The Spell: Award winning Leeds movie to be screened nationwide

An award-winning Leeds film-maker is celebrating after his low-budget picture shot in the city was picked to be screened at 20 cinemas nationwide.

The Spell, written and directed by Owen Carey Jones, of Yeadon, was produced for less than 200,000 but has already wowed industry experts, convincing them to show the film at venues across the UK.

The psychological drama, based on a true story, stars several Leeds actors and was filmed entirely in and around Leeds.

Mr Carey Jones, who turned to film making after 25 years in banking said he was delighted with the movie and the response to it ahead of its release.

The 60-year-old said: "I'm absolutely thrilled.

"It's absolutely unheard of for a tiny-budget film to be shown in cinemas at all let alone 20 cinemas from Scotland to London."

Mr Carey Jones said competition for screens was so intense, one industry expert said his achievement "was nothing short of a modern miracle".

The cast includes Amber Hodgkiss, who was in TV's Grange Hill, Laura O'Donoughue and Luke Dickson, who are all from Leeds, and landmarks including Kirkstall Abbey and Leeds Parish Church make an appearance.

Mr Carey Jones described the film as: "A deeply moving story of one girl's fight to gain control of her life after a series of dramatic events which leave her utterly helpless."

Jenny, a young girl, finds herself unwanted by her parents and leaves home. But her boyfriend's involvement with witchcraft and black magic lead her to a horrific experience.


Mr Carey Jones said the real-life "Jenny", Emma Whale, had contacted him telling him her life story should be turned into a film.

He "fobbed her off" but she rang him again.

He said: "I went on holiday for a few days and I couldn't stop thinking about this story."

The Spell – rated 15 – follows several feature films, including A Mind of Her Own. That scooped Mr Carey Jones several honours including a Crystal Heart Award at the American Heartland Film Festival and best newcomer and best actress at the Monaco International Film Festival.

It was inspired by his daughter Kathryn's battle to become a doctor despite being diagnosed with severe dyslexia.

His film-making career has seen a rapid rise over the past decade since he first applied to the Northern Film School in Leeds .

His next project is based on the first screenplay he wrote after giving up banking, an action adventure set in the south of France, with a 8m budget.

Mr Carey Jones is already in talks with a potential investor and hopes to attract Oscar-nominated Juno star Ellen Page and Dennis Haysbert, who plays President David Palmer in smash hit TV show 24 as his two leads.

The Spell's world premiere was being held at Vue, The Light, in the city centre last night.