Gallipoli, Vlad and his brother (Radu) were kidnapped by his father’s enemies. They would be kept hostage by the Ottoman Empire and held as leverage against Dracul. The message, do as we say or we kill your sons.  

Over the following years of captivity the young brothers would be exposed to medieval tortures and horrors that would make an Isis video look tame. And while Radu converted to Islam, Vlad became as hard as the Toledo steel given to his father and as cold as the mountains he was born in.

Released upon Mircea’s death, Vlad returned immediately to his homeland of Wallachia. Here he drew on his intelligence, training, and political acumen to cut a bloody course towards the Wallachian throne. Vlad put the Dragon collar about his neck and his father’s blade on his hip, thus he became known as Son of the Dragon, or Dracula.

This story tells the rise and fall, revenge and redemption of this Machiavellian minded prince. How the ruler of an obscure vassal state defeated the mighty Ottoman Empire in battle, and presided over one of the bloodiest, shocking, and most notorious reigns of all time.

A reign that would immortalise him as ‘Vlad the Impaler’.

The Prisoner

Political Thriller. Revenge.

This film opens on September 11th 2001. The day that shaped a decade. Drawing from the 1846 French serial, Le Comte de Monte-Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo). The Prisoner is story of a young man with a promising future, who has everything taken from him on what should have been the happiest day of his life – his wedding.

Fingered for a role he did not play in the 9/11 attacks. The Protagnist, Alex Bashir, is set up by colleagues and friends who were jealous of his future. They took advantage of the paranoid circumstances and stood back as an innocent man was thrown into the deepest darkest dungeon available. A CIA black site with parallels to Guantanemo. After years and years without trial, without visitation, without knowing who put him there or why, Alex Bashir loses his mind. Then the will to live.

As he prepares to draw his last breath he hears a voice.  Is it inside their head? Is it God? No. It’s the old man in the cell next door who has spent over a decade digging an escape tunnel, only to arrive in the adjacent cell. In this complete stroke of chance, the young man finds a friend, a father, a mentor and an eventual saviour.

Prisoner 28 reboots Monte Cristo into contemporary times by trading a French prison for a CIA black site. Sail boats for jet planes. Horses for Ferraris. Paris for New York. It is a classic revenge story that tells of despair, hope, ambition and retribution.

After 18 years of imprisonment Alex Bashir is not so much released into the world, but unleashed upon it.