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David Essex, himself a Gypsy, has agreed to play the lead in a feature film, directed by me, and set in the exciting world of Britain’s Romany Gypsies.

I followed him around on his recent tour and was impressed how he still fills theatres – from the Royal in Swansea to the Albert Hall in London.

And extra police had to be brought in to control the crowds at Stow-on-the-Wold Gypsy Horse Fair when he attended the premiere of a documentary I recently did with him.

The 75 minute documentary, which I could send you, gives a good idea of the exuberant and romantic world of today’s British Romany Gypsies. It was commissioned by the Gypsy Council.

The screenplay, ‘Raggle Taggle’, was originally written by me as a community play commissioned and performed with great success at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature.

The film, shot with half thespians and half ‘real people’ will, I think, be very powerful.

Many countries have now mined the powerful and exotic cultures of their Gypsy population to create outstanding films about these people who, while being found in a huge number of countries, nevertheless keep their own exotic culture so much to themselves.

There is ‘El Amor Bruja’ from Spain, ‘Latchmo Drom’, ‘Gadje Dilio’, and ‘The Time of the Gypsies’ from Eastern Europe, ‘Into the West’ from Ireland.

It seems extraordinary that no-one has yet made a film about the exotic British Gypsy population, so now is our chance.

While wanting to direct it myself, I would expect to yield much of the production elsewhere and to this end have had very preliminary discussions with one or two companies – Karin Bamboro at Intrinsica in London, Alex Frazer at Maverick in Birmingham and Philippa Couzens at Celtic in Cardiff.

The last two would have the advantage of being able to tap into regional funding available for the Midlands or Wales.

I’d love to meet to talk to you more about it. Could I give you a ring?

With best wishes

Jeremy Sandford


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