About Christchurch U3A Third Age Films Group

The concept of Christchurch U3A undertaking film production was inspired by a successful summer school on making films held in Christchurch in 2011. This week long course culminated in the creation of a forty minute documentary on the town’s priory church.

In its first year the group studied storyboard creation, film composition and the various techniques and skills employed in the creation of a film. The group later reinforced their knowledge with a tour of film sets at Wimbledon Film Studios. Their first short production (The Age of Darkness) was a spoof, dramatised documentary set in the 12th Century, revealing how the impact of the crusades and the town’s Augustinian monks had led to the formation of the U3A.

For its second production the group enlisted the cooperation of Platform Performances to form the cast. Entitled A Kind of Peace, it was set in a local hotel and loosely based on Terrance Rattigan’s play ‘Separate Tables’. This film was awarded two stars at an international film festival.

The group then upgraded to filming in High Definition digital, and with the generous cooperation of the local police who kindly loaned a police car, embarked upon a film best described as Midsomer Murders comes to Dorset. Both the original story and the developed screenplay were written by members of the group.

Following the production of several short comedies, the group changed its name to Third Age Films, a name conceived by the late John Halston, a superb character actor and one of the group’s founding members. It then began its most ambitious project, a ninety minute spy drama set in London, Berlin and Christchurch. Completed in September 2015, the film has been submitted to the prestigious Berlin Film festival for consideration.

The majority of filming is undertaken at locations around the region, often lasting more than the customary two hours; on occasion it has been at night. The ages of the film unit members range from the mid-sixties to the eighties. Some confine themselves to acting, other members like to work on both sides of the camera, involving themselves with sound, lighting, and special effects.

The film unit is lead by Roger Williams, a retired professional film-maker.